S.1 Episode 10 - Chad Sparks & Jason Hurst: New Technologies for A Better Autonomous Airspace
Korok: Howdy, my name is Korok Ray. I am a professor at Texas a&m and the Mays Business School and director of the Mays Innovation Research Center, which is sponsoring this podcast innovation matters. Today, we're delighted to welcome Chad sparks, and Jason Hurst of Bell, which is used to be called Bell Helicopter, but is a one of the original players in aviation. And we're here to hear about their, their a little bit about the genesis of the company and where they are now. Welcome, Chad and . Jason. Thanks. Thanks. Appreciate it. Great. So, so tell me, Chad, Chad, just to start off you, you came to a&m, a little bit about your, your journey here. And you were your
major in aerospace. Can you tell us a little bit about why you did that, and how that came to be. Like, like most young burgeoning engineers, I anchored myself as a young child on Legos and just loved everything about what I imagined. You know, this, this creative space and engineering to be, I dreamed of being an astronaut, like many young children. And, you know, that led me on a really clear path towards aerospace engineering, I wanted to be a part of that industry, I wanted to be a part of the space community in particular. And so that's what set me on a path from the small town, I grew up here in Texas, and Victoria, and then found myself in College Station just a few years later.
Great, great. And tell me a little bit briefly about your career afterwards. So I as I, as I went through the degree program at a&m, I did Co Op here. And so I spent time actually working with Johnson Space Center in Houston as a co op engineer and thought I had a trajectory in space. But then things shift, sometimes your
career path didn't quite as clear as you thought it was going to be. And, you know, NASA went on a hiring freeze. And I, you know, looked at a different vector and found by interviewing at Bell and seeing some of the amazing work that they were doing at the time, I took the leap into the world of rotary wing and rotorcraft, and that that allowed me the opportunity to progress in engineering. For about the first decade of my career at Bell, I spent a lot of time in survivability, so blowing up a lot of stuff, doing a lot of signature analysis and things for defense customers. But then, you know, from from
there really progressed into some broader business parts of my career. And so over the last decade and a half, I've spent time in supply chain, I've spent time in program management, I've spent time in business development. And today I find myself in a role that's this combination of both strategy, and really thinking about deeply in how the company aligns resources with the organization. Great, great. And Jason, tell us what your role is now at Bell
go. I'm the Vice President of innovation for the company, so responsible for all research activities, for both the defense and military side of the business and for commercial products. Okay, great. And maybe Jason, can you tell us what we're looking at here? Maybe tell us what was on the screen. So sure, this is a family of systems. That's for what we call our high speed, vertical takeoff and landing. So it's, that's not something
that's new for Bell Bell has a lot of deep history. In high speed aircraft even the next one was first aircraft that broke the sound barrier. And then with the V 280, with the five to five and with the bell 360. We have the highest speed rotorcraft in the world. At some point, you reach some physical limitations
with those configurations. So this is really the next generation beyond the current FTL efforts to reach new speeds and over 400 knots with an aircraft that has a true vertical takeoff and landing capability. Great. Now, Chad, who are your primary buyers of these, these aircraft? Well, for aircraft like this, this is primary defense customers, they each and every day, we've got whether they're Marine Corps operators, or Air Force or army, you know, get up and utilize rotorcraft every day in order to move people and goods to wherever they need, both in the battlefield and really even in humanitarian aid and relief efforts. And so, you know, vehicles like this are all about how do we get speed and range so that our defense operators can be even more effective in what they do every day. Okay, so you don't really have a retail customer yet.
Correct. This is this high speed vertical takeoff landing is not primarily at least as an entry point, a commercial customer opportunity. Generally what we see in our industry is this evolution of cutting edge technology, generally driven by our defense customers that we then pivot into our commercial business. It's nice, with Well being a fairly balanced business of almost 5050 portfolio between defense rotorcraft and commercial rotorcraft, that allow us to apply dual use technologies in those ways. Okay. Okay. Great. Jason, tell us a little bit about about innovation at Bell which is kind of your home department.
