Aerospace engineers design high-performance systems, including aircraft, spacecraft, satellites and missiles. They have an understanding of aerodynamics, flight mechanics, structures and propulsion. Our graduates work in analysis/design and research/development for local, national and international companies and organizations.

2023 Projects

Aerodynamic Analysis of Flat Plates at Low Reynolds Numbers

MEMBERS: Jace Francis, Alex Schaefer, Jay Thompson, Ideline Brisa

ADVISOR: Dr. Brandon Buerge

Historically, flat plate research has been neglected as standard airfoils have shown to be the most efficient and cost-effective lift device for airliners, general aviation aircraft, and other aircraft operating at high Reynolds numbers. As micro air vehicles (MAVs) and other small unmanned aerial vehicles (SUAVs) operating at low Reynolds numbers become more popular, flat plates may prove themselves to be a practical option thanks to their availability, weight, strength, and low manufacturing cost. Our investigation aims to provide insight into the performance of flat plates at low Reynolds numbers by looking into the effects of thickness-to-chord ratios and leading edge treatments on the lift-to-drag ratio.

Affordable Model Rocket With Bimodal Stability for Recovery

MEMBERS: Robert Ross, Emma Ahrenholtz, Trevor Fruci, Whitney Crawford, Edgar Madrid 

ADVISOR: Dr. Scott Miller

STEAM fields, particularly aerospace engineering, lack diversity [1,2], which can be partially credited to the traditionally high cost of STEM educational materials like model rocketry kits. This means some students have limited engagement with STEM which would otherwise inspire them to pursue a degree in the field. Shocker Galactic designed the Dream Sender model rocket to be made of easily obtainable, upcycled material, and to incorporate a range of motors to reduce cost when needed. The affordability of Dream Sender’s materials makes it accessible to schools, outreach programs, and hobbyists, ultimately reaching a larger demographic. The vehicle introduces youth to engineering design principles often neglected in commercial model rocket kits, and scales in complexity to match the abilities of the students. The Dream Sender also exhibits a non-traditional recovery system, which relies on bimodal stability rather than a parachute to ensure a safe descent rate. This unique recovery system provides an engineering design challenge to students while presenting to them industry-level experimental techniques they may desire to explore.

[1] “Employment,” Society of Women Engineers Available: [2] Okrent, A., and Burke, A., “Participation of demographic groups in STEM - home | NSF,” NCSES Available:

The Albatross

MEMBERS: Kale Macormic, Cade Mansfield, Cameron Cropper, Jared Fournier

ADVISOR: Dr. Scott Miller

For the Bronze Propeller Competition, this team has developed a lightweight flying wing with the focus on rapid deployment and accurate delivery of small emergency medical provisions. Utilizing newly published NASA research, this aircraft uses a combination of wing twist and winglets to guarantee unbeatable maneuverability and dropping accuracy enclosed in a 4x4 ft. area. The rapid assembly time of this vehicle would aid in effective, immediate delivery of emergency items, such as asthma inhalers and snake anti-venom to name a few. A lightweight balsa wood structure and electric propulsion minimizes the environmental footprint of the aircraft.

Aviation for Reforestation

MEMBERS: Grant Harter, Mitchell Klassen, Joshua Mcclure, Michael Luedders, Gehad Qaki

ADVISOR: Dr. Scott Miller

Hey there! Our aircraft, known as Balsadyne, is purpose-built for an important mission: to help bring forests back to thriving condition. Over the past 10 years, nearly 100 million hectares of forest have been removed. And while some people do try to make up for it by planting new trees, the typical approach to reforestation is planting only a single tree species, replacing the beautiful biodiversity with non-resilient monoculture. But that’s where Balsadyne comes in! Balsadyne is specifically engineered to deliver a payload known as “seed bombs”: small packages containing a variety of seeds and nutrients that can establish strong, stable woodlands with a healthy dose of biodiversity. To this end, Balsadyne’s design lets it efficiently and swiftly dart through the forest, dropping seed bombs into the precise locations where the seeds are most likely to thrive. When the forest is healthy, it’s not just good for plants and animals living in the surrounding habitat, but also for humans. Our aircraft can better the environment, help counter air pollution, and even help prevent the spread of diseases from animals. So, join us today in saving the forests! Let’s make the world a better place one seed bomb at a time!

