Technical Seminar – Tuesday Sept 17 at 10am: Prof. Narayanan Komerath presents Evolving Priorities for Vertical Lift: A University View

Evolving Priorities for Vertical Lift: A University View

By Prof. Narayanan Komerath
Georgia Institute of Technology

The presenter considers his experience of planning and guiding university research since 1982. From the effect of the Attack Helicopter on the Cold War MAD equation, to disaster response, mountain operations and planetary exploration, vertical lift systems have posed unique opportunities and capabilities. He will reflect on how these historical and current news items translated to university research.

Four application opportunities are in present view:

  1. Options to skip over traffic congestion.
  2. UAV swarms as combat aircraft.
  3. Rural delivery, facilitating a reversal of urban migration.
  4. Ultralight rotorcraft and their potential in exploration, communications and in countering sea level rise and climate change.

(If you have any doubts that we have been saving and will continue to save the world, this should end those!)

Narayanan Komerath holds a B.Tech in aeronautical engineering (IIT Madras), MSAE in aerospace propulsion and PhD in AE (turbulent combustion), both from Georgia Tech. He has worked for 37 years at the School of AE at Georgia Tech. He has been a part of what is now the Army/NASA/Navy/FAA Vertical Lift Rotorcraft Center of Excellence, among other projects, since 1982. Since 1990 he has directed operations at the John J. Harper wind tunnel.

Tuesday, September 17, 10:00 a.m.
NASA Ames Research Center, Bldg N258, Room 127

Visitors to Ames will require a visitor badge.
Please contact Carl Russell ( to obtain a visitor badge. Unfortunately, due to the short notice for this talk, we are only able to accommodate US Citizens and Permanent Residents.

Basic Design Limitations for Urban Electric VTOL Aircraft by Olivier Cornes, 9/10/19

The discussions around urban air mobility (UAM) often suggest that a new aircraft type will be necessary to fulfill the UAM mission. These aircraft are supposed to take-off/land vertically and be fully electric, hence the name e-VTOL. Despite recent and upcoming technological developments in propulsion technology and flight controls, there exist physical limits that apply to the design the constrain the design space depending on of the mission, in particular in terms of rotor-disc area and wing area. This work develops a novel approach to sizing electric aircraft based on a quadratic polynomial, allowing fast sweeps of the design space and ultimately drawing feasible regions in the design space.

Olivier Cornes is a Swiss citizen who graduated with one master’s degree from EPFL (Switzerland) in Mechanical engineering as well as a masters degree from Sup’Aéro (France) in aerospace engineering. He conducted his master thesis research at MIT on developing network-based MDO techniques for Mars mission architecture. After graduating, he founded a chemical process design software start-up based in Switzerland. However, within less than a year, he missed aircraft too much and joined Aurora Flight Sciences as an aircraft designer and has been there for the past couple of years.

Tuesday, September 10, 2:00 p.m.
NASA Ames Research Center, Bldg N258, Room 127

Visitors to Ames will require a visitor badge.
Please contact Carl Russell ( to obtain a visitor badge.
Non-US person visitors: please contact Carl Russell ASAP, and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Dr. Robert Ormiston presents the recently published Figures of Merit and Moffett Field History Museum visit

Celebrate the reminisces of many Army and NASA rotorheads, past and present, and VFS SFBAC members as well as

Dr. Robert Ormiston*

presents the recently published

Figures of Merit

Robert A. Ormiston and Irving C. Statler (Editors)

*Special guest presenters will also be included as time permits

Wednesday, August 28th from 11:00 – 12:00 in Building 3

Followed by admission to the Moffett Field History Museum with lunch from Chipotle.

FREE for VFS members ($10 for non-members)!

Please RSVP to Ms. Haley Cummings at by Monday, August 26th.

Ice Cream Social and Networking at Chase Park

Social Event

Come and cool off with some ice cream provided by the VFS SFBAC and catch up with colleagues or meet new ones! We’ll soon be saying good bye to this year’s group of NASA/Army summer interns, and we’re encouraging them to come out to this event and chat with folks in the SFBAC to get perspectives on what professional life is like working in the area of vertical lift.

Thursday, August 1 at 3:30pm
Chase Park, Ames Research Center

Note that this event is in the NASA Research Park, so visitor passes are not required; however, a government-issued ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.) is required for all visitors to the Research Park, including vehicle passengers.
Non-US (Citizen or Permanent Resident) visitors: you will need an international driver’s license if you will be driving yourself into the Research Park. If you do not have an international driver’s license, you may ride with a US Citizen or Permanent Resident, but will still need to show a gov’t issued ID (e.g., passport) to the guards at the gate.

Technical Seminar: Leveraging Propeller and Rotor Noise Experience for eVTOL Design, by Prof. Ken Brentner

This seminar will provide a review of the key propeller and rotor noise source mechanisms, their fluid mechanics origins, and an assessment of the state-of-the-art of current noise prediction approaches. Rotor noise is comprised of several components that originate from distinct physical mechanisms, which must generally be treated separately. Furthermore, these distinct noise mechanisms each have unique acoustic radiation patterns that are important to understand the resulting noise of the vehicle. The challenge in using prediction tools for reducing rotor noise through both design and abatement is twofold: 1) choosing the level of fidelity that captures the important physics with enough accuracy; and 2) reducing both the learning curve to use the tools and the computational power required by the noise prediction system to make the prediction tools accessible to both aircraft designers, operators, and land use planners. This presentation will address rotor noise sources relevant to electric vertical lift and takeoff (eVTOL) vehicles and show recent validation results for a range of helicopters.

Professor Brentner has been a faculty member for the past 19 years in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. 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. In recent work, Professor Brentner has assembled a team to develop a noise prediction system for the FAA and validated that system with acoustic flight test data for more than six helicopters. These tools are also applicable to proposed eVTOL, Urban Air Mobility (UAM), and drone vehicles. 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, a 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 156 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.

Monday, April 29, 1pm
NASA Ames Research Center, N258 Conference Room

Visitors to Ames will require a visitor badge.
Please contact Carl Russell ( to obtain a visitor badge.
Non-US person visitors: please contact Carl Russell ASAP, and we will do our best to get you a visitor badge