So Tim was launched about five years ago. The really cool Look at what are the over the horizon technologies? How can we be disruptive? Because the world we live in as Chad described, it's very mature technologies, mature markets. So the areas we're focusing on with our research efforts with our experimental aircraft are in the areas of autonomy, electrification, and in hybrid electric aircraft, and also unmanned systems. Our team is also responsible for all advanced concepts. So any, any future military or commercial variants, things like you see there, all of that's generated from our team, then we identify what technology gaps, we have to make those possible. And at the
point that we close those technology gaps, we hand those off to the product and business owners. And our team rolls into what's the what's the next area of research focus. And a lot of this innovation is your your r&d is all done in house do you do acquire smaller startups on a regular basis, we've been fairly selective on acquisitions. Our corporate parent does a lot of that activity for us, we recently acquired pipistrel, through our Aviation Division, which actually has the world's first and currently only certified electric aircraft. And so we do things where they're necessary
like that. But mostly, we do a lot of our research internally, and through partnerships with universities, as well as partnerships through a lot of the DoD research labs. So actually, that was one of my next questions. I mean, either you can take it is about the electric Air aircraft. How far are we from that technology? Does it exist? Will it scale at larger aircraft? What do you think? So? Absolutely, you'll see that it's starting small, you know, a lot of the challenges we have with electrification are in the effective range of the aircraft, you know, obviously, the the fuel is way less energy dense than than liquid fuels we use today. That being said, that's going to improve over time. So
what we're doing is figuring out what is the architecture, what is the what are the safety standards, we need to meet with electric aircraft and then starting small and growing. And so if you look like example, we have, the first electric aircraft that we're looking to deliver on a bell side is a 400 pound cargo drone, we call the app for autonomous pod transport. Yeah. And we've flown that in several, you know, real world operational scenarios, we've flown it in the desert we found in the jungle, we've even flown it into a populated neighborhood to simulate a cargo delivery. And we'll look into what are those pilot programs that will prepare that to be a disruptive force in the market? Chad, do you see the electric airplane or the electric helicopter to be the future of aircrafts? I think there's going to be a synthesis of several concepts, you know, the, it's all about ultimately, the customer value proposition. The things that are interesting about the electrification of propulsion systems in particular is that there's a, there's a simplicity that comes with it in design, there's the opportunity to potentially reduce operating costs in those areas. But to Jason's point, the full
capability set is not there compared to conventional turbo machinery today. And so I think you'll see a meshing of those as capabilities grow within the electrification side of the world, you'll begin to enter more and more of the traditional markets. But I think for quite some time, you're going to see a hybrid of both, you'll see traditional turbo machine aircraft that are able to do many of the missions that we do today because of either the payload or the range that's required. But the electrification ones are interesting in that I think there's an opportunity to actually create some new use cases that maybe aren't being served today, there'll be some of these early entry points into the market. You know, Jason talks about the app vehicle and
where we see it fitting, it's a really interesting space. And that that's that unmanned cargo Logistics is an emerging market. So you're talking about disrupting not just traditional aviation industries, but even ground based transportation, you know, how are we delivering medical supplies in infrastructure challenged areas? You know, I see, I see things like lab, lab specimens and vaccines being transported in places like Sub Saharan Africa, using drones now that that that would have been a 10 or 12 hour trip by ground vehicle, you're now doing in 30 or 40 minutes with an unmanned vehicle? Are you finding that maybe in other countries that are either less developed or less regulated? It's gonna be easier to deploy that technology than here in the US? Yeah, to me, it all matches up with what's the what's the use case, certainly, because of the the environment that we see here in the US and the robust infrastructure that's here. And
the regulatory climate that we see here. There are certainly a set of challenges that come with that in in some of the more undeveloped parts of the world. Generally, you get a cross section of trying to find the right use case with the right economics in the right regulatory environment. And so
we're seeing today, sort of a bunch of different points of light that are out there some very small limited use cases that we're seeing be applied. Very few of those are in what I would consider revenue generating opportunity. Most of them are in early pilot programs either proving the technology. Yeah, or they're proving early business models. Yeah, I wonder if, if, if we'll see what happened with aircraft what we saw with phones, which is that these less developed countries sometimes skip the landline but get some leapfrog went straight straight to the mobile.
