Matt Paul graduates

Matt Paul has been working with FLIP in the Low Speed Wind Tunnel lab since practically day 1 at Cal Poly, first as an undergrad assistant, then grad student and TA, and the lab’s Lead Test Engineer for various commercial tests. It’s no surprise Matt has been offered a job at NASA Ames in their Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel, and we’ll be sad to see him go - virtually every student in the lab has come to Matt with their problems, and Matt’s talent for breaking and fixing things is legendary in the Aerospace Engineering Department. We’ll miss you Matt, but, we’ll no doubt see you very soon at Ames!

2017 NASA Ames Visit

2017 Ames visit - on a wet and wild day in February, students in Dr. Doig’s ground-breaking Aerodynamic Research and Development course visited NASA Ames for presentations and the Cal Poly Insider Tour of the Unitary Plan supersonic test section, including a peek in the full-scale tunnel while Wired were filming the video we later saw on truck/trailer aero!

Dr. Graham Doig named Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellow

Four professors were named to the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship‘s (CIE) Faculty Fellows program. Lynne Slivovsky, electrical engineering, David Askay, communication studies, Taryn Stanko, management, and Graham Doig, aerospace, join the multidisciplinary cohort in preparing students to become emerging entrepreneurial leaders. Aerospace Professor, Dr. Doig, started the Prototype Vehicles Lab (PROVE Lab) to be a project-based organization where students can design and build unique, technology-demonstrator vehicles to break world records. The fellows program allows him to take these plans for PROVE to the next level and help the students really go to town on their innovative ideas with the right support and mentoring. Dr. Doig sees the Faculty Fellows program as a great investment of time and effort. “These blazing-bright minds are going to go out there and do stuff we haven’t even thought of yet, a group of battle-hardened world-changers,” said Doig. “ Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”.

For more, check out CIE’s press release here.

Emily Briere wants to send a time capsule to Mars

Photograph by Rebecca Hale, NGM Staff

I was happy and not terribly surprised to find Emily Briere being interviewed in National Geographic Magazine.

The 23-year-old aerospace engineering student aims to get a time capsule—a small satellite loaded with messages from Earth—to the red planet. As mission director of Time Capsule to Mars, she’s recruited students from colleges across the United States to meet a goal she describes as “ambitious, but just within reach.”

Emily was in my Fluid Mechanics class at UNSW Australia in her sophomore year. So long as she never finds herself in a deeply-submerged car with only a glassbreaker handy (MMAN2600 joke), I’m pretty sure she’s going to make sure this time capsule gets to Mars.

PROVE Lab’s solar car hits the headlines

Cal Poly PROVE Lab’s launch of their project to break the land speed record for the fastest solar-powered solar car  was featured in several outlets over the last week, here’s a partial summary! FLIP is a sponsor and testing/R&D partner for PROVE Lab.

SLO Tribune:…/educat…/article111382222.html

New York Times:…/…/us/california-today-housing.html……/Can-This-Student-Built-Car-Bre……



NPR 89.3 KPCC:…/cal-poly-students-develop-plan-for-…/…

Mustang News:

Jennings Aeronautics Wind Tunnel Test

SLO-based unmanned aerial systems company Jennings Aeronautics were testing in the Low Speed Wind Tunnel this week, with veteran student test engineer Matt Paul (Aero) and junior lab manager Noah Sadler (ME) running the show with summer lab assistant Garrett Klunk (Aero). Shota Watanabe (Aero) was the day’s point-man for rapid prop blade changes. It’s the first time Jennings has tested in the newest iteration of the facility, which includes a brand new test section.

There’s been increasing interest from companies looking to take advantage of the improvements in test capabilities. Lab director Dr. Graham Doig said “We’re not trying to compete with big facilities, we’re more like a development-scale tunnel with a mission to train students as well as do aerodynamic R&D. It’s win win - our students get some great “earn by doing” experience in a professional test environment right here on campus, and companies get to take advantage of our resources without breaking the bank”.

It’s the second time propeller and motor performance has been tested in recent months - “some of our AIAA DesignBuildFly student team were running a very similar test as part of a project they designed themselves for our experimental aerodynamics course in Spring” says Doig, “it’s really cool to see how well-prepared our students can be for industry by the time they graduate from Cal Poly”. Elias Sullwold of Jennings Aeronautics (an Aero alum himself from ‘05) said “having the students in the lab today was excellent… they have fresh ideas, it helps us as well as them to figure out how to do things better, get data quicker, and do more in a day”.

