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.

2024 Projects

The Pollutant Purger Multi-Engine Cargo Plane 

MEMBERS: Jeremiah Amaya; Jeremiah Becker; Zane Berry; Braden Mcreynolds, Garrett Tenberge 

ADVISOR: Dr. Kelly Laflin 


We, the Pollutant Purgers, have designed an airplane which will be capable of carrying two liquid tanks containing biodegradable pods that can drop their contents over bodies of water to deploy decontamination fluids with ease to aid in the effort of cleaning polluted bodies of water.

The effects of varying wing tip geometries on oblique wings

MEMBERS: Luke Cotter; Diego Fuentealba; Aiden Holt; Lanie Mott

ADVISOR: Dr. Vijay Matheswaran

Supersonic flight has long been a storied issue in aerospace engineering, inspiring a wide variety of solutions from engineers. For aircraft that require desirable low-speed characteristics, as well as good supersonic performance, the most widely adopted solution has been aftward-sweeping variable geometry wings. Despite their numerous advantages, they also yield disadvantages, like shifts in the center of pressure and increased structural complexity. Oblique Wings aims to solve those disadvantages. By sweeping one wing forward and the other wing aft, the shift in the center of pressure becomes negligible, and structural complexity is greatly reduced. However, they come with their own disadvantages as well, the biggest being the aerodynamic coupling of rolling and pitching. Additionally, engineers have sought to increase the efficiency of conventional wings by adding aerodynamically advantageous wing tip geometry. This project aims to combine the oblique wing concept with various symmetric and asymmetric wing tip geometries to determine if improved aerodynamic efficiency and a decreased coupling in rolling and pitching can be achieved. This is done by constructing a model and placing it in the 3x4 wind tunnel at low speeds.

Revolutionizing Water Health: WuShock & Awe’s Shake and Lake Aircraft

MEMBERS: RJ Kunde, Nick Rodriguez, Logan Cox, Nathan Jenkins, Evan Weaver

ADVISOR: Dr. Kelly Laflin and Dr. Vijay Matheswaran


In an innovative response to the global challenge of Blue/Green Algae Blooms, Team 5, known as "WuShock and Awe" from the AE628 Senior Design II course, introduces the Shake and Lake Aircraft. This advanced solution is designed to combat harmful algae in water bodies while promoting fish repopulation, crucial for ecosystem balance.

Equipped with a dual-tank system, the Shake and Lake Aircraft strategically applies an environmentally safe algaecide across affected lakes, efficiently controlling algae without harming aquatic life. Concurrently, the second tank is utilized to release native fish species, aiding in repopulating these vital communities. This approach not only addresses the immediate threat posed by algae blooms but also contributes to the long-term health of aquatic ecosystems.

The prevalence of Blue/Green Algae Blooms worldwide, and notably in Kansas, poses significant ecological, economic, and social challenges. These blooms degrade wildlife habitats, diminish property values, and restrict recreational water use, underscoring the urgent need for effective solutions.

By leveraging the Shake and Lake Aircraft, WuShock and Awe aims to provide a sustainable answer to this pressing issue, blending engineering innovation with ecological preservation. Our initiative represents a critical step forward in restoring water bodies to their natural state, ensuring the enjoyment and safety of natural resources for generations to come.


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

ADVISOR: Dr Kelly Laflin, Dr Vijay Matheswaran


This team's aircraft will play a pivotal role in addressing the critical issue of clean water access, particularly in regions affected by various challenges such as water pollution, excessive water consumption, climate change, water resource mismanagement, and poverty (, In the United States alone, approximately 2 million people continue to face the daunting reality of lacking access to clean and safe water sources, according to Agencies like the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the American Red Cross would greatly benefit from this airplane and be able to quickly deliver clean water to those in need.

Our scale model aircraft is purposefully designed to fulfill a noble mission: to deliver clean water to those who need it most. This commitment extends to underserved communities across the nation, focusing on inland regions that have long been overlooked. What sets our aircraft apart is its remarkable adaptability. Its small and agile nature equips it to reach even the most remote and challenging areas, ensuring that no one is left behind in our quest to provide clean water.

We strive to make a profound impact on the lives of those affected by water scarcity, demonstrating that innovation and compassion can bring about positive change–one drop of clean water at a time.