A lot of these cases, Chad's highlighting is a lack of infrastructure. Yeah. Which which ties into the phone example as well. But if there's not a road network, or if and that could be in developing countries, but it also can be in more remote areas domestically as well. You know, some of the other use cases we see are for supporting mining operations, supporting, you know, hot shotting things for farming operations, things that, you know, how is it? How does it beat the next best alternative? From a from a business perspective is it saves you time, if you have machines that are down? Or, you know, certain areas need resupplied? How can you resupply faster and get them up and running again? Is Belle involved in personal flight? And if not, how close do you get to that? That area of personal I'd say from a personal flight standpoint, the closest we get to that today is really in our conventional rotorcraft. So we have the bell 505, which is basically a five passenger turbine helicopter. So it's sort of the entry point into
traditional vertical lift space, we generally consider that the the clients that we see or the customers that we see for that aircraft is generally a cross section of personal ownership models, there's corporate corporate models, we're seeing some early parapublic and police and folks that are in that space as well. But in terms of what I would consider kind of true personal flight like vehicles that are you know, one person to one one vehicle, generally we have we have somewhat shied away from that space, just because some of the economics around it are really challenging to converge on. And we're we're Abell really has its strengths are on, you know, commercially derived aircraft that require a really robust certification process and really robust engineering manufacturing development process that's driven into vehicles that are generally larger than a personal vehicle space. So that five person helicopter you mentioned that is, are we talking like the hospital helicopter or a police helicopter? Is that roughly the size and scale or Yeah, I would say the hospital and police helicopters generally are a step size larger than that, you know, Bill actually has a portfolio of commercial aircraft, the 505 being the smallest of those going up one kind of step beyond that as the bell 407. Generally, you can, you can load a single litre into that into that aircraft and provide provided for hospital transport. And then as you go up to a twin engine aircraft in the
bell for 29, you'll see a larger cabin and more space to operate in, in we work very specific requirements for aircraft like that. So ride quality in the case of the 407, or the 429 is really important if you're attempting to do any kind of medical procedure while in transit. Something as simple as just inserting an IV, you want super smooth ride quality, as part of that. So we've got a lot of great engineers that they
spend at home and a lot of their time and energy on providing really great damping technologies to ensure that you know, you get the best possible environment for medical care. Okay, let me let's talk about autonomy. Did solving the autonomy problem in the air is conceptually simpler than on the ground? Less, less the obstacles? Are all of your helicopters able to be fully autonomous? So we're, we're starting right now is working on the core technology. Yeah, that is going to create our foundation for autonomy. So that's one of the focus areas for my team. Okay.
The interesting thing about our businesses that actually scales across commercial military business both in all the FTL modernization, we have requirements for either optionally piloted operations and potential for fully autonomous and then in the commercial space, we see that as a potential for a safety and pilot workload reduction. Okay, so we're working on the architectures. One of the new technologies we're bringing to the commercial rotorcraft market is fly by wire technology that's starting with the bell 525 and that will that will inherently have the architecture that enables autonomous features on your your comment about the differences between the air and the ground. Yeah, there's an example I like to use a lot of the times of you know, if you're in the air and you have detected a void system and you see something in the air, you know, to avoid it you don't you don't wonder Is that something that's that's an issue or not, it shouldn't be there. However, if you're if you're on a ground vehicle, and your radar LIDAR scans something, it has to decide is that you know a feather or brick right that's the site am I going to take an extreme action to avoid that right. The interesting thing about what helicopters or rotary
wing aircraft have against fixed wing aircraft is six wing aircrafts are coming and going from established runways known locations. Yeah, the reason you have rotorcraft is to have the flexibility to land anywhere you want to Yeah, so we actually have to have the decision systems on board the percent mission systems onboard to evaluate landing zone select landing zones and to safely ingress and egress from landing zone. So we actually get a lot of that the need for that ground sensing on rotorcraft because of where we operate, especially when we talk about, like, we talked about the, you know, developing countries or less infrastructure of needing to go out somewhere that's not well mapped, well defined, and being able to have the aircraft sense where it is, and be able to make decisions based on that sensor. There's a, there's a big difference between automating something which is repeating a task with known inputs, versus making something truly autonomous where it senses and makes a decision and responds accordingly.
