Honors Summer Snapshots: Brian

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2019 summer routines via photos. Brian Caskey (senior in Aerospace Engineering) has spent eleventy billion miles on the road [and a few in the air being a pilot] this summer:

Hello! My name is Brian Caskey, and I am a rising senior at Iowa State University! This summer I spend most of my time as an intern at Textron Aviation, though with whatever free time I have you can find me either out on a dirt-road run or traveling, visiting anywhere I have time to drive to in my trusty Subaru Forester.


I started out the summer traveling to Boulder, CO on an ISU engineering team building a small-scale wind turbine. We spent finals week at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, putting our turbine through test after test throughout the week. We would spend all day at the lab and then all night studying for or taking our final exams at the hotel. As one of the few AeroE’s on the team, I worked on both the aerodynamic design and mechanical automation of the turbine (the turbine had to be completely autonomous in the wind tunnel). Our team finished 1st in the project development field and 5th overall! We had an absolute blast in Colorado, arriving as a capable engineering team and leaving as a close-knit group of friends. You can find us this fall at the Iowa State Fair, where we were invited to show off our tech with the Governor’s initiative “Power Up Iowa”. We’ll be there all-day on Monday August 13th!


Two days after I got back to Iowa, and moments after I took my last final exam (a professor made me come all the way back to Iowa to take it… nice), I was back on the road out west! My partner, Kristen, and I made our way out to Colorado and then Utah in the trusty Subaru where over 8 days we visited several state and national parks.


Spare the last night in Boulder, we camped the entirety of the trip, enjoying bonfires and beautiful sunsets over the mountainous landscapes.


I’ve spent most my time this summer as an intern at Textron Aviation, supporting production of the Cessna single engine high wing (SEHW) models, 208 Caravan, and the M2 passenger jet. My work has revolved around re-designing material movement, creating software to display dispatch lists and metrics from company databases, and using VBA, VBS, Python, and HTML to automate administrative processes throughout the assembly building. I’ve even had managers from other plants visit me to see my work and ask about what it would take to implement that tech into their plant! And though my work has been pretty cool, the greatest part about this job is the people I work with. There are 15 other interns at the campus I work at, and though we all come from different schools and majors, you would think we’ve known each other all our lives. Throughout the summer we’ve gone hiking and enjoyed bonfires at the state park, played hours of video games on some legendary LAN parties, and explored about every restaurant and bar in town. Not to mention we help each other get through every 10-hour workday (we start at 6am everyday and work till 4:30pm wohoo). From our HR intern Tyteanah, helping me network into every corner of Textron, to my cube-neighbor Jordan, who has helped me find the light after my early days using VBA, to the dozen other interns who have made this summer one of the better summers of my time at ISU, I could not be more grateful for both the professional experience and friends I have made the past 10 weeks.


Something that’s awesome about working for a general-aviation company is that they have no shortage of trainer piston craft and test pilots. Every intern at Textron Aviation had the opportunity to get up this summer, and I was lucky enough to get up in a 172 with Joel, the coolest test pilot on earth. About 30 seconds after our wheels left the tarmac, he called over the radio “your plane”. For the next half an hour I flew our little high-wing around south-eastern Kansas, pulling some sweet maneuvers and soaking up all of the knowledge I could. I brought the plane around towards the airport, watched an M2 jet (google it) take off as I flew parallel to the runway not 2000’ away, and then came back around on approach before giving back the controls about 30 seconds from landing – I guess I’ll wait till my second time up to try landing.


When I wasn’t building turbines or planes this summer, I was at the lake. It’s a family tradition to meet up in Okoboji, Iowa every summer the weekend before the fourth. Though it was an 8.5hr drive from southern Kansas, hopefully this photo shows it was worth every inch of the 486 miles of highway. The trusty Subaru did good, and I was up there twice this summer. And they say there’s nothing to do in Iowa.


And if I wasn’t in Okoboji, I was in Ames. A great halfway point, right off 35, I made a myriad of pit-stops there throughout the summer visiting Kristen who happens to live in Ames. With the trusty Subaru and just a day or two at a time, we spent our time enjoying sunsets out on the canoe. Though the summer’s been fun, I’m ready to be back on campus for a victory lap of senior year. Find me camped out in Howe Hall, out on the band practice field, or raising hell in Jack Trice.

One comment on “Honors Summer Snapshots: Brian

  1. […] society, the University Honors Program (see an Honors Program summary of his summer 2019 activities here) has served as a tutor and supplemental instruction leader and has been a part of the Engineering […]

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