Mark Drela - Flexible Airframe Modeling
Ph.D., Aeronautics and Astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Prof. Drela currently is the Terry J. Kohler Professor of Fluid Dynamics at the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He joined the faculty there in January 1986. His primary research interests are in low speed and transonic aerodynamics, design and performance of aircraft and aeromechanical devices, and computational aerodynamic design methodology. He has developed a number of computational aerodynamic design/analysis codes currently being used in the aircraft and gas turbine industry. He has also developed tools for analysis and design of control systems for highly aeroelastic aircraft. He teaches aircraft design fundamentals, external aerodynamics, and fluid mechanics of boundary layers at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and an AIAA Fellow. He has received the AIAA Lawrence Sperry Award in 1991, the SAE/AIAA Littlewood award in 2011, the AIAA SDM best-paper award in 1999, the AIAA Applied-Aerodynamics Best-Paper Award in 2009, and a Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award in 2010. He has published a wide variety of papers on computational aerodynamic analysis and design methods for turbomachinery, airfoils, wings, and propellers, on aeroelastic modeling and analysis methods, on novel aircraft designs, and on 3D boundary layer calculation methods.
He participated extensively in the Chrysalis, Monarch, and Daedalus human-powered aircraft projects at MIT, the latter setting the world record for distance (116km) and duration (4.0 hours) in 1988. He also was the advisor and pilot for the MIT Human-powered Hydrofoil Project (1989-1993), which holds the current human-powered watercraft world speed record of 18.5 knots, set in 1991. Since 1996 he has worked as a consultant for numerous R&D projects in aircraft, turbomachinery, bicycles, and America's Cup sailboats. He has been active in Free-Flight and Radio-Control model aircraft since childhood.