But it sounds like you're you're not there yet. You're not at you. The helicopters are not yet fully autonomous. Right. So we're flying the app, the unmanned system, yeah, autonomously. We tell it, you know, go from here to here, and it maps around does that, then that will scale up into the helicopters, but the helicopters we're delivering today do not have autonomous features on okay. That's why we're working
on the research team is to develop and build the roadmap to implementation. And we're looking for some near term, big impact things of, you know, how do we prevent, you know, any sort of safety and and incidents, things like that? How can we make our rotorcraft safer on the commercial side? And then on the military side, it's going to be about, you know, productivity? And what? And then also, what's the risk profile the mission? Is that something they want to send a pilot into or not? How far away are we from full autonomy on on most of your aircraft? So you say, Boy, full autonomy is some of that's a business decision. Sure. You know, what's the acceptance rate from the from the pilot and operator community? I'd say from a technology standpoint, I think you'll see that maturing exponentially over the next five to 10 years. I'd have one one piece of it, too, that I think is important. When we talk about autonomy, it's often easy to sort of blanket state about about, you know, implementing autonomy, autonomy, to me always has environmental context, use case context that comes with it. So the the amount of environmental
sensing and decision making you need for an aircraft that's going to fly over a fairly desolate mining operation is different than what you would necessarily need for an aircraft that's flying over an urban landscape. Yeah, the Dallas Fort Worth area. And so we often think about levels or layers of autonomy, that are all framed within the context of the use case that you're you're trying to implement. So let me play devil's advocate here. I mean, I mean, if you guys have walked by the oldest helicopter company, around these that anyone knows about, and if you have been established leader in pilot based navigation, are you? Are you guys the right company to be doing it to fully autonomous rotorcraft? Or should you know, should you kind of start from a clean slate of new startups? They were going to just focus exclusively on that. Is it Yeah, I'd say, you know, it's important when we when we think about legacy, yeah, with a company like bell that's got 85 years in developing rotorcraft. You know, we we spend time you
know, Jason and I spent a lot of time thinking about what are the what are the new core competencies that we need in the organization, because it's it is an important shift in how we are thinking about the future of the organizations why you establish, you know, things like innovation teams, so that we have this sandbox, we have this maker space to develop new core competencies. And so for, for such a fundamental piece of where we think the future of aviation is going, which is some layer of autonomy and some layer of simplified Vehicle Operations future. It's an area where we know investment is critical. And we are going to build competencies around that. Now, there are lots of ways that we have started to pursue that some of that has been in small partnering with startups. So we
certainly evaluate that community and see the work that's coming. But much of that focus is building up internally those capabilities so that we understand how to truly integrate onto our platforms in an efficient way, the the risk of sort of bifurcating those is really around, can you can you truly integrate the right way to create the system efficiencies? And ultimately, the system's safety around that, then I think it's also where I actually think that's a fantastic question. And I don't think I've gotten that one before. Usually, it's what are we doing? Not who should be
doing it? So if you look, from a historical perspective, Bell actually led the way in a lot of the unmanned rotorcraft autonomy. We had a program called Eagle Eye, which was flying autonomously in the late 90s, early 2000s. The we actually when when I managed the v2 four seven program, which was the last one that that I had prior to this role, we leveraged a lot of the technology that we developed, you know, 1015 years ago, yeah, to be able to have a head start. And then what we're doing now is looking at a broader perspective of how do we take that advance it so So I absolutely think we have the right background and as Chad said, it's it's tightly integrated into To the entire entire aircraft system. And so I
