March 2020

AIAA Foundation Making an Impact: Middle Schoolers Impress with CubeSat Know-How

A group of students and adults in formal attire pose for a photo at an event, with a presentation screen displaying
Students from The Weiss School at AIAA SciTech Forum. Credit: AIAA

Attendees at the 2020 AIAA SciTech Forum got to see the next generation of aerospace leaders in action at the HUB in the Exposition Hall when 20 middle school students from The Weiss School presented the latest on their Wolverine CubeSat Development Team.

It’s a great example of AIAA members mentoring students to introduce them to the vibrant field of aerospace from both a technical and public policy perspective. Kevin L. Simmons, founder of BLUECUBE Aerospace, a science educator at The Weiss School, and a member of the AIAA Palm Beach Section, and Shawna Christenson, the section’s K-12 STEM Outreach officer, brought the students to AIAA SciTech.  

The Weiss School also has a Public Policy Team that works directly with Congressman Brian Mast (R-FL), who recently reintroduced House Resolution 85, entitled “Wolverine CubeSats in Education.” HR 85 aims to promote the use of CubeSats for educating the next-generation STEM workforce. Christenson led the students as they wrote the first draft of the language that became the resolution. Some of these students are expected to attend AIAA Congressional Visits Day in March, said Simmons, who won the 2017 Educator Achievement Award.

Simmons, ksimmons@bluecubesat.com, recommends that AIAA sections find educators in their area that will actively partner. “The best I can do as an educator is to create opportunities for my students to work with the very professionals that they want to emulate and eventually become. We also formed an AIAA high school section, and now have a joint annual banquet together with the students and professional members.”

For more information about how to become involved with AIAA’s educational outreach, please visit aiaa.org/get-involved or contact Merrie Scott, merries@aiaa.org.

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13th AIAA Pacific Northwest Annual Technical Symposium

A person stands at a podium giving a presentation in a room with a projector screen. An audience is seated and attentively listening to the speaker.
Erika Wagner, Blue Origin, gives the Rising Leaders keynote. Credit: AIAA Pacific Northwest Section

By Priscilla Khoury, 2019 AIAA Pacific Northwest Section Vice Chair

On 16 November, the 13th AIAA Pacific Northwest (PNW) Annual Technical Symposium was hosted at the Lynnwood Convention Center in Lynnwood, WA, and attracted about 233 attendees, which is a 30% increase from the previous year. This year we incorporated the use of a digital program powered by LineUpr.com, which included our traditional components such as plenary lectures, technical presentations, panel sessions, and speed mentoring. The student poster session, introduced last year, was also included and a mock interview workshop was added to the Rising Leader’s (RL) session. The digital program user interface provided means of building one’s agenda for the day by adding portions of the main program to a favorites list. Questions were submitted via the digital program interface for the panel sessions, which the moderator pulled for the Q&A portion of the discussion. Overall, both the technical and the interactive sessions received very positive feedback from our participants.

The symposium opened with a plenary presentation by Mike Lombardi, senior corporate historian for The Boeing Company, who shared an overview of the Apollo program through the often overlooked perspective of industry, specifically the contribution of The Boeing Company and its heritage companies. This year, as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, it was a great way to remind our audience about how our innovative contributions and hard work can go the distance.

Following the opening keynote, attendees had a choice between three parallel sessions, two of which were on the challenges and opportunities of accelerating electrified flight and emerging space propulsion technologies for deep space exploration, an overview of an accident investigation of LANSA flight 508, and a description of the Orb2 space station concept. The RL session was kicked off by Erika Wagner, Payload Sales Director at Blue Origin, who shared her personal perspective on finding one’s way in their career development and lessons learned with young professionals and students. After a coffee break the RL session continued with a mock interview workshop led by Gina Baker, founder and CEO of Summit Connections, and Jason Slagle, director of Propulsion for the 787 Dreamliner and 747 at Boeing.

