Posts tagged with "Air Force"

red 6ar, Daniel Robinson, Air Force, 360 MAGAZINE

Red 6

God didn’t give me many skills, but I am reasonable with an airplane.

By Sonya Haskins

Retired Royal Air Force Daniel Robinson, the first foreign pilot who qualified to fly the American F-22A Raptor, makes this statement with sincere humility, despite the challenges he has overcome to accomplish more than most people could ever dream of.

Robinson grew up in County Durham, a coal-mining region of northeast England that was the setting for Billy Elliot, a 2000 British film about a young boy who wanted to pursue a career in ballet rather than follow his father into the coal mines.

Like the main character in the film, Robinson felt as if “aspirations were really low” for young people in the seaside town. He says he attended a bad school, the community was experiencing severe economic decline and as the local coal mines and shipyards were gradually closing, unemployment skyrocketed. Options for local employment at that time were few and far between. Fortunately, Robinson had his own sights set on something a little different. 

While he was a teenager, he worked as a milkman and saved up his money to take flying lessons. Following his first lesson at age 15, a mentor recognized the potential in Robinson and encouraged him to apply for a Royal Air Force Scholarship.

According to the Royal Air Force website, “a career in the RAF is about discovering your natural talent.” The description goes on to describe ordinary people who have joined the RAF “often with nothing more than a desire to lead a less ordinary existence.”

This was certainly true of Robinson and at the end of five years of training, he graduated as a combat ready fighter pilot in August 2001.

Let that sink in. August 2001. 

A few short weeks later the world changed and Robinson’s formative years as a fighter pilot were spent on operations and exercises across the world, including time in the Middle East. 

In 2005, he was selected to attend the Royal Air Force Fighter Weapons School (the UK equivalent of Top Gun). It was early in his career and again, Robinson states that he was very lucky to be selected and even luckier to make it through the demanding course. Meanwhile, forged by shared security concerns in the wake of 9/11 and joint operations in the Middle East, the relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom continued to go from strength to strength.

Following graduation from Fighter Weapons School, Robinson says that in 2006, he “became the luckiest fighter pilot in the world.”

The Lockheed Martin F-22 is a tactical stealth fighter developed for the United States Air Force and is the most capable combat aircraft on the planet. An aircraft  that is without peer in the air dominance role but one that is also capable of ground attack, electronic warfare, and the ability to intercept signals for intelligence-gathering.

The United States Air Force allowed one foreign pilot to train as an F-22 Raptor pilot at Langley Air Force Base in Langley, Virginia. That incredible honor was bestowed upon Robinson and he became the first non-American fighter pilot in the world to fly the F-22 Raptor. He then went on to become an instructor pilot for the stealth fighter.

“It was a huge, huge privilege, as you can imagine,” Robinson comments about being chosen, “being that guy and being a Brit. It was extraordinary.”

His experiences during the three years he served as an instructor pilot with the United States Air Force began to form the foundation of what would become Red 6. Before he began to pursue AR technology, however, Robinson would face some of the toughest moments in his life.

Tragedy and Change

In 2009, when his career as an F-22 pilot came to an end, Robinson considered what he might want to do outside the military. 

First he attended Georgetown University and earned a Master of Business Administration. Soon after, he took a “transition” job in the greater New York City area. Although he kept coming back to his passion for flying and the problems that industry was facing, he wasn’t exactly sure how to solve them.

Then in November 2011, Robinson received a call from England. 

Daniel’s father had built Gus Robinson Developments, a construction, plumbing, and electrical company, from the ground up in the early 1970s. Nearly 200 employees, mostly local Hartlepool residents, depended on the company as the primary source of income for their families and Gus was calling to tell his son that the family business was going bankrupt. He needed him to come home.

Although Dan told his father he’d catch the next flight out, the next morning he awoke to the tragic news that his father had committed suicide. The man who had been his best friend, a wonderful father, and the most formative person in his life was gone.

“My world collapsed at that moment in time,” says Daniel.

Although he had faced many challenges during his life, those moments were nothing compared to the days following his father’s death. He was trying to process what had happened, comfort his mother and sisters, and also make decisions that would affect hundreds of others in his small community.

“I called a meeting the next day,” explains Robinson, “I went in and told them the truth of what had happened.”

He calls it a pivotal leadership moment because he knew that his speech “would either bind them behind me or we’d collapse.”

