Gold Hill native receives recognition for senior aerospace design project

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Gold Hill native who recently graduated magna cum laude from N.C. State also received another honor.
Jesse Fulton earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering.
He also earned special recognition for his senior aerospace design project. The N.C. State aerospace program requires a one-year project carried out by teams of six to eight students.
Fulton’s team designed a mechanized bird wing that could be used on a small aircraft. The wing is designed to change shape in order to offer the best aerodynamics in differing flight situations, which was its major advantage over regular aircraft wings. It even used artificial “feathers.”
The seven-member team presented the design for competition at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Annual Student Conference in Huntsville, Ala. The conference is the capstone event of the entire aerospace engineering undergraduate curriculum, where the senior design teams present their year’s worth of work and receive rankings based on the presentation.
The design by Fulton’s team took third place among the colleges and universities from across the southeastern United States participating in the competition.
There are three senior design sections or options:
– The “space” section involves solving engineering problems in the context of space exploration, usually involving the design of a lunar rover or satellite communications devices.
– The “aero” section has the distinct objective of designing, analyzing and building a small remote-controlled aircraft completely from scratch.
– The “bioflight” section requires teams to design of an aircraft that borrows elements from natural flyers such as birds, insects, or bats. Fulton’s team chose this option.
Fulton has begun graduate studies at N.C. State and will work as a research assistant in the aerospace department. His work will involve using computers to predict and model supersonic combustion in extremely high-speed experimental aircraft engines (known in the aerospace community as SCRAM jets).
He began his college studies at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in 2004. All of the courses he took at RCCC transferred to N.C. State.
“Every four-year student should consider his or her start at a community college, just so all can begin to fully understand how precious and worthy an education really is before getting caught up in the great machine of a large university,” Fulton said in a press release from RCCC. “I personally consider my experience, both at RCCC and N.C. State, to be very valuable ones, and I feel honored to now be an alumnus of both schools.”