Name: Raja Zahirudin
Raja is a PhD candidate in Aerospace Engineering at Penn State specializing on experimental aeroacoustics. His goal is to reduce acoustics of eVTOL craft through combined explorations of both blade modifications and rotor configurations. He graduated with a Bachelors and M.Eng degree from Penn State.
Name: Jean-Pierre Theron
Role: Vice President
Jean-Pierre is a PhD student working on the modeling simulation and control of distributed electric propulsion aircraft and electric-VTOLs. Jean-Pierre hails from South Africa where he did his Bachelor’s and Master’s in Mechanical Engineering (focusing on the implementation of on-board optimal trajectory planning for UAVs) at the University of Pretoria.
Name: Bhaskar Mukherjee
Name: Jeffrey Lewis
Jeffrey is a PhD student working with Dr. Eric N Johnson at the Penn State UAV Research Laboratory (PURL). His current research is in adaptive fault tolerant flight control. He graduated from Georgia Tech with his MS in Aerospace Engineering in August 2018 where his master’s project was on covariance approximation for feature point vision based navigation. By that time, Jeffrey had followed Dr. Johnson in his move to Penn State. Jeffrey received his BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin –Madison in December 2015 where he performed research on advanced driver assistance systems with Dr. John Lee in his last two semesters. During summers in his undergraduate career, he interned in manufacturing engineering at Enstrom Helicopter Corporation in Menominee, Michigan.
Name: Dr. Edward Smith
Role: Faculty Advisor
Dr. Ed Smith has been a member of the Aerospace Engineering faculty at Penn State University since 1992. He also completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Penn State, where he also worked as a George F. Wislicenus Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Applied research laboratory (ARL). He attended graduate school at the University of Maryland Center for Rotorcraft Education and Research, earning MS and PhD degrees in Aerospace Engineering. Working under the supervision of Prof. Inderjit Chopra, Ed became engaged in research in helicopter dynamics and composite rotor blades.
Name: Dr. Jose Palacios
Role: Faculty Advisor
Dr. Jose Palacios joined the faculty of Aerospace Engineering at Penn State University in August 2013. Jose received his bachelor, MS and PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the same department and school. He spent 5 years as a post-doctoral researcher at the Penn State Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence. During that time, his main research focus has been aircraft and wind turbine icing. Jose has developed testing capabilities to investigate icing physics and methods to prevent ice accretion. The construction of an Adverse Environment Rotor Test Stand and an upcoming Ice Crystal Wind Tunnel have helped secure funds for on-going research in the field of rotorcraft icing physics, engine icing, de-icing systems, and ice protective coatings.