AERO568/569 over for 2016

We’re not actually going to bother checking, but we think that this is the only university course of its kind in the world - a 2-quarter integrated CFD and wind tunnel “Aerodynamic Research and Development” program that seniors and grads can take, tackling original team projects that aim to investigate relevant problems. It was certainly a long hard road to get the models made, and a lot of lessons were learned along the way, but some amazing things were achieved! Car wheels, joined wings, solar cars, bird wing tip feathers, and rockets were in the tunnel this quarter. Well done teams, you were pioneers!

Aiming high for summer

After they wrap up spring classes with Dr Graham Doig (far left), student wind tunnel
engineers (left to right) Tyler Miles, Riess Haslam, and Brandon Baldovin are heading to the promised land of aerodynamic research and development, NASA Ames Research Center, for summer internships.

NASA’s contractor, Jacobs, selected the trio from the Aerospace
Engineering Department in a new partnership designed to provide opportunities
to students coming through Cal Poly’s innovative project-based curriculum in
aerodynamics. Riess and Brandon will be working with several Cal Poly alums in
the massive transonic/supersonic Unitary Plan facility, while Tyler will be
working on a variety of projects in the Fluid Mechanics Lab under the guidance
of good friend of the aero department, Kurt Long.

Dr. Doig said “We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from NASA about the big
changes we’ve been making in our wind tunnel lab – modernizing instrumentation,
having all our students take on more responsibility for planning tests and
procedures, and running a wide variety of creative and complex test projects
like the awesome work that Cal Poly’s Prototype Vehicles Lab (PROVE Lab) is
currently doing in designing the world’s fastest solar-powered vehicle”.

Doig has been working with Brandon Baldovin on a unique project looking at bird wing tip aerodynamics, and Riess Haslam is not only leading up PROVE Lab’s aerodynamic team but has also volunteered and
worked in the wind tunnel lab for a year, helping to characterize and improve
the air flow quality. Additionally, Riess is a teaching assistant for the
junior-level “Experimental Aerodynamics” course, where he is helping Tyler to
complete tests at a standard that will prepare him for industry.

Ames  Research Center is home to the world’s largest wind tunnel, as
well as an epic array of other aerodynamic facilities where every major
American aircraft and spacecraft developed over the last 50 years will have
been tested.  There’s no shortage of Mustangs working there, and with
Brandon, Riess and Tyler now on their way, long may that continue! We’ll check
in with them after summer to hear about their adventures.

Sand Wars

Cal Poly’s new blockbuster “Aerodynamic Research and Development” course
is coming to a dramatic climax - students furiously striving to
complete wind tunnel models and finalize correlation to CFD results.
Behold, the un-glamorous dark side to wind tunnel testing… 

Andrew Furmidge wins Cal Poly Outstanding Student Employee of the Year

Mechanical Engineering junior and Lead Wind Tunnel Design Engineer Andrew Furmidge was awarded Cal Poly’s prestigious “Outstanding Student Employee of the Year” by President Armstrong, for his work on the Aerospace Engineering Department’s Low Speed Wind Tunnel since January 2015 when he was just halfway through his sophomore year. Andrew’s been an integral part of FLIP’s work on the wind tunnel refurbishment, leading the design and construction of the new test section and a huge number of components and installations - and also helping us source more mechanical engineering assistance when needed! Apart from practically living in the lab, Andrew is also aerodynamics lead for Formula SAE this year (come on Andrew, you know you want to be in PROVE Lab), and has managed to make the Dean’s list almost every quarter of his degree. 

Furmidge and Armstrong

the force balance just about complete and Formula about to wrap up for
the year, maybe he’ll actually get a full night’s sleep some time soon. 

PROVE Lab wind tunnel model makes progress

Cal Poly’s Prototype Vehicles Laboratory - PROVE Lab - is a team of 60+ students from 11 different majors, currently designing and building a solar-powered car to break an international Land Speed Record in June 2017.

