University of Nebraska scholars to create app for Offutt pilots

  • Published
  • By D.P. Heard
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

A group of University of Nebraska at Omaha students visited Offutt Air Force Base this summer to test out a flight simulator for an application they have been tasked to create.

“They are working to solve a problem identified by Bockscar by creating a customized in-flight calculator application,” said Alex Mathews, Walter Scott Junior Scholarship Program coordinator.

Bockscar is an Air Force program that identifies emerging technologies with the goal of creating useful applications for aircrew.

Mathews accompanied them to the base where each took a turn at flying in an RC-135 simulator. By partnering with the U.S. Department of Defense, the interns get the opportunity to utilize their design thinking and coding skills while also learning the skills needed to collaborate with and support a client.

“The app will provide mathematical support to calculate various conversions like temperature, fuel types, airspeed units, fuel state estimates and various weather factors critical to aviation,” said Maj. Bryan Allebone, Air Combat Command evaluator navigator.

The 55th Wing Innovation Office, which provides engineering support to the ACC Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) Program, recognized that there is a missing element in flight calculations over the past few years. A specialized calculator known as an E-6B, performs basic and advanced flight functions and formulas that aviators use to double check aircraft systems and document various functions of the flight mission.

Students experienced flight simulations to gather the requirements, gain insight into how the Air Force would use the app, and how it looks and feels when they're flying.

Maj. Damon Wagoner, 55th Operations Group deputy chief for special projects, trained the students.

“I am so proud of my team for leaning in and delivering this app that has the potential to serve over 150,000 individuals in our military. Being able to assist in this way has been a once-in-a lifetime experience,” said Bella Donovan, team leader and a UNO sophomore majoring in mathematics and economics.

The students are recipients of the Walter Scott, Jr. Scholarship Program and are pursuing degrees in a variety of science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines.

The app is currently in testing and development with a projected release date in early fall pending cybersecurity evaluation and user feedback results.