Jacksonville, Fla.—The Davis Aviation Center at Jacksonville University is offering the special topic course “Principles of Flight Energy Management” in the second 8-week term of the spring 2012 semester.
“The new course brings a unique integrated, top-down focus on energy management as a unifying principle encompassing flight control (safety) and aircraft performance (efficiency),” said center Director Dr. Juan Merkt, who is developing the syllabus.
The course explores the role of energy crises in aircraft accidents, strategies to avoid dangerous energy traps and ways to conserve energy in all phases of flight.
“Energy management models have been applied to address a wide range of problems dealing with motion, from elucidating how animals move around efficiently, and designing safer automatic flight control systems for passenger aircraft, to helping fighter pilots win air combat battles,” said Merkt. “However, energy management skills needed for safe and efficient flight are not being adequately taught or evaluated in traditional civilian pilot training.”
For Merkt, the idea for the course started while finishing his Ph.D. at Harvard University and earning his Private Pilot Certificate at Hanscom Field, Mass. Trained as a physiologist focusing on energy metabolism, as well as performance limitations in animal locomotion, he was inspired to write a paper titled “The Power Curve: Teaching the Essentials of Flight,” presented at the annual conference of the University Aviation Association in 1990. The paper outlined how to use a physiologist’s top-down energy approach to teach the principles of flight to pilots. His ideas were also published in the December 1991 and January 1992 issues of Flight Training Magazine. Merkt, who later became a flight instructor, believes that an energy approach for training pilots will enhance safety and efficiency in the skies.
JU’s Davis Aviation Center has prepared students for careers in the aviation industry for more than 25 years. In 1996, JU established a one-of-a-kind training partnership with an airline’s training center, Aerosim Flight Academy, to educate and train future airline pilots. JU is one of the first 32 universities in the world with bachelor degree programs accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International and one of 36 universities in the United States selected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to offer an Air Traffic Control Program under the FAA’s collegiate training initiative.
To follow aviation at JU, visit http://aviation.ju.edu or call 904-256-7895.