July 22, 2014

Trendsetters: Aerospace & Technology

The Mitre Touch

Mike Vogel | 7/1/2008

Oh, Pioneers!

» The first woman to win the U.S. National Aerobatic Champion title, three-time winner Patty Wagstaff of St. Augustine will be flying in air shows across the nation this year, pursuing the creation of Patty Wagstaff Aviation (a fixed base operator at St. Augustine’s airport) and promoting Cirrus planes. She also plans to return to Kenya to instruct that nation’s wildlife service pilots.

» Native Floridian and aerobatics and automotive legend Betty Skelton Frankman Erde, 82, of The Villages is being inducted in August into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America for a career of records, including being the first woman to drive a jet car more than 300 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats. After winning Feminine International Aerobatic Championships from 1948 to 1950, she long partnered with Chevrolet, setting Corvette speed records and representing the automaker. She’s in the National Aviation Hall of Fame, and her “Little Stinker” Pitts Special airplane is in the National Air and Space Museum.

» After her work at ground zero after the Sept. 11 attacks, USF computer science and engineering professor Robin Murphy, 50, became known internationally for her search-and-rescue robots. Murphy, director of the Institute for Safety Security Rescue Technology, now works on human-robot interaction. She is studying a web-enabled “Survivor Buddy” robot to act as a companion for people trapped by disasters, sniper fire or some other occurrence. The robot will monitor blood pressure and pulse, supply food and water and provide an audio and video link to those outside.

Tags: Trendsetters, Big Bend

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