Austere Field Light Attack Aircraft; Militarism in Sports and American Culture

Assaid, James, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Quinlan, Jesse, EN-Mech/Aero Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Ferguson, Sean, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

When designing a new light attack aircraft (LAA) for the military to use a lot of time is spent going over aerodynamics, or stability, even stuff as little as the landing gear, but not a lot of time is spent going over the ethics of the aircrafts use, or how this could be used to manipulate Americans. The following thesis will explore both aspects; how to design and build a successful aircraft, and how this aircraft could influence many militaristic decisions in American culture.
The design aspects of the LAA came from the design competition by the AIAA for 2021. The AIAA lays out some requirements that must be met, some goals to focus on, and a fact that the plane takes off from austere fields. The overall goal of this project is to design an aircraft that meets these requirements and goals. Our groups final solution is a bit more unorthodox that others, in that we decided to design a tilt-wing aircraft instead of a normal attack aircraft with a fixed wing. The main factor behind doing this is that the aircraft can take off and land vertically, giving it an advantage over the average attack aircraft.
My STS research relates to light attack aircraft by looking at how militarism has crept into sports and American culture. One way this has happened is through military flyovers, usually involving a LAA. Also, quotes from Mark Cuban, Owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and quotes from Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, two primetime announcers on Fox Sports, really show how the general public views these actions such as flyovers, or flags that span the entire length of a football field. Overall, I think my research on this topic was conclusive, showing that there are y militaristic values intertwined within the sports world and are just now beginning to be noticed in American and sports culture, but if I had more time my arguments could be strengthened and bettered in some areas.
Looking back at my research and work this year I think both were very successful. Our technical project is very feasible and looks great, considering the time we had to design an entire aircraft. My STS research also came together very well. Not only did I enjoy doing my research and feel like I formulated a good argument, but I learned so much along the way. I am proud of my work in both projects and feel like I accomplished my goals and the team’s goals in each, I only wish I had more time to work on both.
Before going forward I would like to acknowledge my Capstone Professor, Jesse Quinlan, for helping our team all year with feedback and help, our entire technical team for the all the work they put in all year on our project, and Professor Ferguson, for giving me the idea for my STS research and pushing me all year to step outside of comfort zone in regards to this research.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Sports, Militarism, Aircraft, AIAA, Light Attack Aircraft, Aircraft Design, Austere Field, Sports Culture, Militaristic Culture

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering
Technical Advisor: Jesse Quinlan
STS Advisor: Sean Ferguson
Technical Team Members: Alfredo Basile, Ben Hamer, Ryan Hughes, Andrew Kraemer, Caleb Mallicoat, Robbie Sorrentino

Issued Date: