Panel Recordings

Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan has reached a remarkable turning point and a unique opportunity to celebrate the many accomplishments that have enabled the Aerospace Engineering department to be one of the best programs of its kind among major universities. The centennial celebration, held the weekend of September 18 – 19, 2014, provided an opportunity to recall our rich history of education and research, and celebrate our vision for the future. Click here to view the dynamic discussions and presentations that took place.

Panel Recordings (CoE Website)

AERO Alumni Talk: Past, Present and Future

Harvesting the Heart’s Energy

Aerospace Engineering researchers are developing a method to harvest the energy of the human heart to power pacemakers, a technology they hope can translate to other medical devices. Their research, which began with studying how to power wireless sensors in aircraft wings, could ultimately eliminate the need for costly and painful surgeries to replace the batteries of an implanted medical device.

ABOUT THE PROFESSOR: U-M Aerospace Engineering Department Chair Dan Inman is active in research involving smart materials and structures as applied to morphing aircraft, energy harvesting, structural health monitoring and clearance control in jet engines. He currently has projects in gust alleviation in UAVs, cable harnessed satellites and wind turbine blade monitoring.

Harm Buning Lecture

The first lecture in the Boeing Lecture Hall, October 1993.

Doing More with Less: Human Flight on the Power of a Cordless Drill

On June 13th, 2013, AeroVelo’s Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter captured the 33-year-outstanding AHS Sikorsky Prize. Created in 1980 and thought by many to be impossible, the prize required an HPH to fly for 60 seconds and achieve 3m in height, while remaining controlled within a 10m by 10m box.

Todd Reichert and Cameron Robertson will chronicle the journey leading to this historic achievement, and the process behind the creation of Atlas. This will include the Snowbird Human-Powered Ornithopter, which in 2010 became the first successful human-powered flapping wing aircraft. The evolving aircraft design strategies involved in developing these unique vehicles have included Multi-Disciplinary Optimization, high-performance composite structures, as well as many creative and innovative solutions to engineering challenges.

Todd and Cameron will conclude with a discussion of future human-powered projects, including their current focus on high-speed human-powered land vehicles. In the quest for the World human-powered land speed record, these vehicles will require aerodynamic shape optimization for extended runs of laminar flow, potentially setting the stage for the next phase of individual transportation technology.

Sponsored by the Aerospace Engineering Department (http:// as part of the 585 Lecture Series.

Todd Reichert graduated from University of Toronto Engineering Science (Aerospace Option) in 2005, and his Ph.D. in 2011 from the U of T Institute for Aerospace Studies. Cameron Robertson graduated Engineering Science (Aerospace Option) in 2008, and his Master’s in 2009 also at UTIAS. During their studies, Todd and Cameron led the team that designed and built the Snowbird Human-Powered Ornithopter. On August 2nd 2010, the Snowbird became the World’s first human-powered flapping-wing aircraft to sustain flight, the realization of an ancient aeronautical dream. For this achievement Todd and Cameron were named co-recipients of the CASI Trans-Canada McKee Trophy, among the highest honors in Canadian Aerospace.

In 2012 Todd and Cameron established AeroVelo Inc, a company dedicated to increasing the public’s awareness of sustainable solutions to society’s most pressing technological challenges. AeroVelo has focused on using human-powered vehicles as a teaching platform to demonstrate innovative and creating engineering design and challenge the general perception of the impossible. They first undertook Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter Project with the aim of capturing the 33-year old AHS Sikorsky Prize, for the first flight of a human-powered helicopter to exceed 60 seconds duration and reach 3m in height. On June 13th, 2013, Atlas completed a flight satisfying all prize requirements, a historic milestone. AeroVelo’s next focus is on high-speed aerodynamic bicycles capable of 130Km/h.

Phil Roe | Colorful Fluid Dynamics: Behind the Scenes

Phil Roe, professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan, discusses Colorful Fluid Dynamics (CFD), which has become a pervasive mode of investigation into fluid dynamics, and aerodynamics in particular, and how it is important to treat it with the proper mixture of respect and skepticism. This talk will be a backstage tour of CFD. He will cover the history of CFD from the earliest beginnings to the present day. He will show what makes CFD difficult, and describe some of the intellectual breakthroughs that have enabled progress. He will show examples where reliance on CFD can be dangerous, but also describe how CFD can be a source of physical insight. Finally, I will discuss some of the currently active research into CFD methodology, and the effect that it is hoped to have.

Sponsored by the Aerospace Engineering Department ( as a part of the AE585 Seminar lecture series.

