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. (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. (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. (more…)

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. (more…)

One Very Happy U-M Aero Engineer Flight Instructor!

Samuel (Matt) Vance, BSAE 1980, Senior Researcher/Flight Instructor

Samuel (Matt) Vance, BSAE 1980

One very happy Saint Louis University,
U of M Aero Engineer Flight Instructor!

Hello fellow U of M Aero Engineers !!
In Jan 2014 I transferred into a job that I never thought I would have and am very much enjoying the experience – I am teaching professional pilot flight courses in Saint Louis University’s (SLU) FAR PART 141 flight program. I have the direct responsibility to impart both knowledge and professional attitudes to my/our students and am finding this both professionally challenging and rewarding.
Last spring I also completed a PhD in Aviation Science here at SLU. My dissertation was focused on the perceptions and requirements that passengers would place on fully autonomous airline travel. (more…)

A Long and Successful Career in Aeronautics Thanks to U-M

Richard Passman, BSE Aero 1944, BSE Math 1946, Mse Aero 1947, General Manager in GE Aerospace Group

Seventy years after my BSE in Aero, I have coauthored and had published a book for the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum about the X-15, the World’s Fastest Rocket Plane and the pilots who ushered in the Space Age. I have had a long and successful career in Aeronautics, thanks to a great education at the U of M . I recall being taught by Felix Pawlowski in his later years, and protecting him in the wind tunnel from the propellers in the tunnel that were being tested. My fondest memories relate to the courses taught by Dr. Arnold Martin Kuethe that gave me the tools and the interest in supersonic aerodynamics that characterized my activities on the X-2 and X-16 while at Bell Aircraft.

Maya Lin May Not Have Intended This

Patricia Angle (Kelly), BSAE 1996, MSAE 1998, PhD Student

Patricia Angle (Kelly) , BSAE 1996, MSAE 1998

Proudly wearing our Aero 100 shirt!
Patricia and Matt Angle

I met Matt Angle ’96 in 1995, when I stopped to chat with a mutual friend, Emillio. We became fast friends and eventually married, in 2003. We now live in Georgia and have two beautiful sons. He works for Lockheed Martin as an actual, by-gosh, aerospace engineer. My degree took me from consulting to education to business school, where I am now. Maya Lin may not have intended this, but the Wave Field is a really nice place to steal a smooch and begin a future with a cute aerospace engineering student.

From Rockets to Writing

David Redick, BSE-ME 1958, Test Eng., Sales, Management

David Redick, BSE-ME 1958

Dave in 2005

I started in June-1958 as a Field Eng. trainee for liquid propellant (kerosene RP-1, and liq oxy) rocket engine firm Rocketdyne (a div. of No. American Aviation) at the engineering and manufacturing site in Canoga Park, CA, and their development test site in the Santa Susana mountains 20 mi NW of there (west end of San Fernando Valley). The test stand shot the engine exhaust downward into a water-cooled deflector. We dumped a lot of fuel and triclorethylene there and the about 700 acre site is now abandoned and cannot be cleaned-up! Ugh. (more…)