Utah Valley University aviation students take top national honors

University Marketing & Communications: Layton Shumway | 801-863-6863 | LShumway@uvu.edu

Written by: Barbara Christiansen | 801-863-8208 | BarbaraC@uvu.edu

Two Utah Valley University students attended the 89th annual conference of the American Association of Airport Executives and came home with a first place win in a research competition, along with the satisfaction of knowing their work helped the aviation industry.

Aaron Organ and Jordan Stacy earned the honor for their research and findings on aircraft deicing programs. If ice or other particles are frozen to a plane’s wing, it can disrupt the flow of air and decrease the amount of lift and can even cause a crash. Deicing is a vital part of winter air travel, but some disagree about the procedures used to deice. The students’ research offered information through which the airport and airline officials found common ground in an efficient location for deicing facilities.

“We were scheduled to present there for an hour and a quarter,” said Ryan Leick, associate professor in the UVU School of Aviation Sciences. “It ended up taking close to three hours because there was so much interest in their project.”

Some preferred having an aircraft deiced while at the gate, which makes a shorter time from gate to takeoff. Some airports have implemented centralized deicing facilities, in which aircraft taxi to those locations prior to queuing up for takeoff. In this plan the time from the gate to takeoff is longer and some at airlines considered that unacceptable.

“Airlines tended to complain about their taxi-out times,” student Organ said. For their research project, the two students analyzed data from more than five million flights and determined the time difference was slight.

“Through our research we were able to prove it only went up a little bit,” Organ said. “That method also helped airlines as it opens up the gates to arriving aircraft sooner.”

“The airports were really happy with that,” Leick said.

“Aaron and Jordan represent our future leadership within the aviation industry and are a positive reflection of the Aviation Administration program at Utah Valley University,” said Steve Ley, associate professor in the School of Aviation Sciences. “They have worked hard and have earned the recognition they have achieved through their engaged learning efforts.”

Organ said he was pleased to be able to help.

“I have always had a love for aviation and for the industry,” he said. “I think it is awesome. I want to have a career in the industry I love so much.”

The students received a cash prize for their award. They chose to donate that to the UVU student chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives to help future students attend the national group’s conference.

Fourth region (Section 1)