UPSON HALL – Despite the Cornell Unmanned Air Systems project team (CUAir)’s emphasis on fully autonomous flight, onlookers at Saturday’s test flight indicate that a pilot clearly sneaked into the nosecone of the student-built plane shortly preceding takeoff.
Pausing slightly to adjust his aviation goggles and fiddle with the large joystick inside the 5-foot-long plane before closing the hatch labeled “cockpit,” this mysterious man has left many aviation experts confused about his purpose in a supposedly autonomous craft.
Aerospace Professor Mason Peck, when consulted on the matter, noted the man inside the plane “Could perhaps be a possible photographer or an unnecessarily reckless method of weight distribution. But not a pilot. That would be crazy.”
When asked about the guy climbing into the plane, CUAir Team Lead Sam Rosenstein ‘17 replied defensively, saying, “What guy? I don’t see no guy. This plane flies itself. Get out of here with your crazy theories and wild accusations. Ridiculous.”
CUAir looks to compete this coming summer in the annual AUVSI competition, where they will hopefully take the top prize in the “Planes That Are Definitely Not Just Large Birds” category.
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