Yale student interns at trainer development

  • Published
  • By Steve Hoffmann
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
The 81st Training Support Squadron's trainer development flight can replicate almost anything. Some of its recent projects include a door assembly simulator for the C-130 and a full scale model of a GBU-32 guided bomb. The flight even has printers that can print in three dimensions like a gear box with working gears. But then there's the mind and passion of Levi DeLuke. And while it will never be replicated, it can certainly be developed.

DeLuke is the son of Jeff and Sheila DeLuke. Levi's father is the 81st Training Group registrar chief. DeLuke is entering his second year at Yale University working on a degree in engineering and is volunteering his time this month with the trainer development flight in order to get some hands-on experience on what it's like to be an engineer.

"I love working here," said DeLuke. "All these guys are great. It's like working with my professors."

Paul Peterson, 81st TRSS mechanical designer, has taken the lead in working with DeLuke and making sure he gets exposed to everything training development has to offer. Currently, DeLuke and Peterson are working on developing a C-130 fire extinguisher trainer for Sheppard Air Force Base. DeLuke is reverse engineering the real thing by using calipers to take measurements and entering them into 3-D modeling software.

"I wanted to give Levi something he could work on from start to finish and be able to see the unit operating," said Peterson.

According to Peterson, DeLuke is an extremely bright young man and has required very little supervision with his internship.

"I want to be hands off just enough to allow for some mistakes because that's how he's going to learn," said Peterson. "This internship allows Levi to develop his own path of engineering."

Along with good safety and engineering practices, DeLuke is learning good problemsolving skills as Peterson will occasionally introduce variables into the engineering process to see how DeLuke would handle them.

Before coming to Keesler to begin his internship, DeLuke spent time in Italy pursuing another passion -- learning Italian. DeLuke says he's just always loved the language -- a love that was passed down from his grandfather who is Italian.

When DeLuke returns to Yale, he says he is looking forward to building sets for university theater productions.

"I can't act, but I can build sets," said DeLuke.

And then there is the keeping of bees, that favorite high school pastime. That's right, DeLuke is a bona fide beekeeper.

"I learned it by helping out a neighbor who is a beekeeper," said DeLuke. "And before I knew it, I was keeping bees. We would either sell or gave away a lot of honey. We had tons of honey."

When DeLuke left for Yale to earn his engineering degree, he taught his dad how to keep his bees while he was away.

"I hope he comes back every summer," said Peterson. "I hope he comes back and works here someday."

DeLuke agrees.

"I'd love to come back and do something with the Department of Defense -- maybe something in the area of nanotechnology," said DeLuke.