Assistant Professor, Aviation
- UAS, Autonomous Systems, Scaled Autonomy, Long-Range Navigation
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Mr. Philip “PB” Brandt (Lieutenant Colonel/O-5, USAF Retired) is currently an Assistant Professor of Aviation at the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, University of North Dakota (UND). His personal and professional studies focus on autonomous systems, human-machine teaming viewed from a humanist perspective, the responsibilities of the human operator in modern aerial mission planning and navigation, and the works of Colonel John Boyd.
Since his retirement from military service, he has remained active in various outreach, education, mentorship, and talent development activities ranging from the elementary through the professional levels. He started a local non-profit focused on early access experiential opportunities with small autonomous systems and continues to serve as an independent advisor and consultant for autonomous system education. He enjoys empowering educators from various backgrounds and specialties to incorporate autonomy and human-machine teaming into their curriculums and lessons. He believes an audacious “fight for the yes” mindset is crucial to bridge the policy, procedure, and public-perception chasms delaying the wide-spread adoption of autonomous systems and functional fielding of mission and domain optimized human-robot teams.
Upon joining UND in 2017, he advocated for and created two entirely original Unmanned Aircraft System Operations degree courses to better prepare the next generation of aerospace industry leaders: Aviation 239-Autonomous Fundamentals and Aviation 240-UAS Enabling Concepts. He is also the prime instructor for Aviation 411-International and Long-Range Navigation, which he successfully pivoted to an online asynchronous format to facilitate increased student access for those concurrently completing flight training courses.
The UND Research Institute for Autonomous Systems (RIAS) benefits greatly from his research, business, and talent development efforts. He is currently serving as Co-Principal Investigator, leading the User Studies and Human Factors team of experimental psychologists, on a US Army Ground Vehicle System Center (GVSC)-funded research effort to develop an Augmented Reality system for the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV).
Philip possesses a Master of Education, with a focus on Curriculum and Instruction, and a Bachelor of Arts in Literature. He holds USAF Senior Pilot and Navigator aeronautical ratings as well as FAA commercial and instrument airplane and helicopter licenses. He has over 1,600 hours total flight time in the RQ-4B “Global Hawk” autonomous high-altitude long-endurance UAS, HH-60G “Pave Hawk” combat rescue helicopter, EC-130H “Compass Call” electronic attack aircraft, UH-1H “Huey” helicopter, T-37 “Tweet” jet trainer, and various civil training aircraft. He is also a factory-certified operator and technician for UAV Factory's Penguin-C UAS.