Boundary Layer Manipulation on the Pressure Side of a Symmetric Airfoil: An Aerodynamic Investigation

MEMBERS: RJ Kunde, Louisa Angeline, Pengfei Song, Nguyen Nhat Quang Truong, Joshua Mcclure

ADVISOR: Dr. Brandon Buerge

Significant drag reduction was observed in Fall 2022 wind-tunnel testing at the Walter H. Beech Wind Tunnel at Wichita State University when boundary layer trips were applied to the pressure side of a symmetric NACA 0015 airfoil. At a Reynold's number of 136,000 and 4-degree angle of attack, the Lift/Drag ratio (L/D) increased by over 100%, which was unexpected. If the research is reproducible, this drag reduction technique could improve the safety, endurance, and efficiency of many retrofitted aircraft. The project team aims to understand the cause of this phenomenon by reproducing the previous results and obtaining high-quality flow visualization images in real-time. Further, the experiment will vary boundary trip locations along the chord of the airfoil and trip height. A baseline "smooth" airfoil test will be conducted and compared to a boundary layer tripped airfoil in various configurations with trip tape at different positions and heights. Angle of attack accuracy will be improved from 2-degree increments to 0.5, and Reynold's numbers will be tested above and below 136,000 to understand the phenomenon's nature and reproducibility. The study's findings could have significant implications for aircraft safety, endurance, and efficiency by leading to a better understanding of drag reduction.

Characterization of Porous Acoustic Materials Using Impedance Tube 

MEMBER: Sarjan Tiwari

ADVISOR: Dr. Bhisham Sharma

The characterization of porous acoustic materials is essential for developing effective noise suppression systems in aircraft engines. Impedance tube testing is a commonly used method for measuring the acoustic properties of such materials. In order to design a system or model it in Finite Element Analysis (FEA) for analysis, it is necessary to determine the porous materials' characteristic impedance and wave number. This project aims to address this need by measuring the characteristic impedance and wave number of the porous materials based on the transfer matrix method using four microphone setups. Subsequently, using these key parameters, other important acoustical properties such as the sound absorption coefficient and sound transmission loss can be computed over various frequencies.

The Dauntless: Revolutionizing Disaster Relief Efforts with High-Endurance Flight

MEMBERS: Shanthan Garrepelli, Andrew Esch, Yuhui Ma, Alexander De Jesus, Alif Azman

ADVISOR: Dr. Scott Miller

The Halo team has designed and built an RC airplane named “Dauntless” that aims to demonstrate exceptional marketable light delivery vehicle while showcasing the simplicity of design features. The purpose of this design is to focus on public safety, community health, and public well-being of natural disaster affected areas. The Dauntless boasts a high wing configuration allowing maximum lift and stability during flight. The aerodynamic profile of the fuselage has been achieved through trade studies in order to achieve a working design with a low manufacturing time. The Halo team has also implemented a simplistic payload-dropping mechanism to ensure the successful completion of the mission. Dauntless has been optimized through rigorous wind tunnel and ground testing to ensure optimal performance. Dauntless has significant value in terms of its functionality, minimizing the manufacturing time without compromising the quality, and overall contribution to its intended purpose.

Dilated and Constricted Annular Wings

MEMBERS: Peyton B Meink, Pedro Cordeiro Povoa Cupertino, Ricardo Lopez-Correa, Camille Seay 

ADVISOR: Dr. Brandon Buerge

Our project is to investigate the aerodynamic characteristics of annular wings when the duct profile is constricted or dilated. Aerodynamic characteristics are properties of the wing like lift and drag which are non-dimensionalized. An annular wing is defined to be a lifting surface that forms a closed ring structure. Our annular wings have their lifting surface rotated so that the diameter of the leading edge is greater than or smaller than the trailing edge. Our goal is to investigate whether doing this will improve on or hinder the aerodynamic characteristics of the normal annular wing that isn't rotated.

