Vertical Flight Foundation Scholarships

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Joseph Schmaus

University of Maryland College Park

Joe Schmaus is a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland, College Park with a focus on rotorcraft engineering. He has been awarded the VFF scholarship as an undergraduate, masters and PhD student. He worked on the Gamera human powered helicopter as chief test engineer, developing the processes to track and trim the ultra-light rotor systems and the vehicle as a whole. Gamera set several human powered helicopter records and is the current holder of the longest duration flight. He also worked on the Dart T690/E550, a maneuverable, high speed, racing helicopter, the winner of the 29th Annual AHS Student Design Competition.

What impact has receiving the VFF scholarship had for you?

"As an undergraduate, I did some basic research into flapping wings and applied for the scholarship thanks to encouragement from graduate students in my lab and my advisor, Dr. Chopra. Winning that scholarship encouraged me to attend the AHS forum in 2004; I learned so much about the amazing technologies happening in rotorcraft. That experience, more than my research, got me interested in returning to rotorcraft for graduate school. As a graduate student, the AHS scholarship is part of the reason I have been able to commit myself fully to projects like the Gamera human powered helicopter and the AHS student design competition that have been valuable to my growth as an engineer, but do not directly contribute to my core research."

What are some of your current projects or research interests?

"My current research is in modeling high-speed coaxial helicopters. I am coordinating with a wind tunnel test that is providing a data set that will be used to validate and develop the next generation of helicopter simulations."

University of Texas at Austin's and University of Maryland's joint research team performs the first wind tunnel test of an advanced rotor system.

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