STEALTHWERX office hosts Spark Tank competition

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Dylan Nuckolls
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

The 509th Bomb Wing’s STEALTHWERX office hosted a Spark Tank competition, Oct. 9, 2020, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri.

Spark Tank is a competition, across the Air Force, where Airmen pitch their innovative ideas to a panel of wing and community leaders. Winners at the wing level move on to compete at their respective major commands.

“The panel selected two winners to represent WAFB at the Air Force Global Strike Command S3 Spark Tank competition,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Benjamin Kram, 509th BW director of innovation. “If they win, at the command level, they will advance to compete at the Air Force Headquarters level Spark Tank competition in February.”

Out of the 11 pitches presented to the panel of judges, two were selected to move on to the command level.

The two finalist from the Spark Tank competition were:

The Mag Rug, pitched by U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Paul Olexa, 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion apprentice. The Mag Rug is a portable roll-out surface that will trap dropped metallic aircraft parts and light up the section the object is located. To learn more about his project, click here.

The Rapid Robot Deployment project, developed by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Dunn, 509th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal training NCOIC and Tech. Sgt. Thomas Gilbert, 509th CES EOD logistics section chief. The Rapid Robot Deployment project puts a wheel chair lift on the base support emergency response vehicle instead of using a ramp. To learn more about their project, click here.

“I did not expect our idea to be chosen to compete at the next level, but it is extremely gratifying to be selected as a finalist and to be able to compete at the next level,” said Dunn. “I hope that this idea continues to win because it will help standardize equipment and help gain funding that would normally come out of an EOD flight’s budget. Being selected empowers our flight to continue looking for innovative ways to help the EOD career field and the Air Force.”

While the wing level competition may be over, the innovation office is still open to help Airmen get their ideas off the ground.

 “You don’t need to have an idea to stop by STEALTHWERX,” said Kram. “Come get hands-on experience with some of the newest technology and services on the market, from virtual and augmented reality, to 360-degree video recording, software coding, 3D-printing and laser prototyping. Our goal is to inspire Airmen to get creative and ‘spark’ the next big innovative solution.”

For more information, visit the STEALTHWERX office located in the Library, first door on the left, or call 660-687-3906.