November 15, 2013

Nicholas Tesla Martin: What’s in a name?

You would think that with such a historically loaded name, high school junior Nicholas Tesla Martin, “Nik,” would fret about filling the proverbial shoes of his namesake. According to Nik, however, he’s never felt pressure to take the same path as the man who made far-reaching achievements in electrical engineering; moreover, he regards his own engineering journey as a coincidence.

Still, it’s no wonder that when Nik approached Jetcraft about sponsoring him to attend the engineering leg of this year’s National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) conference, Lucy Castle quickly routed Nik’s gleaming list of accomplishments for funding approval. In addition to attending the NBAA seminars, Nik was pleased to connect with business aviation leaders, some of whom put him in touch with NASA for a possible internship.

Nik’s interest in business aviation and aeronautical engineering dates back to sixth grade, when he attended the class of an influential engineering teacher at his sister’s high school. From that point on, he knew he wanted to pursue aeronautical engineering. He explains, “It’s really fun. I’ve always liked flying.” His mom, who chose her son’s name, once gave Nik for Christmas an hour of flight time at his local airport. Now, Nik aspires to earn a pilot’s license after the school demands of time and finances diminish.

Nik is particularly interested in aircraft design, inspired by innovative design elements such as carbon fiber construction, aerodynamic wing design, and efficiency improvements.

During his downtime from several hours of daily homework, the robotics and engineering clubs, and swim practice, Nik enjoys playing Kerbal Space Program with friends. It’s a simplified version of rocket and other space plane design for simulated solar system missions.

He’s on a mission, too, to visit marvels of engineering and construction, including the future Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia, New York skyscrapers (while savoring some New York pizza!), and the Viaduc de Millau in France. The Viaduc fascinates Nik in particular because “it represents not just trying to build a building…but building something amazing and so huge and so technical but for the use of anyone.” He adds that, “It’s not just limited to those who have access to the building or can afford to go on a building tour.”

Nik already has checked the Eiffel Tower and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai off his list. On his flights abroad, you just might find him reading The Amazing Book of Questions and Answers by John Guest—still one of his favorite books. If you ask the question, “What has Nik Martin built to date?” The answer would be “a solar-powered boat, robotic submersibles, and countless gadgets from scrap!”

Jetcraft is proud to sponsor up-and-coming talents like Nik, engineering students that will be the future of aviation innovation. We look forward to seeing where Nik’s talents and travels will take him—stay tuned for updates in future Jetstream articles!