Robinson isn’t one to mince words. He clarified that the business was in trouble and their success or failure would boil down to the next six months. Since so many local families depended on the company, any decisions would ultimately affect an entire community. He asked everyone to sacrifice collectively for the good of the team and he would sacrifice most of all. 

It was a critical, inspirational speech and a turning point in the company. 

The next day Robinson met with the bank and asked them for time. They pointed out that he was close to bankrupt, but he asked them for a month to come up with a business plan. When they agreed, he went straight to work, taking no time to mourn the father he loved so dearly.

Over the next several years, he rebuilt his father’s business and shaped it into a much bigger company worth several million pounds. When talking with Robinson, you can tell he is incredibly proud of what Gus Robinson Developments had become. He did what was necessary to create the best situation for everyone and he sold the highly successful company in 2018. However, it came at great cost to him in every area.

“At that point,” Robinson says, “I was exhausted, shattered, and moved back to the United States to try to get back on with my life.”

He initially moved to New York, but decided to seek a fresh start in California. It was during this time that he began to think about the continuation of his life purpose. No doubt his father’s death had a great impact on him in this area.

“I began to ask myself a simple question,” he explains, “if my life was up in a month of time, how would I spend my days?” He decided he’d want to spend time with his friends, eat good food, drink good wine, practice his beloved art of Brazilian Jiujitsu, and he would want to fly again.

Back in the Air

Soon afterwards, Robinson walked into a flight school at the Santa Monica Airport.

“There was a young trainer there – a kid who was about 21 years old,” he recalls. “After the first lesson, the kid said, ‘You know. I think you might have some potential as a pilot.’”

Of course Robinson had a nice chuckle. 

The time around airplanes again was integral to the formation of Red 6. Robinson explains that each day he had been visiting the hangar, walking past a guy named Dave. Eventually he began helping Dave work on his Berkut, a homebuilt aircraft with tandem seating for two.

One day Dave found out that his friend was in fact a former F22 pilot so he asked if Robinson would like to fly his Berkut. 

“I was just flying around with a big grin on my face,” he says. In fact, he enjoyed flying the Berkut so much that he told Dave he’d like to build one of his own. His friend strongly recommended against it, citing the cost and the complications of finding a kit and the complexity of the build.

Dave also recommended against it for personal reasons. His best friend, Rick had been a Berkut demo pilot who was killed in a Berkut accident during the 65th Annual Santa Paula Air Show in 1995.

Robinson was processing all of this for a while, but then a couple of months later, when he walked into the hangar, he was met by an elderly gentleman, Sam. Dave had told Sam about Robinson and the two of them took him to the desert to show him something. It was a kit. In fact, it was Rick’s Berkut kit.

“It has been sitting in the desert for 21 years waiting for you to build it,” Dave said.

At that moment, although he knew he should be focusing on the next stage of his career, the fighter pilot who had lost so much knew what he had to do and he committed to building the finest example of the Berkut that has ever been built.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

There are moments in life when we see a clear path, but most of the time we just do the best we can, hoping we end up somewhere worthwhile. Then there are those times when we feel compelled to do something, but we can’t possibly know all the ways it will impact our lives. 

Robinson’s decision to build the Berkut led to several key contacts, including technologists in the fields of virtual reality and augmented reality. One of them, Glenn Snyder had co-developed the famed virtual drift race car experience in VR.

As he began talking with these experts in AR and VR, his mind went back to the problems he had seen with the F-22s and he began connecting the dots.

Once he understood how VR and AR worked, he knew that some of the problems wouldn’t be solved with virtual reality, but he wondered if there was a way to use augmented reality to train pilots while they were in the air.

Together, they came up with a thesis and basically called up the U.S. Air Force, stating that they were developing a technology that could fundamentally help to solve their training crisis. He discovered that they had already been working on a research program when they referred him to the Air Force Lab.

It was at that point that Red 6 really began to come together. He began trying to find ways to answer the question, “How do we train in the future?”

The Problem

“Every time you go up and fly for training, you need an aircraft and an instructor to train against” explains Robinson.

There are some major challenges in training fighter pilots, including the fact that it’s incredibly expensive. In addition, we’re already critically short of fighter pilots because it’s difficult to recruit and train them. This also means there are fewer qualified instructor pilots available for the next generation of recruits.

Finally, Robinson points out that “the general public thinks you can just roll in and fight with relative impunity” because in the past we’ve pretty much been able to do this. He points out, however, that with the re-emergence of Russia on the world stage as well as the fact that China is really engaged in technology and innovation, we should be worried.

