Dr. Robert C. Bill

Former deputy director for propulsion, Vehicle Technology Directorate, U.S. Army Research Laboratory, NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio

After receiving his doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1970, Dr. Bill worked for the U.S. Army at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, until his retirement in 2005. He served for 14 years as head of the propulsion and drivetrain portion of the army’s Vehicle Technology Directorate at NASA Glenn. Since 2006, he has worked as a part-time adjunct faculty member and research adviser with the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Penn State. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a member of the American Helicopter Society.

Robert Blackwell

Former Technical Fellow, Sikorsky

Mr. Blackwell is one of the international experts in the field of helicopter dynamics and aeromechanics. He recently retired after a 42-year career at Sikorsky Aircraft where he served in leadership roles for many high-profile development programs. He has been attacking and solving the industry’s toughest problems for decades. He pioneered work on active vibration control systems (now production equipment on most Sikorsky aircraft), provided technical leadership to a team of engineers on the highly successful X2 technology demonstrator, and was at the center of the engineering effort for the RAH-66 Comanche rotor system. Mr. Blackwell was a Technical Fellow at Sikorsky and is highly respected in both industry and academic circles.

Mr. Blackwell has served the AHS in many roles over his career. He was an associate editor of the AHS Journal, chairman of the AHS Dynamics Committee, and was chosen to be an AHS Technical Fellow in 2012. His leadership and service have been inspirational to multiple generations of engineers. He has also been a frequent adviser to student projects and guest seminar speaker at professional meetings. Mr. Blackwell has authored nearly 20 technical papers (a substantial number for an industry-based engineer), many of which are cited frequently by his peers as major contributions to the state-of-the-art in helicopter dynamics.

Dr. Albert Brand

Senior technical fellow for Flight Technology and technical fellow of the Vertical Flight Society (VFS) International.

Dr. Brand received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from Georgia Tech’s Aerospace Engineering department and was in the first graduating class of the school’s Rotorcraft Center. Dr. Brand’s 33-year career with Bell includes experimental testing, analytical prediction methods, and design of rotorcraft, including Bell’s 16-passenger commercial 525. During a multi-year assignment at the PAX River Naval Air Station he supported V 22 flight testing with groundbreaking work on vortex ring state. In his current role as Sr. Technical Fellow, Dr. Brand provides technical oversight on all major programs at Bell, and he enjoys teaching an annual Rotorcraft Fundamentals course for the company. He holds numerous U.S. patents and is a 2020 recipient of the Textron Chairman’s Award for configuring Bell’s FARA entry to win.

Dr. Ken Brentner

Professor of aerospace engineering, Penn State University

Professor Brentner has been a faculty member for the past 18 years in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Penn State. His research interests focus on rotorcraft and aircraft aeroacoustics, computational aeroacoustics, fluid mechanics, computational fluid dynamics, and high performance computing. Professor Brentner and his research team have developed the rotorcraft noise prediction code PSU-WOPWOP which is able to predict noise from a rotorcraft with multiple rotors in both steady and maneuvering flight. Prior to joining Penn State, Professor Brentner was a senior research engineer at the NASA Langley Research Center for 17 years. Professor Brentner has a B.S. in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Purdue University, an M.S. degree in aeronautics from The George Washington University, JIAFS, and a Ph.D. degree in acoustics from the University in Cambridge, England. He has authored or co-authored over 135 technical publications, and is the recipient of numerous awards. Professor Brentner is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and a past editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Helicopter Society.

Dr. Robert M. McKillip Jr.

Senior associate, Continuum Dynamics, Inc.

Dr. McKillip received his BSE degree from Princeton University and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He returned to Princeton for eight years as an assistant professor with the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Since 1992, he has been a senior associate at Continuum Dynamics, Inc., where he is involved in government- and industry-sponsored research programs on rotorcraft flight control, rotor system dynamic modeling and instrumentation, flight simulation, and shape memory alloy actuator development. Dr. McKillip holds several patents in these areas. He has served on the handling qualities and the simulation technical committees for the American Helicopter Society.

David Pullman

Chief structural engineer, Advanced Technologies Incorporated (ATI)

Mr. Pullman has a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington and a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University. Formerly, he worked as a United States Air Force researcher with the Non-Metallic Materials Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He was also a structural engineer with Hartzell Propeller, Inc., where he worked to start the first industry-wide Propeller Damage Tolerance Committee under the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. Currently at ATI, Mr. Pullman has designed and built composite propellers and rotors for Boeing Helicopter, NASA, Sikorsky, and others.

Edward C. Smith

Professor of aerospace engineering, VLRCOE Director, Penn State

After earning master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Maryland, Dr. Smith joined the aerospace engineering faculty at Penn State in 1992. Dr. Smith’s research and teaching interests are in all aspects of helicopter dynamics, including tailored composite rotor blades, active vibration control, rotor lag damping and aeromechanical stability, shipboard helicopter operations, driveline dynamics, and anti-icing systems.

He has secured research sponsorship from the U.S. Army (Army Research Office [1994 Young Investigator Award], AATD, AED, AFDD), U.S. Navy (ONR, NAVAIR), NASA, Boeing Rotorcraft, Sikorsky Aircraft, Bell Helicopters, LORD Corporation, Goodrich, Timken, and a number of small technology businesses. Since 1995, Smith has served as director of the NRTC–funded Penn State Vertical Lift Research Center (VLRCOE). Dr. Smith is the recipient of the 1994 AHS Director’s Award, has received the AHS Membership Sponsor Award four times, and was awarded the Lawrence Sperry Award from the AIAA, and the 2013 Penn State President’s Award for Engagement with Students. Dr. Smith served as chairman of the AHS Education Committee from 1997 to 2012, and has also served as chairman of the AHS Dynamics Technical Committee. He is a Technical Fellow of AHS International.

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