think for us to have a guaranteed level of safety, then that's going to be an absolute necessity to understand and implement that ourselves. And I think what you'll see is, from Shades of Grey perspective, it's gonna be a lot like you've seen in the automotive industry where you start with sensors that give pilots a warning, like you have a car that has the lane departure warnings, yeah, we're gonna give pilots feedback of, hey, we have new systems on board, they can give you feedback and extra set of eyes, you know, different wavelengths frequency than your eyes operate at, they can give you a warning system. And then we that transitions into not just giving you a warning, but actually taking a evasive action for you right down the road. So that it'll it'll get into the levels
of autonomy, Chad mentioned, of it doesn't just start off with the airplane flies, you just push the button flies itself. Yeah, it starts with, you know, 1000s and 1000s of flight hours of collecting data on how the systems performing and providing the warnings prior to providing the command inputs. Yeah, and I'd add one other piece to that. When you when you talk about bells positioning in the space, one of the very first fundamental pieces of implementing autonomy is about fly by wire technology, right? So essentially what that is, so sort of the audience most most traditional rotorcraft today are controlled from the pilot input to the rotor head through some form of mechanical linkage. In in newer generations, when we implement fly by wire, there's basically an interpretation from the pilot inputs into a flight control computer that then sends just electronic inputs to electromechanical actuator at the rotor head. And so that gives you the ability to do a
lot of additional things in how you manage the flight profile of the aircraft. And what's important in terms of bells positioning in this space is we are we are on the edge of of certifying the first commercial fly by wire rotorcraft. And to me that is one of the very first building blocks of how you truly roll out some level of autonomy commercially, in the space. Again, there's a lot of great technology developments happening across the industry. But to really get something over the finish line in a certification basis is, you know, in our opinion, in our experience, there's there's hard work that has to be done there to get there and to get to be one of the first ones over that finish line is really important for us. And I think positions as well for the future.
Both of you been in this industry. In fact, this company for a long time, let's let's skip past the transitional period. And if I if I forced you to make a prediction, what will be the equilibrium or steady state use case or operating features of an autonomous Rotorcraft Helicopter? How autonomous will it be, you really think that will it'll ever be fully autonomous, it'll just be an assisted, will the pilots that will still have to have the pilot controls and the pilot seat there.
So I would say we have the technology to be able to fully control the vehicle today. One of the autonomy demos my team did was, we had a moving platform. So we were pulling a trailer. And we controlled the drone autonomously to make a
landing approach and actually laying on a moving target, right, you know, full, full stop. So we're able to do that today. The part we've got to get through is what's the regulatory environment, you know, what's the level of safety required? And what is the, you know, public and pilots acceptance of that. So what you'll see eventually, is the ability to
combine autonomy with the fly by wire technology, have full vehicle control, and the role of the pilot will shift. It's, for some period of time, there's going to be a requirement to have a fully trained, fully capable pilot onboard, that can always be a backup system, right? We'll get past that eventually, but in the what will happen in the pilots role over time, they will transition from a aviator, to more of a mission manager. So if you think about, you know, Helicopters use for search and rescue, especially like, you know, offshore, you know, Coast Guard missions, things like that. Right now, the pilots have a heavy workload, right to be able to fly the vehicle, right, they will be more of monitoring the aircraft as it flies. And they'll also be participating in the search function. Yeah, instead of being heads down and flying. Right.
