Last December, C. Sundiata Cowels, CTS, an award-winning video maker, appeared at AHMEC’s biannual Volunteer Luncheon. He presented an interesting speech, as well as his Telly Award-winning film entitled, "Designed for Battle: VTOL Model 49 and the AAFSS Program," to the enthusiastic audience.
Cowels, a certified technology specialist with the international communications organization known as infoComm, graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Communications from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He landed a job as Operations Manager at Rebo Studio, the company that introduced High Definition technology and production to the U.S. Later, he worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York as the assistant media manager for the Exhibitions department then Media Manager for six and half years, producing interactive DVDs and acting as the department Hi-Def cameraman.
He established his company, Future iNCITE!, in 2002 to showcase local technology and media content makers. In 2010 the business switched to creating original content, such as his self-produced film, "Designed for Battle: VTOL Model 49 and the AAFSS Program." The well-researched, enlightening venture earned six awards for excellence in video production/documentary to date, and was so well received by the American Helicopter Society (International) that Cowels was awarded an honorary membership.
Cowels currently works as a freelance videographer/editor for the Video Production Services department at Princeton University and is a contributing editor for “Cybermodeler” online. He also plans to complete a short documentary about the Kaman UH-2A Tomahawk.
Cowels kindly answered a few questions about his award-winning film and his relationship with AHMEC.
SC: The video was made in an effort to expand my video production skills by learning computer animation. Aviation was always a passion of mine and I wanted to tell a unique story - something that had never been told before. I stumbled across the image of the General Dynamics/Convair VTOL Model 49 during a Google search and the rest, as they say, is history.
AHMEC: What is its relevance to the American Helicopter Museum?
SC: While researching my subject I happened to visit the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center and met (Trustee) Bob Spencer. Not only was he aware of the program that led to the VTOL Model 49 concept, but he also worked on certain aspects of the Boeing entrant design. As you can imagine it was a fortuitous meeting! Later, I returned and recorded some video of the AH-1 Cobra (not used in the video), turboshaft engines and the smaller Hughes OH-6 that is used for teaching purposes.
AHMEC: You toured the museum gallery, do you have any lasting impressions?
SC: My last time at the museum was three years ago. It's changed quite a bit and for the better! Somehow the AHMEC staff has managed to fit even more into the impressive space. The history wall to the right of the entryway lobby is a great foundation on the growth of the helicopter industry in the tristate area. I wasn't aware just how many helicopter companies were born in this area. Maybe it's the water? The new Theater is absolutely fantastic! I highly recommend a visit to the museum as a day trip for any and all aviation enthusiasts.
Please see his Future iNCITE! website for more information.
Images courtesy of C. Sundiata Cowels, CTS.