Baylor engineering grads show they have ‘The Right Stuff’
Four Baylor engineering and computer science graduates have done what few others can do. Air Force Majors Dustin Masten (BSE ’01), David Aparicio (BSECE ’03), David Slack (BSME ’03) and Nathan Yerrick (BSECE ’03) have all graduated from the United States Air Force Test Pilot School (TPS) at Edwards Air Force Base.
For those unfamiliar with the program, TPS is incredibly competitive, choosing from thousands of pilots but regularly graduating classes of fewer than 25 students. Past commandants include Chuck Yeager and Buzz Aldrin. For many who enter TPS, service as an astronaut is the ultimate objective — be they pilots, engineers, weapons systems or remotely piloted vehicle officers. For others, having the in-depth flight test experience helps them to tackle complex issues facing our nation’s Air Force. Regardless of specialty, all are afforded the opportunity to fly more than 25 different types of aircraft, from helicopters and jets to seaplanes and even the Goodyear blimp.
Yerrick, who worked with the Department of Homeland Security during TPS to better detect small, low-flying aircraft attempting to penetrate our borders, has also recently served as test conductor for the new F-35 jet fighter. “My engineering education at Baylor was the most rigorous education I have received to date. It taught me the fundamentals I needed to succeed in the future, and more importantly, it taught me how to learn,” he says.
Sic ’em, Baylor engineers!