You know, same thing on the military side, they will be part of mission command and, you know, part of the battle rhythm instead of instead of aviation, there'll be managing, yeah, and, you know, supervising what the aircraft's doing, but not actually required to be tasked saturated doing that. So frees the pilot up since he's there, right to be able to participate a lot more in the function of the mission, instead of just providing command queues to the vehicle. That sounds like the bottleneck is not the technology. It's really social
norms and regulation. Yeah, so it's a combination of all of all the above the technologies in development, it has to have, you know, level of reliability and redundancy. It has to have the regulatory environment and you have to have the public acceptance of it. One
of my favorite things to watch is the the folks that are early adopters that are taking the autonomous taxis. Yeah, and there's some Pretty good comedy that's ensued from when the autonomous taxi breaks down and they're stuck in the back seat, or pulls out into into construction zones. It doesn't know where to go. Yeah, we don't have that luxury in aviation do that. So there's not there's not a breakdown the lay of the sky. Yeah. But anyway, so the public acceptance piece is a big
portion of it. But I would imagine if we have an airplane that will be able to fly fully autonomously by the end of this year, if I offer free rides in that with no pilot onboard, I doubt I'm gonna get many people that accept that. Right. Right. I guess it's tasked with all the autonomy is, are you willing to put your kid in? We've all had that exact. And I think, you know, one of the great examples of what the progression I think will look like is that acceptance around autonomy, we believe will start with cargo violence, much like traditional aviation did back in the day, that, you know, there'll be great use cases for cargo missions, that will, that will build confidence in the technology, it will exercise the regulatory system, it will, you know, get community acceptance to a point where, you know, they feel confident, right, right, and put my nine year old on the aircraft, you know, without a pilot on board and feel good about that. But we think that's, there's some time to be had, before we get to that point, right? Let me ask you about sort of where we are in the lifecycle of aviation innovation. So I mean, kind of dialing back the
clock. I mean, more than 100 years ago, with the Wright brothers, we had breakthrough radical innovation. And you could say maybe the same thing with the jet engine. But it seems to be that there's kind of been a long time since then. And aviation has kind of stalled, no pun intended. What's the next
breakthrough? And what's holding us back? So I would say you've seen electrification, changing the landscape of a lot of complex industries, you know, for a long time you saw an automotive industry. And there's a lot of corollaries there of consolidation. And there weren't new car companies showing up the amount of investment to develop a, you know, 100,000 200,000 mile internal combustion engine, and transmission and pass all the crash tests, the barrier was too high. Now with electrification, you know, if you saw at CES this year, there were, you know, 10 new car companies that you'd never heard of before. Even you know, Sony is in the car business, right. And so you see, the same thing happened in aviation, there's multiple new aviation companies, because there's a new technology that is a breakthrough and disrupter, that is creating new possibilities. So there's,
there's, you know, aviation and rotorcraft companies that didn't exist five years ago. And that breakthrough is the electric motor. The advancement of battery technology, yeah, to a level where you can start to use that for electric propulsion. And then we're also looking at, you know, other energy storage options like hydrogen storage and things like that there's, there's multiple ways to store and generate the electric power that you're looking for. And so it's, it's kind of created a,
I'd say, it's almost like a second golden age of aviation, where you have all these all these new concepts, all these new prototypes, and, you know, a huge portion of them will never go anywhere, right. But it's a fascinating time as we experiment. And the reason we test an experiment is we don't know the outcome. Yeah, so I think we're gonna learn a lot. You know, if we look at this five years from now, a lot of the dust will have settled, and we'll see what's, what are viable concepts? And how are those ready to go to market? And versus what were, you know, what were ideas and experiments that, you know, not all of them panned out? Yeah, I think even just to give a give a perspective on the explosive growth in the in the creative space. Yeah, that
distributed electric propulsion has unlocked for aviation, I think, a quick search. And I believe it's the the vertical flight society has a website where they, they sort of track all these new concepts that are out there. I think last count, there was more than 400 new concept vehicles that were somehow leveraging distributed electric propulsion, or some fashion for any number of use cases. But I think that's, that's a, that's a key indicator of to Jason's point, the number of new startups in the industry, the amount of capital that's coming into the industry, and there's been several really significant Spax that have been funded over the last couple of years that I think is an indicator of there's there's disruption in the AV industry. And this this piece of technology is a key enabler. Let me I'm a labor economist by training. So I want to focus