As the mock interview workshop was underway at the RL session, two panel discussions were held. One was on the three flavors of gliding in the Pacific Northwest and the other was on workforce development. The panels provided insightful discussion on different forms of gliding and different perspectives of what the current aviation workforce looks like as well as its future needs in the Pacific Northwest.

Transitioning into the afternoon, attendees were encouraged to network with each other and visit exhibitors in the concourse area of the convention center. Exhibitors included Aerojet Rocketdyne, Blue Origin, Boeing/Future of Flight, Jetoptera, Klinger IGI, Inc., Summit Connections, Crane Aerospace & Electronics, Alaska Airlines, LEAF/Lindbergh, PNW AIAA, PNW Soaring, Raisbeck, University of Washington, Museum of Flight, PNAA, and the Center of Excellence for Aerospace & Advanced Manufacturing/Olympic College.

Our lunch keynote speaker Erik Lindbergh, Executive Chairman of VerdeGo Aero, talked about the birth of long distance aviation, to the creation of the personal spaceflight industry and an ambitious vision to jump-start a new short distance air travel industry with advances in distributed electric propulsion. Despite challenges that came along his journey, Erik advised our attendees to keep on going and to never give up.

Other afternoon lectures educated attendees on the Spalart-Allmaras turbulence model and our role in sustainability. A student poster session was held with contributions from the following schools and teams: Everett Community College Aviation Maintenance Program, Bellevue College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Portland State University, University of Washington undergraduate, and University of Washington Design, Build, Fly. Symposium attendees were encouraged to vote for their favorite and the winners were recognized later in the afternoon.

In the RL session young professionals had a chance to interact with industry experts and ask questions regarding their career choices, experiences, and anything else they were curious about.

A highlight of the symposium was the engineering design challenge, which provided a fun and interactive way to connect with others in teams. The goal was to construct a foam rocket designed to hit a designated target with the resources provided by satisfying a set of requirements. It also introduced our youngest attendees to the engineering design process.

The closing keynote speaker was Dr. Paul Bevilaqua, who played a leading role in creating the Joint Strike Fighter. He discussed how small engineering teams and rapid prototyping can achieve quick, quiet, quality products.

Reflecting back on another successful symposium we have already started preparations for next year’s symposium to be held on Saturday, 7 November 2020, at the Green River College in Auburn, WA.

We could not have done all this without a fantastic team of volunteers, as well as our sponsors who year after year continue to show their commitment to the section membership: Ed Wells Partnership, The Boeing Company, Aerojet Rocketdyne Foundation, AeroTec, Klinger IGI, Inc., Tecplot, Base2 Solutions, Crane Aerospace and Electronics, Jetoptera, Paine Field Snohomish County Airport, Blue Origin, Verdego Aero, LineUpr, and Echodyne.

Every year we try to build on the past year’s successes and expand the program with new items for variety, resulting in increased interest for the symposium. We would like to invite anyone interested in presenting, sponsoring, or contributing in any other way to take a look at http://pnwaiaa.org/ts2019 or contact the symposium chair at symposium@pnwaiaa.org.

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Young Professionals Young Professionals, Students, and Educator Conference

A group of people in black shirts poses around a banner that reads
YPSE Conference organizers. Credit: AIAA Region I YPSE Conference

The AIAA Region I Young Professionals, Students, and Educator (YPSE) Conference was held for the first time in four years by the AIAA Mid-Atlantic Section on 15 November 2019 at the Kossiakoff Center at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, MD. More than 160 young professionals (under age 35), graduate, undergraduate, and high school students were in attendance. Students came from 16 different universities and nearly 50 technical presentations were given on aerospace-related topics, including machine learning, robotics, aerodynamics, and navigation.

The event gave young professionals and students the opportunity to learn from each other about a large breadth of topics in the aerospace community, gaining knowledge in areas they may not have yet been exposed to. The keynote address featured former NASA astronaut and test pilot Pierre Thuot, who spoke about the three spacewalks he performed aboard the Endeavour shuttle in 1992. The conference also had several networking events, including an expo hall, networking activity, and happy hour, as well as an awards presentation.

