SOURCE: Aurora Flight Sciences

Aurora Flight Sciences

September 08, 2009 14:39 ET

Professor Drela Joins Aurora as Scholar-In-Residence

CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwire - September 8, 2009) - Aurora Flight Sciences announced today that Prof. Mark Drela will be a scholar-in-residence during the 2009-2010 academic year. Drela is currently the Terry J. Kohler Professor of Fluid Dynamics in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Drela is one of the world's leading authorities in applied aerodynamics. He joined the MIT faculty in January 1986. His primary research interests are in low speed and transonic aerodynamics, 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.

Prof. Drela 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 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.

Prof. Drela obtained his Bachelor of Science (1982), Master of Science (1983), and PhD (1985) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

"Mark has played an important role in many of Aurora's UAV designs over the past 20 years," said Aurora CEO John Langford, "so this is a natural extension of that relationship. In addition to working on technical problems of mutual interest, we see Mark playing an important mentoring role for our young engineers -- many of whom have studied under Mark at MIT."

About Aurora Flight Sciences

Aurora Flight Sciences designs and builds robotic aircraft and other advanced aerospace vehicles for scientific and military applications. Aurora is headquartered in Manassas, VA and operates production plants in Bridgeport, WV and Columbus, MS and a Research and Development Center in Cambridge, MA. To view recent press releases and more about Aurora please visit our web site at

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