switch to the labor labor market, which to me is about people. Okay, let's let's talk about maybe Jason, you can take this first about what skills do you feel like are very valuable for innovation? So I'm gonna give you a little bit of context for it. Yeah. The you mentioned that there hasn't been a lot of at least outward change and innovation in the aviation space. I think you've seen as evolution natural selection of air vehicle designs has settled in. You've seen you know, the basic design of a helicopter with a big rotor and a smaller tail rotor fan, a torque and the layout of a commercial jet. You
You right? You're picking up the edges of it. Yeah. Yeah. So a lot of what? Obviously, that's still in credit. It's critical and important, but there's not as much opportunity there. Yeah. So what you really see is innovation in the digital and electrical side, sure of the aircraft. So the aircraft are becoming much more integrated. So software skills, electrical engineering, Oh, interesting. And even chemical, chemical
engineering, we get as we get into mass production of batteries, how you safely integrate, package and secure those in the aircraft. Okay. Chad, tell us a little bit about looking back at your career and your time at Texas a&m. What was useful about your degree? What was what could a&m have done better? What would you tell current graduates today, say in aerospace, if they were to walk into this industry now? Man, it's such an interesting space down. And certainly the industry has evolved quite a bit, you know, I reflect back on a time when I was in the, in the Euro program, and I felt like I came up with came away with a really sound foundation of just good solid problem solving skills. You know, that's
probably what has served me best throughout my entire career, it wasn't that I, you know, could derive a particular formula or could, you know, regurgitate some calculus, it was about just having good sound practice in how you sort of attack a problem, how you use data to data driven decision making, to, to come to good conclusions. You know, the things that those have been some of the things that have been most valuable, I think, in my career, you know, when I, when I look back on what maybe I wished I could have gotten out of Miami experience, it would have probably been I struggled, thinking I was on a certain trajectory into the space industry and not not sort of taking the time. And part of this is on me, part of this is maybe on the on the way the curriculum was designed. But how do I how do I experiment in some other areas to understand maybe I've got other passions, because what I, what I found, when I, when I dropped into my first job at Bell was, there wasn't a class I had taken on ballistics or survivability, ease or signature analysis. At that point, it was all did I have
good sound? engineering practices? And could I learn on the job? And so, you know, I think there's, there's a piece that if a&m could instill more of a, you know, how do we how do we create a mindset of continual learning, you know, it's not just you get done with your degree, and then, you know, I'm rubber stamped, and I'm on to my career, you know, what, what serves me best? Throughout my career is having more of a continual learning mindset. You know, I, I took a couple of years off from school after I started my career Bell, and then I went back chase to graduate degree in aerospace engineering, just because I wanted to bolster more technical skills in areas that I had learned on the job that I knew were relevant. And then I took a couple of decades off, before sort of reinventing myself again, in a learning environment where because I had had all this breadth of business experience, I wanted to learn more about, you know, candidly, being a corporate intrapreneur, you know, how do I how do I have an entrepreneurship mindset within a larger organization? How do I help us advance? And so, so complementing some of that engineering capability in early degree with with a little bit more of how does this impact the business world? would have been a couple of interesting caveats to me and how to advance the degree. Okay, last question. Uh, well, what have the Aggie core values meant to you? Have they impacted your life? Oh, man, Aggie core values. To me, I have always appreciated
that, you know, Aggie core values have such a strong moral compass to them. And you find in various corporate environments, that those those values don't always hold true with other folks. And so, you know, having having great partners, like, you know, Jason and I have known each other for a number of years and having a having a trust relationship with him. And
knowing that, you know, we can have great collaborative conversations. You know, I think Jason I talked more than once about, we can disagree, and we can argue, and we can still be friends at the end of that, and knowing that there's this professionalism that comes with being being part of part of Texas a&m, and having that sort of Aggie spirit about how you conduct yourself in business each and every day, to me was a really important lesson I've just carried throughout my entire career. And I guess the revealed preference is that there is there is an indication at this point. And so the third one, the third one is now predestined. I've got I've got two of them here already. So I'm looking looking forward to continuing to be a part of this university community.
Great, great. Well, I want to thank both of you, Chad and Jason for your time today. This has been a really exciting, deep dive into A to aviation actually, we hope we'll have more of these. If you are watching we do have on our YouTube channel we have a we did a fireside chat with David Mayman of Jetpack aviation. And I think we'll probably have been
Marcus from adventures later this year. So hopefully this will be part of a little series will have on aviation. Thank you to both of you for coming on. Thanks. Great for sure. Awesome. Great. Thank you