Ivo Zell and Raymond Wang have a lot in common. They are both Gordon E. Moore Award winners, the top prize given at Intel ISEF. (Ivo won in 2017 while Raymond won in 2015.) But in addition to this incredible accomplishment, both were Special Award Organization Winners of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) in their respective years and later had an opportunity to speak at SETP’s symposium.
It's not every day that high school students are given the opportunity to present at major aerospace events. In fact, the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) had never had a student present at their symposium until 2015, when they invited Raymond to speak.
"Because of Raymond's notoriety, we did something we never did before–we gave him one of our speaking spots. This was the first time a high school student was allowed to speak at the symposium," said Col. Andy Gerner, who manages the Special Award on Behalf of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. "It was a big deal. Raymond was only 17 and did quite well."
This year, Ivo became the second student in the organization’s history to speak at the SETP symposium. Raymond attended as well. Below, Ivo, from Hessen, Germany, and Raymond, from Vancouver, Canada, share their experiences.
ON HIS EXPERIENCE AT THE SOCIETY OF EXPERIMENTAL TEST PILOTS SYMPOSIUM: Attending the SETP Symposium was a very good, interesting and inspiring experience. It gave me the chance to listen to presentations about current flight test programs as well as the opportunity to meet many interesting people from the aerospace field. For example, I have met the author of one of the books I've read (Ralph D. Kimberlin), an astronaut (Victor J. Glover) and the current altitude world record holder in gliders (Jim Payne), just to name a few.
ON WHAT HE LEARNED AT THE SYMPOSIUM: Beside many technical aspects I also learned a lot about the life and career paths of many test pilots. This was particularly interesting, as I have just started studying and have many options to orientate.
ON BEING ONLY THE SECOND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT ASKED TO BE A GUEST SPEAKER AT THE EVENT: I felt quite honored and a little bit proud to present my project to a few hundred experts from the aerospace business. I was also delighted by the positive feedback after my presentation.
HIS INTEREST IN DESIGNING AIRCRAFT PROTOTYPES: I have been flying model aircrafts for a few years and was deeply interested in everything regarding aerospace. With this project, I was able to combine my special interest for uncommon aircraft designs and to help reduce the environmental impact of air transport.
I felt quite honored and a little bit proud to present my project to a few hundred experts from the aerospace business.
HOW HIS LIFE CHANGED AFTER ATTENDED INTEL ISEF: I had more contact with the media and more importantly had the great chance to attend the SETP Symposium (progressing from high school student to a presenter at a very important aerospace event is not a too bad a progress). Besides this, I started studying four weeks ago at the RWTH Aachen University in Germany.
ON BEING THE FIRST HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT ASKED TO BE A GUEST SPEAKER AT THE EVENT: Attending the 59th SETP Annual Symposium as a high school junior in 2015 was a truly surreal privilege. The weekend of technical presentations, tours, and chats with some of the most inspiring engineers and pilots in the world kept me amazed and engaged at every moment. It was then, immersed in the spectrum of groundbreaking aeronautical work, that I came to understand how exciting and truly diverse the aerospace industry was.
HOW SETP OPENED DOORS FOR HIM: It was very much an honor and humbling experience to have had the opportunity to present my research amongst such a distinguished crowd of engineers, pilots, researchers, and executives at SETP in 2015. It’s not every day that one could share their work with the likes of astronauts, key industry decision-makers, and flight test engineers who’ve in their pastimes built and flown their own airplanes, hailing from all around the world. Beyond the conference, I still keep in touch with many of the SETP community, who have been very supportive in their mentorship in guiding me to better understand both the technical and business aspects of aviation and aerospace.
Beyond the conference, I still keep in touch with many of the SETP community, who have been very supportive in their mentorship in guiding me to better understand the technical and business aspects of aviation and aerospace.
ON HIS EXPERIENCE AT THIS YEAR'S SETP: In addition to learning about some of the latest developments in flight testing and engineering, I very much appreciated reconnecting with many of the SETP community who have been a tremendous support on my journey, including Col. Andre Gerner, Col. Mark Stucky, Lt. Col. Nils Larson, and Lt. Col. Tim McDonald, among others. They have consistently advocated for the empowerment of students and ISEF award-winners through exposure to the full breadth of SETP’s activities. I was also very pleased to have met some of the 2017 ISEF honorees at this year’s SETP conference, including Ivo Zell, Andrew Bennett (Intel ISEF 2017) and Rachel Seever (Intel ISEF 2017), learning about their innovative research as well.