The ARO Department successfully accomplished its first test flight of the Yamaha RMAX helicopter donated to the college by the Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC) last February. ARO professors Don Edberg and Subodh Bhandari, plan to conduct several undergraduate applied research projects with this sophisticated remote control rotorcraft, primarily making it operate autonomously. Faculty and students will be developing controls, instrumentation, and programming for this 9 foot helicopter to operate safely as a UAV or "Uninhabited" Aerial Vehicle. One project involves Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) funding and objectives to test flight control and management systems, integrating Time Triggered Protocols (TTP) and safe-guards. Of primary importance, this research will provide a unique opportunity to educate students in real-world applications of advanced flight dynamics and avionics systems, according to Professor Bhandari, who has extensive experience with UAVs. The RMAX has a payload capability of some 60 lbs and is commercially used to fertilize or fumigate field crops in Japan. The helicopter was at home in the Cal Poly Pomona alfalfa field near Lanterman property, where it was test flown by Professor Edberg and ARO Sophomore student Hovig Yaralian pictured above - both are avid and highly experienced RC pilots. Northrop Grumman also donated similar RMAX helicopters to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and the University of New Mexico, which might lead to larger, cooperative research projects with these universities as well.