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Naval Academy Operations Research Team Wins Flightline of the Future Competition

Posted on: May 08, 2014 08:00 EDT by CDR Joseph C. Foraker III

A team of four Naval Academy midshipmen beat their sister services at the Flightline of the Future competition on April 29, winning the modeling category of the competition in their inaugural year as participants.

The analysis and technology competition was hosted by Lockheed Martin at their Center for Innovation in Suffolk, Va.

The Flightline of the Future competition was established in 2012 under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between the U.S. Air Force Academy and Lockheed Martin Corporation.  Because each service academy has a different academic program, the flightline projects were designed to meet each academy’s educational goals.

One of the Naval Academy Mathematics Department’s operations research senior capstone courses took on a project to optimize airspace scheduling for Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va.

During the course of the research project, midshipmen traveled to NAS Oceana to meet with subject-matter experts at both the squadron and wing level to determine the best way they could use their analytical skills to help solve a fleet problem.

Based on the interviews the midshipmen conducted during their visit, they decided to create a decision support program that could help squadrons more efficiently use the limited airspace available for training off the Virginia coast.

The midshipmen implemented their decision support tool using Microsoft Excel and open-source optimization software. The program was seen as easy to use and directly applicable.

“I wish I had this software tool when I was a flight scheduler,” said Cmdr. Chad Vincelette, former NAS Oceana squadron commanding officer and one of the judges for the competition.

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