MAYHEW — Aurora Flight Sciences’ passenger air vehicle (PAV) prototype is on display in The Communiversity at East Mississippi Community College.
The 30-foot-long PAV is an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) prototype with twin booms on each side of the aircraft supporting eight lift rotors and a cruise propeller located in the rear. Designed to carry two passengers but no pilot, PAV provides insights into areas such as autonomy, electric propulsion and flight operations for next-generation air vehicles.
“PAV is carbon fiber construction, which means it is extremely lightweight; every individual component of this aircraft can easily be picked up by hand,” said Cody Hardin, manufacturing engineer for Aurora Flight Sciences. “Composite structures are critical in advanced aircraft manufacturing and a big part of what we do at Aurora’s facility in Columbus.”
Earlier this month, a locally-based team from Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing company, assembled PAV inside The Communiversity’s Imagination Center, a space dedicated to displaying products made by local manufacturers.
Emily Thornberry, an engineering intern at Aurora, led the project to assemble the PAV display.
“I think autonomous vehicles are exciting and represent the future,” she said. “The impact something like this can have on young minds is awesome.”
EMCC conducts group tours for area K-12 students at the Communiversity, a facility dedicated to training students for careers in advanced manufacturing. The PAV display is intended to pique the interest of future engineers and technicians, who may choose a career in the aerospace industry. It is also the most recent addition to a long history of cooperation between EMCC and Aurora Flight Sciences.
“Aurora innovates, builds, and flies aircraft at the cutting-edge of aerospace technology,” says Per Beith, president and CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences. “It’s through technical ingenuity and know-how that our team in Mississippi advances the future of flight. Joining with EMCC gives us the valuable opportunity to support the development of modern manufacturing skills and foster STEM education in the local community.”
Aurora participates in an EMCC Workforce and Community Services course called Composite Manufacturing & Assembly, taught at The Communiversity. The 12-week course covers basic manufacturing skills, as well as processes related to carbon fiber composite manufacturing similar to what Aurora uses in its production environment. Upon successful course completion, students are given the opportunity to interview for an internship with the company.
Aurora also supports EMCC’s Camp AMP by offering site tours and rocketry classes. Camp AMP introduces junior high and high school students to STEM careers through hands-on experiences.
Students of all ages are encouraged to visit The Communiversity to view PAV on display and learn about technical training programs.