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Hampton University (HU) announced recently that six students finished in the top 3 of the Smart Airport Challenge. Funded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Smart Airport Student Competition asks students to consider the needs of smart airports of the future.

“Congratulations to these students,”said Hampton University (HU) President William Harvey in a statement.. “They represented Hampton  through creativity in developing a means for airports to conduct inspections. Their efforts demonstrate why Hampton University students are being sought out by industry leaders worldwide by making the final three in a nationwide completion,”

According to HU, unmanned aircraft systems at airports will allow for efficient operations, accurate data collection with high-resolution photos for documentation, and the ability to detect the presence of foreign object debris on the runway.

“Participating in this challenge has been a fun experience,” said Julian Payne-Dillard, graduating Air Traffic Control senior and team lead. “Having to work virtual on this unique competition was going to be hard being virtual, but I’m glad to work with other smart minds in the department and we managed to work efficiently, and I know we have the talent to win in the end,”

The other members of the Aviation team are Ryan Ford, a graduating senior, Ellis Woodyard, Flight Education junior, and Sophomores Myles Divinity, Griffin Weathers, and Montá Williams.

“I am extremely proud of the students. The ability to collaborate on this concept and put together a proposal to submit inside of three weeks and do it remotely is a testament to how hard the students worked,” said Andrew Smith, assistant professor and the faculty advisor for the team.

Felicia Blow said to invest in something will make a life difference,” she added. An associate vice president for development at Hampton University (HU),  Felicia knows all about giving back.


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