“The once technological advantage that we’ve enjoyed,” states Robinson, “is basically no more.”

Historically for training, our pilots would have other US fighter jets simulating the bad guys, but this isn’t feasible anymore, largely due to cost, lack of qualified pilots and critically, the inability to simulate modern near-peer adversaries.

Solutions

Once he had the attention of the U.S. Air Force, Robinson set about incorporating AR technology into an airplane so he could prove that their thesis was possible in a cockpit. In February 2019 he gave a demonstration on the ground.

Guests went into an AR headset that had been built by Red 6. They then flew up alongside a tanker, flew up into the sky, and then flew a mission against two Russian airplanes and did a visual dogfight. This was all simulated on the ground, but guests were introduced to augmented reality in a fighter cockpit. That was the goal of the first demo – simply to show possibilities.

Next Robinson had to prove that his concept was possible in the air. 

He obtained a small business innovation grant from the U.S. Air Force and since November, Robinson has been demonstrating the technology. The response has been incredibly positive.

Today, Red 6 has raised over $3.5m in seed funding and over $1.5m in non-dilutive USAF research grants. The company will be raising a Series A round in 2020.

“We’re solving AR outdoors and in dynamic environments as well,” Robinson states. “That’s something we should all be excited about.”

In fact, although he believes Red 6 is essential because the military must discover ways to address the national security crisis surrounding training, Robinson also believes the AR has many other practical uses.

“Today, AR is a solution in search of a problem,” he says, adding that “the consumer market is not here yet, but for a ubiquitous AR future to be realized, the technology has to be mobile in nature, be anchored around compelling use cases, and be a technology that people want to wear.” 

By helping to solve the challenges of using AR outdoors and in dynamic environments, Robinson’s team at Red 6 is not only helping the military, but they’re helping to provide answers to questions about an emerging technology that is sure to impact countless areas of our lives.

Demo HERE.

ESPN, leadership dinner, 360 MAGAZINE

ESPN Leadership Dinner

On Thursday, November 14th at 6:30 PM ESPN celebrated today’s visionaries and their role on leveraging innovation to impact change. The dinner will take place ahead of Beyond Innovation – an annual event hosted by Beyond Sport, which will convene a series of leaders and innovators across sports, technology, government and education to inspire cross-sector discussion and partnership on innovative solutions to the global STEM workforce crisis.

Both Thursday’s dinner and Beyond Innovation are private, invite only events. Thursday’s dinner kicked things off and was headlined by David Goldstein of SpaceX. Goldstein will give his perspective on the tech space and the opportunity to advance, such as landscape, insights on where the tech world is sitting at the moment, what does it take to work as a leader in tech, and lightly touch on the sport angle and how they can connect/engage. 

Thursday night’s turnout was phenomenal at the iconic Dodger Stadium. Beyond Innovation started the topic of conversation about how important the role of sports and STEM education is to our community.

David Goldstein, retired Air Force colonel, gave a very motivating speech on what it takes to be a good leader.

“You need to inspire, engage and have grit in what you do to help others get to their destination and be able to pass that knowledge on to our upcoming leaders as well.”

Hardy Caprio x DigDat “Gluten Tag”

Fast rising British rapper Hardy Caprio has released new single ‘Guten Tag’ via Virgin EMI today.

A collaboration with formidable London rapper DigDat ‘Guten Tag’ is the latest track to be taken from Hardy’s highly anticipated debut album set for release this summer. The perfect recipe for a vibe filled summer the video was directed by previous collaborator Wowa and continues to tilt a hat at Hardy’s success. 

Known as one of the game’s biggest hitters, DigDat’s tales from the jailhouse and the roads combined his immersive imagery and witty wordplay has established his place in the UK scene. The remix of his song ‘Air Force‘, featuring UK rap heavyweights Krept & Konan and K Trap, reached the Top 20 in the Official Singles Chart and made drill history in the process.

‘Guten Tag’ drops off the back of a stellar rise for Hardy Caprio. Most people would be absolutely delighted to either achieve a first-class degree in accountancy or to launch a thriving rap career. Incredibly Hardy Caprio did both at the same time.  After gatecrashing the UK rap scene, the charismatic young south Londoner has been on a vertical rise making waves and scoring chart hits with summery r’n’b-rap like Unsigned and Best Life, (both feat. One Acen), and the harder-edged dancefloor swagger of Rapper.  He has sold more than 1 million singles, sold out two national tours (many of which sold out within minutes of going on sale) and accomplished a gold and two silver records in one calendar year. 

