UH Research Center Appoints Unmanned Aerial Systems Expert

University of Hawaiʻi
Margo Edwards, (808) 956-5588
Interim Executive Director, Applied Research Lab at UH
Eric R. Matsunaga, (808) 956-5588
Director, Research and Administrative Operations, Office of the VP for Research and Innovation
Posted: Jan 31, 2017

Ted Ralston
Ted Ralston

Honolulu – The University of Hawai‘i (UH) and the state Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) are pleased to the announce that veteran aerospace industry engineer Ted Ralston has been appointed as director of Unmanned Aerial Systems at the Applied Research Laboratory at the University of Hawai‘i (ARL/UH).

In his new role, Ralston will be responsible for determining and disseminating best practices on the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) for the State of Hawai‘i through his oversight of the Hawai‘i UAS Test Range, one of several test sites that comprise the Pan Pacific UAS Test Range Complex (PPUTRC). The PPUTRC involves the states of Alaska, Oregon and Mississippi, as well as Iceland, and is one of six official Federal Aviation Administration test sites in the U.S.  

“We are pleased to have Ted Ralston onboard to develop, test and evaluate UAS technology to determine standards for safe and reliable integration into both Hawai‘i and our nation’s airspace,” said Margo Edwards, interim executive director of ARL/UH. “His experience and knowledge in the aerospace industry is a perfect fit to conduct UAS operational tests in Hawai‘i’s unique and challenging environment involving heat, humidity, high winds and rugged terrain.”

Ralston currently serves as a part-time advisor to the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center in Honolulu and was a major content contributor to a FEMA course on UAS use in disaster management. Over a 42-year career in aerospace, Ralston has held various management and director positions with the Boeing Company and McDonnell-Douglas Corporation and previously served in various engineering and project management positions with Pratt & Whitney’s Aircraft Division. He received his bachelor’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1968 and completed his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1971. Ralston is a 1963 graduate of Punahou School.

“It’s exciting to see new aerospace-oriented technology advancing in Hawai‘i,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “As we move our innovation economy forward, testing and developing this type of technology is ideally suited to help expand and diversify future business development opportunities statewide.”


About ARL/UH

The Applied Research Lab at the University of Hawaiʻi was established in July 2008 as a Navy sponsored laboratory to provide research, development, test and evaluation, system engineering and other engineering capabilities essential to the Navy and the Department of Defense. It is one of 13 University Affiliated Research Centers (UARC) within the Department of Defense and the fifth of five centers contracted with the Navy.

The contract with the Navy is a sole-source mechanism that the Navy and other government agencies can use to fund ARL researchers at UH in approved research areas. For more information on ARL/UH, visit: www.hawaii.edu/arl/

About UH Research

Research conducted by the University of Hawai‘i impacts the quality of life in the islands and around the world. As the state’s major research university, and because of Hawai‘i’s tremendous geographic diversity, UH plays a prominent role in the state’s economic growth and development through its diverse and world-renowned research programs in astronomy, earth and ocean sciences, medicine and tropical agriculture. http://www.hawaii.edu/research/

About DBEDT (Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism)

DBEDT is Hawai‘i’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawai‘i economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all of Hawai‘i’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments and promotes innovation sector job growth.