Effects of Humidity On the Aerodynamics of a Baseball

MEMBERS: Zane Berry, Jeremiah Becker, Garrett Tenberge 

ADVISOR: Dr. Brandon Buerge

Using wind tunnel testing, this team is going to determine the effects of humidity in regard to the aerodynamics of a baseball. This project incorporates spin on the baseball which is somewhat novel to this field of study. As humidity increases the seam height lowers on the baseball, this seam height has various effects on the drag, lift, and general movement of the baseball. Generally, this project aims to show the correlation imparted by humidity.

Effect of Varying Centerfold Gap Angles On Delta Wings

MEMBERS: Avery Church, Kiora Joseph, Kenzie Brant, Kazune Tazawa, Taseen Rashid

ADVISOR: Dr. Brandon Buerge

For a set of four delta wing models with centerfold gap angles of zero, thirty, sixty, and ninety degrees, an alpha sweep varying from negative ten to positive thirty degrees is performed for each delta wing to determine what gap angle produces the least drag and the most lift. Flow visualization conducted in the water tunnel provides visuals of flow pulled into the centerfolds.

Equity, Period: Delivering Sanitary Products Worldwide

MEMBERS: Harshita Rathore, Anna Chan, Elise McCoy, Kael O'Neill

ADVISOR: Dr. Scott Miller

Lack of access to period products is something that affects many people across the world and is unfortunately an issue that is often overlooked because of the heavy stigmas surrounding the topic. According to reports by UNICEF and Harvard Medical, period poverty and period inequity (not having access to sanitary period products) can lead to illness, infection, and can even impede participation in daily life, such as not going to school or work due to the fear of being unprepared to deal with the bleeding. Team Wright Sisters wants to work with NGOs to utilize our aircraft in distribution of sanitary period products to remote locations in order to increase access, and by doing so the team hopes to eradicate old myths and make sure that people are able to healthily and confidently contribute to the development and economy of today’s society without fear or stigma. This project is uniquely important to the team because we feel that our diverse backgrounds give us more insight into an issue that is frequently overlooked and seen as insignificant. By using our aircraft and unique perspectives, the team hopes to positively impact the lives of people across the world.

Generalized Competitively Assembled Transporter (GCAT)

MEMBERS: Caleb Hemingway, Luis Bueno, Darren Cooper, Aaron Mason

ADVISOR: Dr. Scott Miller

GCAT is represented by The General and is a generalized, all purpose aircraft with a 36in wingspan, 7.2in chord, and a fuselage length of 27in. The dimensions of the wing were designed by Darren Cooper and is made out of a foam skin and a wooden spar. The foam skin and wooden spar was chosen to be a lightweight but, yet structurally effective design that is easily manufactured and assembled in less than 10 minutes. The 27in cylinder fuselage is made of a durable and a lightweight cardboard material. The fuselage material and design was chosen by Aaron Mason and Luis Bueno to ensure an easy assembly and little to no manufacturing. The team leader, Caleb Hemingway, and structures lead, Aaron Mason, were highly determined on minimizing the assembly time and simplifying the manufacturing process. This was accomplished by using minimal parts, such as reducing the need for stringers or ribs in the fuselage and wing. The horizontal and vertical stabilizers are made of a single piece of balsa and is a simplified version of a flat plate. Project Skyfall offers a unique take on the manufacturing and assembly aspect of design.

Hybrid Laminar Flow Control

MEMBERS: Dane Moorhead, Buckley Bischel, Luke Oliver, Jance Wehkamp

ADVISOR: Dr. Brandon Buerge

Our project is testing the effects of HLFC on low speed airfoils such as the NACA 2412. We are using suction on the leading edge of an airfoil to push the transition region back. This will in turn reduce drag on the airfoil and increase range when applied to an aircraft.