The AIAA Mid-Atlantic Section will be hosting the 2020 YPSE Conference on 16 October, at the Kossiakoff Center again. Please email aiaa.midatlantic@gmail.com for more details and check https://engage.aiaa.org/midatlantic for upcoming events.

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AIAA Announcements Annual Business Meeting Notice

Notice is hereby given that the Annual Business Meeting of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) will be held at the Hilton Crystal City at Washington Reagan National Airport, Arlington, VA on Monday, 18 May 2020, at 1:00 PM. 

Christopher Horton, AIAA Governance Secretary


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AIAA Announcements AIAA Council of Directors Meeting

Notice is hereby given that an AIAA Council of Directors Meeting will be held at the Hilton Crystal City at Washington Reagan National Airport, Arlington, VA on Tuesday, 19 May 2020, at 1:00 PM.

Christopher Horton, AIAA Governance Secretary


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AIAA Committees AIAA Committee Held Panel on International Best Practices to Preserve the Outer Space Environment in December

A panel discussion at the Elaine M. Galloway Memorial Symposium, with five speakers seated at a table and a screen behind them displaying information about international space environment preservation.
The AIAA Legal Aspects of Aeronautics and Astronautics Outreach Committee held a dinner on 10 December, which included a panel on International Best Practices to Preserve the Outer Space Environment. AIAA Executive Director Dan Dumbacher participated in the panel. Credit: AIAA Legal Aspects of Aeronautics and Astronautics Outreach Committee

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Award Announcements AIAA F.E. Newbold V/STOL Award Presented

Four men in suits standing on stage, one holding a certificate, behind a large trophy with an eagle on top and a plaque. Dark curtains are in the background.
L to R: Dr. Geoffrey Jeram, AIAA V/STOL Technical Committee Chair; Justin Paines, Chief Test Pilot, Joby Aviation; JoeBen Bevirt, Founder of Joby Aviation; and Mike Hirschberg, VFS Executive Director. Credit: International Powered Lift Conference

On 22 January, the AIAA F.E. Newbold V/STOL Award was presented to Justin Paines at the International Powered Lift Conference in San Jose, CA. Mr. Paines was recognized for his leading role in the development of the Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing flight control system for the Joint Strike Fighter.


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AIAA Student Branches New AIAA Student Branches

AIAA is pleased to welcome eight new student branches, which were approved by the Board of Trustees in January. With these eight additions, AIAA now has 244 student branches. Please join us in welcoming these new branches!

Region I

American Public University System
(No Section Assignment)
FA: Marvine Hamner and Ed Albin
SBC: Scott Palmer

Region II

Florida Atlantic University
(Palm Beach Section)
FA:  Stewart Glegg
SBC: Diego Salvatierra

University of Tennessee-Chattanooga
(Tennessee Section)
FA: Kidambi Sreenivas and Trevor Elliott
SBC: Ashwyn Sam

University of West Florida
(NW Florida Section)
FA: Carolyn Mattick
SBC: William Preston

University of North Carolina at Charlotte
(Carolina Section)
FA: Karen Thorsett          
SBC: Spencer Owen

Region III

University of Missouri at Kansas City
(Wisconsin Section)
FA: Travis Fields
SBC: Shawn Herrington

Region IV

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
(Albuquerque Section)
FA: Mostafa Hassanalian
SBC: Savannah Bradley

Region VII

University of Canterbury
FA: Dan Zhao and Bruce Robertson
SBC: Matthew Furkert 

FA = Faculty Advisor
SBC = Student Branch Chair

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AIAA Student Branches Correction: AIAA Student Branches, 2019–2020

Below are the AIAA student branches that were unintentionally left off the list published in the January issue.

Region I

City University of New York
(Long Island)

Johns Hopkins University

Region II

North Carolina State University
FA: Jack Edwards
SBC: Paul Neil

Tennessee Tech University

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Obituary AIAA Associate Fellow Isaacs Died in July 2019

Leslie T. Isaacs died on 27 July 2019, at age 92.