When you have less than 2kW of power at hand in order to hit over 65mph, aerodynamics is king. The team has been making a lot of use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and is about to bring a micro-cluster online to crunch the numbers even faster at Cal Poly. However, simulations don’t necessarily mean a lot until they’re validated against physical tests in a reliable facility. Therefore the team has been hard at work designing and building a wind tunnel model. With testing scheduled for late April, the design phase will then accelerate rapidly with optimization of the shape to arrive at a design-freeze by the end of spring quarter.

FLIP is acting as both a technology-incubator and testing partner for PROVE Lab (helps that they have the same benevolent overlord) - PROVE’s wind tunnel model has garnered sponsorship from ANSYS (simulation), Tencate (carbon fiber), RockWest Composites (carbon fiber), Northrop Grumman (financial support), Minova Group (foam), and AirTech (composite forming).

James Keogh submits PhD thesis

James Keogh handed in his PhD thesis on Monday at UNSW Australia in Sydney. The first FLIP graduate student to complete! I say handed in - James is currently working for Manor F1 in England and therefore didn’t get the thoroughly underwhelming experience of dropping off a document that your entire life went into for the last 3 or 4 years, and getting a UNSW paperweight for your troubles.

Hard to over-state James’ achievement - a fully formed PhD thesis featuring experimental and CFD reseach… in pretty much exactly 3 years… is pretty immense, and along the way he’s published half a dozen papers, oh and invented an entirely new type of wind tunnel.

I first met James when he was on crutches - which was often his default state - when he came to my office to talk about undergraduate senior project work to continue my own research into compressibility effects on race car aerodynamics. James’ comprehensive work was later published in the Aeronautical Journal and has since been downloaded by a slew of engineers from various F1 teams. Pretty good going for an undergrad. There’s not much doubt his PhD work will also make an impact!

Maybe we’ll see him in the US some time; the cornering wind tunnel (Keogh Tunnel?) certainly impressed the folks at NASA Ames when he unveiled it at the AIAA Scitech forum in San Diego earlier this year…. and maybe we’ll see a bigger, better version at Cal Poly some time in the near future. All the best James, in a few months I think we’ll be calling you doctor, and maybe your cars will get better at going around corners =)

Trip to NASA Ames Wind Tunnel Division

Who’s that giving an insiders’ tour at NASA Ames Research Center to 16 Cal Poly aero seniors and grads? Alums Eric Paciano (2013) and Alan L’Esperance (2014) - along with our host, Kurt Long of NASA’s Fluid Mechanics Laboratory - were on hand this Tuesday to explain how they conduct tests in one of the world’s finest - and biggest! - wind tunnels. Our students, who are enrolled in Dr. Graham Doig’s new “Aerodynamic Research and Development” class, were able to bounce their project ideas off the experts and return to Cal Poly ready to run their own tunnel tests with a new sense of professionalism. Many thanks to all at NASA Ames for a great day and those awesome demos. Cal Poly and Ames are strengthening their long-standing relationship so that more of our students have opportunities to get a working taste of real-world aerodynamic testing - Learn by Doing in aerodynamics is going from strength to strength.

Frank Kmak visits the Low Speed Wind Tunnel

Another special visitor to FLIP…and the Cal Poly Low Speed Wind Tunnel Lab last week - Frank Kmak is wind tunnel division chief at NASA Ames Research Center, and therefore by default has the biggest and coolest wind tunnel complex on the planet. Ames and Cal Poly are strengthening their long-standing relationship so that more of our students can get experience with cutting edge equipment and working experiences in aerodynamic testing. Riess Haslam, Danny Stalters, David Alexander, Matt Paul, Noah Sadler and Andrew Furmidge were on hand to meet Frank on the day.

FLIR test in the Low Speed Wind Tunnel

The Low Speed Wind Tunnel, which FLIP students have been refurbishing and upgrading for a year now, hosted FLIR Systems last week, to test their new marine night vision M-400 camera in hurricane-strength gusts. Long-time wind tunnel lab employees Andrew Furmidge and Matt Paul, with plenty of help on the day from assistants David Alexander and Danny Stalters, devised and ran the test for the client. Cal Poly’s Aerospace Engineering Department prides itself in producing day-1-ready graduates for industry - what better way to prepare for the real world than running real-world tests while still at university?

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