Have you ever met a line-dancing Chuck Norris? Well, you have if you’ve met Todd Stubblebine. When he isn’t at work flying and modifying small UAVs for the Navy’s premier test and evaluation squadron for unmanned systems you can find him in TOMS® canvas shoes putting shuffle feet to work on the dance floor. Todd is a self-proclaimed master tinkerer that is known by his teammates now as ‘Chuck’ because of his red beard! He also has some pretty wild, unique stories to tell. If you get a chance, ask him about his 1957 Chevy 210 Del-Ray Cub Coupe.
Check out the below interview to learn about Todd’s role at AVIAN, his love for drones, and his obsession with freestyle swing and line dancing.
1. WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE AT AVIAN AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH US?
I am a Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Test Operator supporting UX-24 [Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (UX) TWO FOUR] and have been in this role since April of 2019. Specifically, I test fly and maintain Group 1-2 rotary program of record and commercial off the shelf unmanned aircraft.
2. WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST IMPACTFUL MOMENT IN YOUR CAREER THUS FAR?
Impacting counter-UAS readiness. This is a relatively new part of my job and it’s so rewarding and challenging to help, you know, ‘see the future’ and provide insight into other sectors.
3. WHAT MAKES YOU MOST EXCITED TO SUPPORT UX-24?
I LOVE tinkering. I’m a master tinkerer. Understanding system architecture and being able to integrate and engineer cool technologies into aircraft is super rewarding. In this job, I get to fly, build, modify, test, do custom integrations. The ability to build something is so cool!
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT WORKING FOR AVIAN?
The people. Really, it’s the ability to work with leading professional flight crew with the same goals and passions for unmanned aviation. We come from diverse backgrounds but we’re somehow intertwined. On the small tactical team, everyone shares a love for flying and leading the way for future technology.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS:
1. NAME ONE PERSON WHO MOTIVATES YOU.
Terry Hahn, teammate here at UX-24. He’s one hell of an RC pilot. Someday I want to get to his skill level. We both worked for the same company “at different times,” and then shifted to ‘rival’ drone platforms, but here we are now working together. We’ve supported various detachments together. He’s got a huge passion for this work and so do I.
2. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE “PERK” ABOUT WORKING FOR AVIAN?
Flying ‘toys’ for my job! Seriously though, the ability to fly so many different airplanes is a dream come true.
I love AVIAN. If possible, this is a company I’d retire from. The closeness to the company and the support I receive is awesome.
3. WHAT WAS YOUR CHILDHOOD DREAM JOB?
Working for NASA as a mathematician. I’m a huge math fanatic. I still hold the record at my high school for reciting the most digits of Pi. I recited 1,140 digits; however, after graduating early, I got hooked on unmanned aviation watching an RQ-7 Shadow fly; shortly after, I decided to go to Embry-Riddle to complete my undergraduate degree in Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
4. IF YOU COULD HAVE DINNER WITH ANY CELEBRITY, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Taylor Swift! But not because she is famous, but because she is from my hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania.
Seriously though, it would be Jordan Frisbee or Benji Schwimmer from West Coast Swing Dancers. They are literally my all-time favorite dancers. They even wear the same shoes that I wear when dancing [TOMS]. If I had dinner with them, I’d like to talk about their dance styles. They’re fun free stylist.