Investigation Into Flying Discs

MEMBERS: Hannah Middleton, Carson Mikkelsen, Ian Miner, Tate Radcliffe

ADVISOR: Dr. Brandon Buerge

This project investigates how different flying disc designs affect aerodynamic performance. The project tests 5 different ratios of the leading edge height to the total disc thickness. We are testing different 3D printed discs in a rotating wind tunnel mount at similar dynamic pressures to a real throw, in order to simulate realistic flight conditions as accurately as possible.

In-Situ Tornado Probe Calibration

MEMBERS: Gabe Kessler, Brooklyn Deforeest, Braden Mcreynolds

ADVISOR: Dr. Brandon Buerge

SPONSOR: Lanny Dean

For our project, we are working with Meteorologist Lanny Dean on calibrating his In-Situ Tornado Probe. To calibrate the probe we will be using the 3' x 4' Wind Tunnel to collect data inside the probe to then turn around and compare it to our theoretical values and better calibrate the probe so Lanny and his crew can get more reliable data in an actual tornado.

A Light, Radio-Controlled Aircraft for Reforestation and Vegetation Recovery

MEMBERS: David Alberto Nevarez-Saenz, Manish Mahajan, Parth Sejpal, Jason Lim, Alejandro Fernandez 

ADVISOR: Dr. Scott Miller

The Seed Bombers present a light, radio-controlled aircraft called the Nimbus Tree Thousand (NTT), whose primary mission is to reliably drop seed bombs in areas devoid of vegetation to help achieve the goal of net zero deforestation. The NTT is an inexpensive and efficient alternative to manual labor, suitable for covering a range of inaccessible terrains or requiring multiple hours performing manual tree plantation. With NTT’s long-lasting endurance, dynamic performance, and maneuverability, we hope to disrupt the RC aircraft industry by introducing a product that will transform current reforestation efforts. Given a broad range of potential customers, including education institutions, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and even young students, NTT shall fulfill the promise of a better and greener future.

NINEVEH - Non-Invasive Education Vehicles

MEMBERS: Megan Drake, Benjamin Griffin, Brycen Schroeder, Jackson Caldwell, Sofia Bahr Konkel 

ADVISOR: Dr. Scott Miller

Consider intellectual breakthroughs in microbiology, vastly improving quality of life, or advancements in travel, now a vital backbone of society. Progress such as this cannot be authored by a single individual - it’s a pursuit that requires an innovator to unite with great minds from the past and entrust their discoveries to future generations. Just how important is this pattern? Maintaining this chain of knowledge has resolved devastating challenges for humanity and will surely lead to further discovery and innovation. Should this pattern be broken, the very fabric of modern society is in jeopardy. Therefore, since natural disasters, pandemics, civil unrest and cyberattacks commonly constrict access to education, it’s vital that innovative approaches be adopted to ensure educational resources to rising generations. HERMES-101 from Project NINEVEH is a practical, precise and sustainable aerial delivery vehicle that provides the prime solution to ensuring the future of education. The practicality of HERMES-101 is reflected in the simple assembly which takes around 30 minutes, enabling on-time and even early deliveries. The precision of the vehicle is demonstrated by the payload delivery tolerance being within two feet of a specified location, allowing educational resources to reach very remote locations, mitigate disease communication, and eliminate perils associated with travel. Finally, with a zero-emissions engine and over 50% of the vehicle structure made from recycled cardboard, the HERMES-101 oozes sustainability. The decision to safeguard education resides with those to which this gift was given. Choose the HERMES-101 and ensure a bright future for the rising generation.

Operation Firefly

MEMBERS: Alexander DeWerff, Gabe Kimuri, Logan Mauch, Amanda Mudra, Trent Oberlander

ADVISOR: Dr. Scott Miller

In 2020, the world was set on fire. Modern practices allow humanity to prevent and extinguish wildfires more effectively than ever before. However, our forests are now overprotected with their natural cycles disrupted. The wildfires of 2020 feasted on unchecked undergrowth, dead trees and limbs, and detritus normally cleared in naturally occurring fires – leaving chaos and destruction in their wake. Recognizing the need for affordable, safely executed, and controlled burns, FREDDY was born. The Forest Rescue and Environment Development Drone (Yabba-Dabba-Doo!) can be deployed to heal our forests while keeping our rangers safely away from danger. In the U.S., humans alone cause 85% of out-of-control fires, ALL of which are preventable. FREDDY prevents fires before they happen, leaving YOU with a healthier, stronger planet.