Earmarked by The Guardian as an artist who’s “on the edge of breakthrough” and GRM Daily as “a rapper that is going to blow” and described by The Independent as “poised to break into the mainstream”, Hardy has delivered on the hype, cementing his reputation as an upcoming British MC to watch.

Following the release of ‘Guten Tag’ x DigDat, this year will see Hardy perform at a string of festivals over the summer and release his debut album.

“The Real Housewives of Potomac” Returns

The shade and drama in Maryland never end in the new season of Bravo Media’s original hit series The Real Housewives of Potomac,” premiering Sunday, April 1 at 10pm ET/PT with Gizelle Bryant, Karen Huger, Ashley Darby, Robyn Dixon, Monique Samuels, and new housewife Candiace Dillard. Charrisse Jackson-Jordan also returns as a friend. Beginning Sunday, May 6, the series moves to its permanent timeslot at 8pm ET/PT. Betrayal, family ultimatums, accusations, and open marriages are taking over the rumor mill of Potomac, and everyone is talking. For a sneak peek of the series, visit http://www.bravotv.com/the-real-housewives-of-potomac/season-3/videos/your-first-look-at-rhop-season-3

This season the ladies are dealing with the high and lows of friendships, and marriages are being challenged. Karen and Ray are the talk of Potomac after the Washington Post breaks the story on Ray’s tax debt. Karen is trying to keep her head high and support her man, but when the women see her living beyond her means, accusations of creating smoke and mirrors are thrown out, and the grande dame comes undone. Meanwhile, Ashley and Michael are working to get back on track, but Ashley’s need to be financially responsible for her mother drives Michael to give her an ultimatum she can’t bear. After many disappointments, Gizelle has found a man who can handle her big personality and is living on cloud nine with Sherman, but will balancing motherhood, a new relationship, and her cosmetic line prove to be too much? Potomac gains a new resident, as Monique and Chris officially move into their home. They want to expand their family but Monique is so overwhelmed with all her endeavors, she questions being able to add more to her plate. Robyn and Juan are starting to piece their life back together. Their finances are finally back on track, and they moved into a bigger home, but not everyone is sending positive energy their way. Ashley continues to judge the way Robyn and Juan choose to live their life, causing a rift between the ladies. And new housewife Candiace Dillard is a former Miss United States who knows Ashley from the pageant circuit. She’s newly engaged and is planning her dream wedding, but when she meets the other women, entering this inner circle proves to be no easy feat.

Meet the new housewife:

 

Candiace Dillard

Candiace Dillard joins “The Real Housewives of Potomac” this season with a touch of sass and savviness. The 31-year-old former Miss United States was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, with her Air Force physician parents and siblings, Chris and Crystal. At an early age, Candiace learned what excellence looked like from observing her parents, who worked in different facets of the medical field. A graduate of Howard University, she served a tenure in the White House Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, where she liaised between the White House and the African American community for President Barack Obama. She later traded in her suit and heels for the campaign trail, where she served as a staffer for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. In 2013, Candiace won the crown and title of Miss United States and hasn’t looked back since. She has competed in the pageant industry for many years and holds top placements in the Sunburst, National American Miss, National Miss American Coed, Georgia Miss American Coed, Miss Maryland USA, Miss District of Columbia USA, and Miss United States pageant systems.

As an entrepreneur, she is the founder and CEO of Candiace Dillard Pageant Consulting, cofounder of Prima Hair Collection by Candiace Dillard, and co-owner of Chateau Salon Suites. In 2009, she also founded an organization called My Sister’s Keeper, a mentorship and women’s empowerment organization designed to give young girls the opportunity to interact with women in their communities. Candiace is currently engaged to her soulmate, restaurateur Chris Bassett, whom she met while they were both working at a restaurant in downtown Washington, D.C. They were friends for several years before the courtship blossomed into undeniable love, and Chris proposed to her with a surprise engagement that included all of her family and friends. When she is not running her numerous businesses or being a pageant girl, Candiace can be found curled up with a good book, as reading is her favorite pastime.

“The Real Housewives of Potomac” isproduced by Truly Original with Steven Weinstock, Glenda Hersh, Lauren Eskelin, Lorraine Haughton-Lawson, and Thomas Kelly serving as Executive Producers. Kemar Bassaragh and Esther Frank serve as Co-Executive Producers. Andy Cohen also serves as an Executive Producer.

