Professors’ Positive Impact

Steven Collicott, BSAE 1983, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Purdue University

I’ve more stories of our professors’ positive impact on my career than people will care to read. But very brief examples would be Prof. Willmarth’s interest in me, just another curious undergrad, and how he devoted time to advising my small research project in my senior year and how observing his candor gave me confidence in expressing myself, how Prof. Adamson’s constantly visible love of his profession was inspiring, how the young Prof. Driscoll advised me on what topics I should focus on for a career in fluids research (thirty years later, I assure you, he was absolutely on target!), how I learned so much more useful math from Prof. Sichel in Aero350 than in my mathematics classes, how Prof. Lesher teased us in Aero200 for weeks with his barometer-in-an-elevator problem, and numerous other memories of aerospace professors contributing to the students’ advancement. Read More »

The Most Influential Course I Have Ever Taken

Donald Mielke, BSE 1967, Retired Attorney

As a graduate of the Aerospace program as well as a Science Eng degree that year and Project Manager of the fifth senior Systems Design Course (Aero 483) conceived and conducted by Professor Wilbur Nelson, I wanted to share about the most influential course I have ever taken. It was the Aerospace Systems Design Course and ours was Project SPECTRUM (Solar Probe Experiment Created for Technological Research by the University of Michigan). Read More »

Go to Orbit and Turn Right…Not!

Harold (Hal) Smith, BSAE 1975, Senior Staff Systems Engineer

In 2004-05 I had the opportunity to help lead the Raytheon Concept Exploration and Refinement study team. During our astrodynamics and aero courses, Prof Buning would often throw us little gems that really weren’t practical and we got to figure out why. One of them I called, “go to orbit and turn right.” It involved launching straight up thru the atmosphere and then changing direction to get to orbital velocity in the name of avoiding aero drag. Someone came to our study group with a paper that proposed just this approach. I quickly dismissed it and after a little study, a colleague with a PhD from Cal Tech confirmed what I said. Actually, early shuttle launches did a little of this by flying a steeper trajectory in early ascent then losing a little altitude and gaining speed before heading back up hill – but not straight up and turn right (or left).

Student Help on the Nomad Build

Thomas Galloway, BSAE 1962, Retired from NASA

Taking Prof Ed Lesher’s flight-testing class was a highlight. There were only 3 students and Prof Lesher in a Cessna 182. We would also help him with his Nomad aircraft he was building at that time. My education prepared me for my 35 year Aeronautical Research career at NASA Ames Research Center.

Another Aero Renaissance Man

Larry Hill, BSE 1983, Technical Staff Member, Los Alamos National Laboratory

I studied Aerospace Engineering because of my love for airplanes, but my graduate thesis project set my career path in the direction of one of my other interests, namely, explosions. Fortunately, the diversity of my Aerospace training turned out to be ideal for High Explosives (HE) research. Obviously fluid mechanics (the kind that includes compressible flow and shock waves) and combustion is key. Less obvious is the fact that HEs are relatively weak composite solid materials with complex constitutive behavior, which invokes solid mechanics. Detonation behavior in real materials is complex, and to model it one must merge elements of physics, chemistry, thermodynamics mathematics, and computing. Read More »

Saving US Soldiers in Vietnam

David Norton, BSAE 1964, Retired Forensic Engineer

As an AFROTC student I was assigned to the Conventional Munitions division of the USAF at Eglin AFB, Fort Walton Beach, Fla. upon graduation to fulfill my active duty requirement.
This when the US was in the early years of the Vietnam War, a war that we were not prepared for. Thus, we were using weapons from the Korean War, which were not compatible with the high speed F-100, F-105 & F4C jets of this new war. Read More »

Most Significant: Ella Atkins

Most Influential: Ella Atkins

Best Advice: Ella Atkins

One Hundred Best Wishes from the Sichel Family

Martin Sichel, Professor Emeritus

Martin Sichel, Professor Emeritus

We would like to extend our congratulations to The Department of Aerospace Engineering at The University of Michigan on the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary of its founding in 1914.  We also want to wish The Aero Department another successful one hundred years. Read More »