Cal Poly’s aerospace laboratory received an unprecedented $35,000 grant from Edwards Air Force Base that will cover the lab’s operational costs for the next year.
“They (the base) were very clear about the fact that it was our winning record in major design competitions that they decided to invest in us,” said Dave Hall, aircraft design professor.
The lab has existed in the same building in Engineering West for 44 years and is mainly used to design airplanes. The lab is also used to study how airplanes work and how airports can become more efficient, Hall said.
“It’s where seniors take all the knowledge they’ve gained at Cal Poly and integrate it and learn how to use it,” Hall said. “So when they go into the real world, they can be productive immediately.”
The lab costs about $30,000 to $35,000 per year to operate, Hall said. The lab usually receives annual funding from the three major aerospace companies to cover operating costs, in addition to some governmental grants.
“Everything in the lab is bought with donations from industry and the government,” Hall said. “So we don’t use state funds in the lab as a rule.”
Hall said it was unusual for an air force base to grant such a large amount.
“I was surprised and delighted,” he said.
Hall added that the money will fund “paper, supplies, printers, water, field trips,” and other operational costs over the next 12 months.
To commemorate the new tie with the base, the lab has been dedicated to the Edwards Air Force Base for the upcoming year, and a plaque has been placed outside in recognition. After that time, it will be moved inside, said Director of Corporate Relations Michelle Jenkins.