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Air Force engineer, Russ College alum talks tech with students

By Kaitor Kposowa | Feb 23, 2015
2015 Tech Talk

Air Force engineer, Russ College alum talks tech with students

By Kaitor Kposowa | Feb 23, 2015

As Russ College students broke out their suits and resumes to connect with potential employers at the college’s annual spring career fair last week, a small group also took the chance to talk tech with alumnus Adam McNally, BSME '09, who shared his experience as a test engineer at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB).

In a multimedia tech talk, “Flight Tests in the 21st Century,” McNally described his role testing various weapon systems related to radar and electronic warfare on aircraft such as the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II (F-35) on the open ranges of Edwards AFB in Southern California.

“We’re regularly helping to make sure that the safety of flight and also the safety in threatened areas is very high for the pilots that we work with and for,” McNally said.

McNally and his test squadron plan, provide for, execute, analyze and report on the testing of military fighter jets like the F-35, which reaches up to 9 g-force and hits speeds of 1.6 Mach and will replace many current jets, such as the F-16, F-18 and A-10.

“That’s certainly its design philosophy,” McNally said. “The Air Force wanted to go and replace a whole host of very specialized aircraft with a jack-of-all-trades, but it’s my job to determine if it’s working the way that it should.”

Senior aviation student Jarrod Bess was excited to see how the technologies behind military aircraft, which are some of the most advanced in the world, are tested.

“As a pilot, you normally only see what goes on inside the cockpit,” he said. “So, it’s good to see the confidence of the people who are working on testing the technologies that keep us pilots safe.”

Lecturer of Engineering Fundamentals Athan Vouzianas, who himself had several questions for McNally during the Q&A session, said tech talk presentations connect students with industry professionals and the real world.

“Students learn from the professionals about the challenges, opportunities and excitement of the work environment,” he said. “You can ask questions about the job, learn about companies and make professional connections. You shouldn’t miss another tech talk – who knows – it may help you land a job.”

After his talk, McNally asked for students to share their resumes, while encouraging them to meet him and Edwards AFB comrade, Andrew “AJ” Hendricks, BSEE '09, at the career fair, where McNally and some of his college mates found their current jobs six years ago.