Pratt & Whitney visit inspires cadets

Retired Lt. Gen. Mike Moeller ’80, vice president of business development and integration for Pratt & Whitney, returned to his Air Force Academy roots on November 2. He served as a guest lecturer on leadership, received updates on important aviation research projects, visited the Center for Character and Leadership Development, and delved into the world of cyberspace in the CyberWorx design center.

Addressing cadets in Behavioral Science & Leadership 310, Moeller shared leadership traits that he observed and tried to emulate throughout his Air Force career. He served as commander of the 2nd Bomb Wing and 379th Air Expeditionary Wing and flew more than 4,440 hours, including 670 combat hours for operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

Moeller challenged the cadets to become great communicators and team builders who are ethical, decisive, accountable and lead with civility.

Moeller interacted with cadets, sharing memories from his first combat mission in Iraq and delving into his post-Air Force career with Pratt & Whitney.

“I was a proud user of Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines during my entire B-52 flying career,” Moeller told the cadets. “Pratt & Whitney is a company that was started in 1925. They built the historic Wasp engine that was on every B-24 during World War II. Today, Pratt & Whitney military engines has multiple divisions. On the military engines side, it produces fourth and fifth generation engines for F-15s and F-16s; every C-17 has a Pratt & Whitney engine; the F-22; the F-35; and we’re proud to be on the B-21 bomber.”

Pratt & Whitney established the Frank Gillette Propulsion Researcher position in the Department of Aeronautics at the Air Force Academy in 2016.

Four senior cadet researchers.

Moller was impressed with the propulsion research projects that are underway in the Department of Aeronautics lab. Cadets took the lead discussing research that included innovative propeller design, VTOL UAS (vertical take-off and landing, unmanned aerial systems) design, VTOL troop and supply transport propulsion, and UAV engine design.

Each year cadets travel to Pratt & Whitney's corporate headquarters in Connecticut to present notional engine designs to a panel of Pratt & Whitney engineers. Cadets also participate in summer research and internship programs at Pratt & Whitney facilities.  

“It’s amazing what you’re doing, moving into the future,” Moeller told the cadet researchers. “To move from the revolutionary to above and beyond the revolutionary to where the world needs to go has to have a great push, and it’s going to come from all of you.”

See more photos of Moeller's visit to the Academ on Flickr.

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