Ismael Cremer is a perfect example of how there’s so much more to aviation than just flying.

Yes, Cremer fulfilled his childhood dream and became a pilot. But he’s also an award-winning educator at Florida Institute of Technology’s renowned College of Aeronautics, as well as a researcher who’s seeking ways to mitigate the environmental impact of aircraft and airports.

“I was always intrigued by airports and how everything worked together to connect the world,” Cremer said.

Cremer, whose family is from Belgium, was born and raised in Kuwait. He moved to Melbourne, Florida, to pursue his Bachelor’s in Aeronautical Science at Florida Tech. After then earning his MS in Environmental Science and Engineering from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, he returned to Florida Tech, where he is an assistant professor working toward his PhD in Aviation Science.

Cremer has taught a diversity of classes, including aeronautics, aviation sustainability, aerodynamics, aviation physics and aviation environmental science, and his research has focused on issues such as aviation-related emissions and airport noise.

As Program Chair for the College of Aeronautics’ undergraduate online degree programs, Cremer helped launch Florida Tech’s Bachelor of Arts in Aviation Management, offered 100% online. The Aviation Management program makes it possible “to reach out to many different people from all over the world who share that passion for aviation,” he said.

Cremer is a longtime advocate for the role of technology in the classroom. In 2012, he was honored with the Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Technology award at the International Conference on College Teaching and Learning. Recipients “are at the top of their field and are innovating new teaching techniques that are inspiring students,” according to the award sponsor.

“Web-based teaching has come a very long way,” Cremer said.

Cremer spoke with us recently about his decision to enroll at Florida Tech, his research into aviation sustainability and the new BA in Aviation Management program.

Q. When and how did you develop an interest in aviation?

I would say at a young age. Where I grew up, general aviation did not really exist and to fly airplanes was considered a very prestigious ability. But it wasn’t just about the flying. I was always intrigued by airports and how everything worked together to connect the world. The best thing that I felt I got from a Florida Tech degree was seeing the different aspects of aviation that I did not realize existed when I was younger. The more I studied aviation, the more intrigued I became. There is still so much more room to grow in the world of aviation.

Q. Why did you choose to pursue your bachelor’s and doctorate degrees at Florida Tech’s College of Aeronautics?

When I was deciding between the universities that offered aviation degrees, Florida Tech was one of the top universities on my list. The reputation Florida Tech has regarding the interaction with faculty and how great they are with opening so many doors into the world of aviation is what sealed the deal. I am proud to say that I believe this is still one of our strongest traits.

Q. The FAA is seeking to speed the introduction of technologies that reduce aircraft noise and emissions through its Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) program. Can you discuss some of the initiatives to make the aviation industry more sustainable and environmentally responsible?

While airplanes are a source to reduce the environmental impacts, airports are just as important. Many airports are exploring various avenues to reduce their environmental impact. Sustainability at airports can occur in many different ways, such as using methods to reduce water consumption at airports, using alternative and renewable energy at airports, and efficient recycling programs. 

Q. Can you tell us about your research into reducing aircraft emissions and noise?

I’ve been looking at methods to implement sustainable projects at airports such as water reuse and using alternative energy. It is important to investigate the cost benefit of implementing such projects, as well as developing the best way to analyze the overall impact.

Q. The FAA has called for the aviation industry to be using 1 billion gallons of renewable jet fuel annually by 2018. What are some of the more promising options for alternative aviation fuels?

That is difficult to say. There have been some successful flights on a 50/50 blend of biofuels and jet fuel. KLM is a great example of launching biofuel flights on certain routes; some of them use a mix of jet fuel and fuel from used cooking oil! However, the challenge that exists with alternative aviation fuel is the production and the economic difficulties with such a task.

Q. Tell us about Florida Tech’s new BA in Aviation Management degree, the first such program offered 100% online.

Aviation is a growing industry. We have to meet this growth with professionals who understand the details of this industry. By offering an Aviation Management degree online we are able to reach out to many different people from all over the world who share that passion for aviation yet cannot physically make it to campus. With this degree, students are able to interact with the faculty of the College of Aeronautics and receive an education from professionals who have been involved in many different facets of aviation, ranging from airport design to airline management to aviation operations – all with a click of a button.

Q. How will the bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management program prepare students for careers in aviation?

Students in this program will learn the fundamentals of aviation, forecasting, the design of airports and much more. This program focuses on producing the best well-rounded student who will be suited for a career in aviation fields such as safety, security, planning and management.

Q. You are a longtime proponent of incorporating technology into the learning environment. How are tablet computers, apps and other Internet-based capabilities transforming the classroom?

Tablets make it easier for anyone to be on the go and still access class-related material without having to carry around a laptop or find a spot to work. A student can easily be on a train, at a café or at home and still be able to complete assignments, watch video lectures and work on interactive material. The available resources online allow the student to not be limited to just the information provided by the instructor; or conversely, the instructor is not limited to just a textbook or confined knowledge. There are great websites that supplement the learning experience, even in the aviation field. Web-based teaching has come a very long way and the ability to work at your own pace really allows for deeper understanding of course material.

Q. Do you have a favorite aviation-related website or app?

The American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE.org) is a great resource to keep up to date with current events and issues at airports around the United States. 

Q. Who are your heroes or role models in aviation?

I have always admired Amelia Earhart, not only for her sheer passion for flying but also for her ambition to continuously push the boundaries of the aviation world at the time. It’s a reminder that although we have come very far in aviation, there are still boundaries yet to push.

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