The Phoenix: Light Payload Deployment Aircraft for Combating Wildfires

MEMBERS: Esmeralda Sanchez-Torres, Henry Hartjes, Joe Sittenauer, Jacob Wang

ADVISOR: Dr. Scott Miller

Wildfires are a manmade and natural phenomenon that have lasting effects and are on the rise due to Climate Change. Wildfires can have both beneficial and detrimental effects such as revitalized ecosystems and loss of life. Around the globe, they burn around 1.5 million square miles and are responsible for billions of dollars in damage each year. To decrease the negative consequences of wildfires, they must be controlled. Current prevention methods are ‘fuel reduction’ burning and ‘backburning’ and are both heavily reliant on manpower on the ground. Backburning is an emergency action in the event of a current wildfire. Our aircraft are designed to drop a payload into an active wildfire fighting scenario to light the fuel between the threat and a control line to assist with backburning. This mission will promote community health, public safety, and well-being by providing a more economic offense to wildfires. We aim to reduce the risk to firefighters, the communities affected by fires, and the economic cost due to wildfires.


MEMBERS: Nathan Kulhanek, Nathaniel Richardson, Kayla Wyrick, Samuel Lindow, Nathan Wahlstedt

ADVISOR: Dr. Scott Miller

In the hours and days following a natural disaster, effective communication is necessary to prevent panic and institute an orderly response between those affected and relief groups. The Rapid Emergency Vehicle for the Aerial Deployment of Aid (R.E.V.A.D.A) has been developed to help provide this life saving support. This aircraft’s components can be shipped out alongside response groups and assembled rapidly onsite. Once assembled, response workers can use them to distribute small radios to isolated survivors and other response groups, and drop small radio repeaters to expand range of communication. This would allow for a more effective and coordinated organization of response efforts.

Rocket Aided Collection of Atmospheric Data

MEMBERS: John Muhl, Pierce White, Peter Machani, Christopher Bush II

ADVISOR: Dr. Scott Miller

Rocket Aided Collection of Atmospheric Data, or RACAD, is designed to provide quick and efficient collection of data. Its primary objective is to aid the meteorological community, and overall weather community, collect atmospheric data. The rocket can reach a minimum altitude of 300 feet and can be equipped with various types of sensors to meet customer requirements. A small port on the nose cone, and other additional entry ports (per customer needs), make RACAD the perfect rocket for cost effective atmospheric science. Furthermore, RACAD is highly reusable due to a deployable recovery system that ensures safe landings.

Rocket Rolleron Performance Anaylsis

MEMBERS: Dylan Stephens, Kyle Easley, Riley Prater, Zach Swiam

ADVISOR: Dr. Brandon Buerge

This project experimentally investigates the size of rolleron needed for application as passive roll stabilization in high power rocketry. This system will be tested up to .13M in a low-speed wind tunnel as well as up to .8M in a test flight at the Tripoli launch site in Argonia called "The Rocket Pasture"

Roll Stability of an F-15 Eagle with Partial Wing Loss

MEMBERS: Cameron Holston, William Shropshire, Fischer Simoncic, Justin Nichols, Alex Sterzing

ADVISOR: Dr. Brandon Buerge

The objective of this investigation is to achieve and maintain stable flight on a damaged aircraft. To achieve this goal, wind tunnel tests were conducted on a 3/50 scale F-15 model in the Walter H. Beech Wind Tunnel. In an attempt to find a rolling moment of zero with segments of the right wing missing, the control surfaces including the left wing aileron, the rudders, and the stabilators were deflected at half and full deflection angles. Results directly correlate to angle of attack and percent span of wing loss. The data collected shows that the rolling moment can be resolved with zero to thirty percent wing loss as well as showing a trend towards an angle of attack at which the rolling moment remains zero regardless of wing loss.