Phil Roe, Professor- Aerospace Engineering
Speaker Overview: Education: B.A. 1961, University of Cambridge, Department of Engineering. Dip. Aero 1962, University of Cambridge, Department of Engineering. Specializations and Research Interests: Computational Fluid Dynamics; Magnetohydrodynamics; and, Electromagnetics.

Speaker Detailed Overview: Education: B.A. 1961, University of Cambridge, Department of Engineering. Dip. Aero 1962, University of Cambridge, Department of Engineering. Specializations and Research Interests: Computational Fluid Dynamics; Magnetohydrodynamics; and, Electromagnetics. Honors and Awards: • Honoree, Jameson-Roe-van Leer Symposium, San Diego 2013. • University of Michigan College of Engineering Research Excellence Award, 2000-2001. • 60th Birthday Symposium “Innovative Numerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations”, Arcachan, France, June, 1998, Proceedings published by World Scientific • NASA Group Achievement Award, 1993. • 1981 paper ‘Approximate Riemann solvers, parameter vectors and difference schemes’ , selected for reprinting in 25th Anniversary issue of Journal of Computational Physics. Citations currently exceed 6000. • Elected AIAA Fellow, 1996, • Departmental Research Award, Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan, 1994

For more lectures on demand, visit the MconneX website at:

David Darmofal—2012 Alumni Merit Award Recipient (AERO)

In addition to his role as Professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, Professor David Darmofal is also the Director of the MIT Aerospace Computational Design Laboratory. He guides the Laboratory’s mission to lead the advancement and application of computational engineering for aerospace systems design and optimization. He also has served as the department’s interim head.

Among his honors, Professor Darmofal has been recognized with an NSF Career Award and Post-Doctoral Fellowship.

At MIT, he is a MacVicar Faculty Fellow, in recognition of his exemplary and sustained contributions to the teaching and education of undergraduates.

He was honored with the MIT School of Engineering Bose Award for Junior Faculty, and just last year received the Earll M. Murman Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising. It is presented to a faculty member who has served as an excellent advisor and mentor for undergraduates, and who has had a significant impact on their personal lives and academic success. In addition, Professor Darmofal was recently named the Raymond Bisplinghoff Faculty Fellow in recognition of his contributions in research, teaching, and service.

Satellites in a box

The Radio Aurora Explorer (RAX) mission has proven that scientific information can be gathered from a CubeSat, which is a small satellite encased within a box and attached to a spacecraft to achieve orbit. The scientific data gathered by RAX has been published in peer-reviewed science journals.

CubeSats are sparking innovation and providing easier access to space, according to Aerospace Engineering Professor Jamie Cutler. The value of CubeSats is their ability to test technology and get into space at a low price point and with little risk involved, says Cutler.

ABOUT THE PROFESSOR: James Cutler is an assistant professor in the Aerospace Engineering Department at the University of Michigan. His research interests center on space systems – a multidisciplinary approach to enabling future space capability with particular emphasis on novel, nanosatellite missions. He is developing next generation communication capability and robust space computing infrastructure. He is the director of the Michigan Exploration Laboratory.

Marc Wiser—2012 Alumni Distinguished Service Award Recipient

As co-founder and Managing Director of RPM Ventures, Marc Weiser actively seeks out and invests in promising information technology companies, including spinouts from leading research universities. Like ours.

But it is his service here that is so important to our students, the College of Engineering, and the University community at large.

Marc is an active board member of the College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship, contributing solid advice based on his years of professional experience. He is also an adjunct professor in the Center for Entrepreneurship Affiliates Program. The program’s goal is to help students, faculty and staff pursue entrepreneurial achievements, and bring ideas from invention to implementation.

In further service to our students, Marc was instrumental in the creation of TechArb, a downtown Ann Arbor incubator/accelerator for student-led businesses. TechArb is a joint effort of the Center for Entrepreneurship, the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. Students are empowered to bring their ideas to life by working with experienced mentors and the Michigan alumni network.

And Marc and Mary, his wife, are leading the creation of the Food Allergy Center at the University of Michigan. The Center will provide national leadership and a path to a cure for individuals suffering from these allergies.

Marc has said about his approach: “Our strategy is to find disruptive technologies and find researchers, professors and grad students that have the right kind of mindset, connect them with entrepreneurial business leaders, and help them create their companies. To reinvent Michigan, one of the best places to start is with these talented, hungry, driven students who are looking forward, not backwards.”

Aerospace Engineer’s Dream Tour

During  Spring Break 2012, the University of Michigan (U-M) branch of the  American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) had 16  aerospace engineering students embark on an epic journey around Southern  California to tour some of the most impressive aerospace facilities in  the world. The trip was an extremely valuable professional development  tool that gave the students a thorough understanding of the significant  breadth and depth of the aerospace industry. Read more…