Isaacs served his country in the U.S. Naval Reserve, first Class Aviation Electronics Tech Mate. He was active duty from May 1945 to July 1946.

From 1946 to 1950 he attended the University of Tucson, Arizona graduating with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Isaacs was hired by Douglas Aircraft and worked for them in Long Beach for 42 years as an Electrical Engineer, retiring in 1992.

In 1990, he received an AIAA Special Service Citation from the Los Angeles/Orange County Sections.

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Obituary AIAA Senior Member Blackaby Died in December 2019

James Blackaby passed away on 31 December at the age of 98.

In 1939 Blackaby attended the University of Oregon, before transferring to the University of Washington to pursue his interest in aerodynamics. He left the university to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II, but later returned to Seattle to finish his degree.

In 1947, he accepted a job with NACA at Ames Research. Blackaby began his career conducting research in the wind tunnels at Moffett Field. When Ames became part of NASA in 1958, he joined the Life Science Division. He was involved in the very earliest space flight research and technology for Project Mercury, Project Gemini, and the Apollo program, developing spacesuits and designing astronauts’ life support systems. He holds a patent for the “Blackaby Backpack,” a portable unit that enables astronauts to venture outside an orbiting spacecraft. In 1976 Blackaby retired from NASA.

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Obituary AIAA Associate Fellow Bell Died in January

A man with glasses and a gray beard, wearing a suit and tie, sits at a desk and smiles at the camera.
Robert Bell. Credit: Bell Family

Robert (Bob) Bell died on 9 January.

Bell attended to Columbia University, but left to join the U.S. Air Force. He served six years in the Air Force, followed by two years in the reserves. He later received his mechanical engineering degree from the University of Colorado, and earned a master’s degree equivalency in nuclear engineering.

Bell worked on many space development programs for Lockheed, Ball, Boeing, and SNC. He was a lead engineer on the transformational reusable launch vehicle demonstrator, the DC-X; a propulsion lead on the mighty Delta III launch vehicle; the propulsion lead for the Orion human spaceflight system; and most recently the Chief Engineer of NASA’s Dream Chaser reusable spaceplane. Bell also directed the Air Force telescope site on Maui known as AMOS for several years for Boeing.

His expertise was valued, admired, and respected by his industry peers and his name was instated in the International Space Hall of Fame, along with his team members for their work on the DC-X rocket. Bell was known for his zealous dedication to ensuring the highest level of technical achievement to make sure the complex systems he dedicated his life to would work in space. He was a member of the AIAA Liquid Propulsion Technical Committee from 2015 to 2017.

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Obituary AIAA Associate Fellow Westphal Died in February

Bill Westphal passed away on 1 February, at the age of 76.

Westphal earned his B.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Ohio State University in 1969. He earned an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering and was a candidate for an Aerospace Engineering Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati, an M.P.A. in Entrepreneurship and International Business at Kennesaw State University, and a Master’s in Project Management from Penn State University. He was a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Ohio.

In 1969 he joined the General Electric Aircraft Engine Department where he was the Lead Design Engineer for an Advanced Turbine Engine Gas Generator (ATEGG) Compressor and for a Joint Technology Demonstrator Engine (JTDE) Fan. The JTEG program successfully demonstrated application of a large internally bladed design of a high tip speed fan rotor an aircraft gas turbine engine.

In 1982 Westphal joined Rolls-Royce in Atlanta, GA, where he collaboratively partnered with leading U.S. companies to design, develop, and manufacture carbon-carbon, ceramic matrix, metal matrix and polymer matrix composites and high temperature protective coatings for gas turbine applications. He served as technical chair and later joined Roll-Royce Corporation in Indianapolis.

He is the inventor or co-inventor of a number of patents for the application of ceramic matrix composites for advanced turbine engines and the author or co-author of numerous technical papers.

Westphal was an active AIAA member, and participated on the Inlets, Nozzles, and Propulsion Systems Integration Technical Committee  (2008-2019) and the Materials Technical Committee. He was also section vice chair and section chair in the early 1990s.

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March 2020 AIAA Bulletin