New Assistant Professor will bring state-of-the-art flight simulator, passion for aviation to CMU

Alex Redei will join CMU as Asst. Professor of Software EngineeringWhen Alex Redei visited Isabella County for the first time he was struck by how friendly the people are, and how deeply embedded school pride is in the culture of the community. Now, he’s coming back for good.

Redei completed his dissertation at the University of Nevada at Reno in January, this summer he’ll join the staff at Central Michigan University as Assistant Professor of Software Engineering. His work is even more exciting than his title suggests though, and the technology Redei will bring to the CMU campus is sure to draw a crowd.

 

An aeronautics enthusiast, Redei’s research and work thus far has focused on how training can help pilots better navigate disaster scenarios, and that’s what he plans to continue at CMU. To do that, he’s bringing a 4,000 pound state-of-the-art flight simulator of his own design along for the cross-country move.

“The exciting part is the full motion simulation,” says Redei of his simulator. That means if the flight path on the simulator goes upside down, you go upside down. The cockpit is exactly as it would be in a real cockpit and Redei labored to create a full sensory experience for the simulator’s users. Audio, physical, and visual cues are all included, and the stimulus is as close to the real world as any simulator has been able to provide yet.

What’s more, the machine’s programming is based on the flight scenarios of the most accomplished pilots in the world: the Blue Angels.

“They’re experts at executing basic, but critical maneuvers with precision,” explains Redei. That’s integral to successfully navigating unexpected emergencies and the increasingly unpredictable flight experiences faced by pilots of all types. Especially those who fly in and out of local and regional airports such as the Mt. Pleasant Municipal Airport.

Redei said his work focuses on the human element of flight. Instead of trying to learn a specific technique for a specific problem, his programming is aimed at helping pilots develop skills that will enable them to adapt to the changing landscapes around airports — physical and otherwise — as they encounter them.

 

From new buildings or structures built within the usual approach and departure paths of an existing runway to community-initiated noise restrictions that require pilots to kill their engines on the way in and out of a facility, Redei says the skills pilots need to get to and from their destinations are always changing. His simulator can give them the experiences they need on the ground so they’re more prepared for anything they may encounter aloft.

In addition to the real-world applicability, Redei says his simulator has a lot of potential to bring new and exciting attractions to the area. Back in Nevada, he partnered with a local museum to use the machine to show kids what it would be like to go to Mars. Once settled he hopes to forge community partnerships to get the word out and make his work more accessible to people in Michigan, too.

 

“I would really love it if students could be more aware of the opportunities in aviation,” he said, “There is a huge shortage of pilots. Bringing the ability to train these skills to Mt. Pleasant is huge, it’s a hot market. And there’s more to aviation than being a pilot, too. There’s ground support, air traffic control.”

Though Redei is busy making the move from the southwest to the midwest for now, he also says he looks forward to the day when local pilots can stop into the lab at CMU. “I don’t know how to best convey how excited I am,” he said. “If you come from there you might not see it, but it is a blessing to work with such wonderful people.”

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