About Bravo Media:

Bravo Media is the premier lifestyle and entertainment brand that drives cultural conversation around its high-quality, interactive original content focusing on the network’s passion points of food, fashion, beauty, design, digital, and pop culture. The network’s diversified slate includes Bravo’s scripted series “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce” and “Imposters,” in addition to unscripted favorites such as Emmy Award-winning “Top Chef,” “Vanderpump Rules,” “Below Deck,” “Southern Charm,” and the popular “Million Dollar Listing” and “The Real Housewives” franchises, as well as the only live late-night talk show, “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.” Available in 87 million homes, Bravo is a program service of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Watch Bravo anywhere: on demand, online, or across mobile and connected TVs. Bravo has been an NBCUniversal cable network since December 2002 and first launched in December 1980.

2017 EOD Undefeated Bike Ride

EOD Warriors Hold 2017 EOD Undefeated Long Distance Bicycle Ride to Benefit Bomb Disposal Techs

Cycling enthusiasts can choose a ride to raise money for the mission of helping EOD Warriors

On Saturday October 7, 2017 the annual EOD Undefeated Bike Ride will kick off at locations around the country, benefitting the EOD Warrior Foundation. The annual fundraiser will offer various ride distances, some spanning two days and over 150 miles, giving cyclists various rides to choose from, while supporting a great cause. Ride participants include wounded EOD warriors, active duty military Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians, veterans and civilians. All funds raised from the event go to support the EOD Warrior Foundation’s mission to improve the quality of life for the EOD family by providing financial relief, scholarship opportunities, physical, social, and emotional support.

“This is our largest annual fundraising event, and it is one that people look forward to year after year,” explains Nicole Motsek, executive director of the EOD Warrior Foundation.

The 2017 EOD Undefeated Bike Ride has routes scheduled that go through San Diego and Orange County in California, as well as Gulf Coast ride from the Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. There are additional rides scheduled in Denver, Virginia Beach, and there is a virtual ride option in Texas or on your own. There are various pledge amounts and ride lengths to choose from, including 6 miles, 25 miles, 60 miles, 100 miles, and 200 miles, giving everyone an opportunity to join in.

The annual EOD Undefeated Ride was started by Navy EOD Commander Kevin Childre. He passed away in 2015 as a result of injuries he sustained during a bicycle accident while raising awareness for the EOD Warrior Foundation. The annual ride that he started has not only raised over $2 million for in support of EOD Warriors, it also helps keep his memory and passion alive.

“Those who love to bike can take a beautiful ride and raise money to help bomb disposal technicians,” added Motsek. “Get registered, air up your tires, and enjoy a day of exercise and camaraderie all in the name of fun and charity. It will be a great day for everyone involved.”

The rides that have been staged include:

  • West coast 2-day ride – October 7-8, 2017, starting from Carlsbad, Calif. This route offers a scenic coastal ride, and a 4,900’ climb.
  • West coast 1-day ride – October 8, 2017, starting from Carlsbad, Calif.
  • Gulf coast 100/60/25/6 mile ride – October 8, 2017, starting from Eglin Air Force Base in Fla.
  • East coast ride – October 7, 2017, starting from Virginia Beach.
  • Denver ride – October 8, 2017, starting from Denver.
  • Virtual ride – October 7-15, 2017, starting from a location of your choosing.

To get more information and register for the 2017 EOD Undefeated Ride, visit: www.eodride.org.

The EOD Warrior Foundation is an organization that helps the families of the 7,000 people in our military who are Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians, and perform bomb disposal duties. Engaging in the most dangerous job in the military, EOD technicians often sustain serious injuries, lose limbs, or are killed in action. The EOD Warrior Foundation helps this elite group by providing financial relief, therapeutic healing retreats, a scholarship program, care of the EOD Memorial Wall located at Eglin AFB, Fla. and more. Their work is supported by private donations and the generosity of those who support the organization. To learn more about the EOD Warrior Foundation, or see their fundraising events calendar, visit their site at: www.eodwarriorfoundation.org.

About EOD Warrior Foundation

The EOD Warrior Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help EOD warriors and their family members with a priority on wounded EOD warriors and the families of fallen EOD warriors. Specific programs include financial relief, college scholarships, hope and wellness programs that include therapeutic healing retreats, and care for the EOD Memorial Wall located at Eglin AFB, Fla. To learn more about the EOD Warrior Foundation, or see their events calendar, visit their site at: www.eodwarriorfoundation.org.