A Study on the Feasibility and Performance of Toroidal Propellers for Aeronautics

MEMBERS: Julia Buie; Hunter Robertson; Zachary Oakley

ADVISOR:  Dr. Vijay Matheswaran

The Wichita State University 3' x 4' wind tunnel is used to measure the thrust and power coefficients of toroidal propellers compared to traditional propellers. It is discussed whether toroidal propellers provide a significant advantage over their traditional counterparts. Although, toroidal propellers are proven to reduce noise, producing comparable noise pollution levels at a distance half that of the traditional propeller, accurate and complete testing on their thrust characteristics is not yet published. Completing the data for these propellers is critical to determine feasibility in commercial use. Knowing that toroidal propellers have a larger volume it is understood they will also have greater mass. If the change in thrust is insufficient to overcome the change in mass, the toroidal propeller will not be a viable solution to this noise problem in many applications. A total of 4 8-inch diameter propellers are tested under low-speed flight conditions, two toroidal and two traditional propellers. Important plots of thrust coefficient vs. advance ratio as well as power coefficient vs. advance ratio are created to assist in future scaling of these small-scale propellers. Additionally, data comparing the thrust-to-weight ratio of each propeller type is acquired to fully understand the characteristics of toroidal propellers.​

SIFTER: Unmanned Liquid Spray Aircraft

MEMBER: Dylan Stephens; Pengfei Song; Luke Oliver; Ricardo Lopez-Correa

ADVISOR: Dr. Kelly Laflin


This small-scale demonstrator aircraft is a multi-purpose, lightweight, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed to transfer and spray various liquids such as water, pesticides, and liquid medicine, to maintain farmland, fight forest fires, and provide aid to areas of natural disaster.

The UAV is a low-cost electric-powered zero emission vehicle with low empty weight, short takeoff distance, and precise handling qualities that allow the pilot safe and stable control of the aircraft. These characteristics allow the aircraft to operate in regions affected by natural disasters where water or liquid medicine is needed by those affected.

The UAV’s greater maneuverability and low-level flying capability allows it to spray chemicals such as liquid fire retardants and pesticide lower to the ground, thus preventing it from diffusing to surrounding regions.

Using liquid fire retardants on this UAV to control forest fires helps preserve wildlife in harder-to-reach places. This better protects the health and safety of the firefighters, residents, and regions affected. 

Spraying pesticides closer to the farmland will help keep crops safe and clean for the public. It will also keep the surrounding farmlands from unwanted overspray and contamination. 

Due to the low manufacturing and maintenance cost, every fire department and farmer can own and operate this UAV.  The design of this aircraft allows it to achieve a cheaper, more efficient allocation of resources such as labor and capital and thus boosts the economy's productivity.

Analysis of Basswood Sheet Specimens Under Varied Grain Direction Angles Using Tsai-Wu Criterion

MEMBERS: Kazune Tazawa; Aiden Holt

ADVISOR: Dr. Suresh Keshavanarayana

Wood sheets are fundamental materials in engineering applications, and their mechanical properties are influenced by the grain direction angle. In this study, basswood sheet specimens were tested at grain direction angles of 0°, 10°, 30°, 45°, and 90° to the loading direction.

The Tsai-Wu criterion, a widely adopted method for predicting composite material failure, was employed to analyze the mechanical behavior of the specimens. This criterion incorporates tensile and compressive strengths along different material directions.

By fitting experimental data to the Tsai-Wu model, the relationship between grain direction angle and mechanical properties was investigated. The aim was to gain insights into how wood sheets respond to varying loading conditions and fiber orientations. During experimental testing, an interesting observation was discovered that off-axis testing at 30° and 45° produces a negative Poisson’s ratio.

The study contributes to understanding the mechanics of wood-based materials, offering a basis for optimizing their performance in engineering applications. Future research can build upon these findings to design wood structures resilient to diverse mechanical stresses.

CAREbus: The Medical Tanker

MEMBERS: Brooklyn DeForeest; Hannah Middleton; Carson Mikkelsen; Ian Miner

ADVISOR: Dr. Kelly Laflin


CAREbus is a small, lightweight, tanker aircraft with the purpose of transporting vital fluids such as blood and plasma in an emergency. The fluid is contained within two tanks, each capable of holding up to 20 fluid ounces (totaling 2.5 pounds of liquid) that can easily be loaded and unloaded on the aircraft. The aircraft is loaded with vital fluids at a base station (such as a hospital or medical tent) and uses its short takeoff capabilities to transport the vital fluids. The aircraft delivers the fluids to someone with restricted access to healthcare. This could be someone who is immobilized in a combat environment, someone who is trapped due to hurricane flooding, or even another base station that is out of resources. Once CAREbus reaches its destination, the fluid containers can be quickly unloaded, and CAREbus will take off to assist the next person in need. CAREbus is able to assist in many different emergency situations, and its design characteristics make it highly effective in transporting vital fluids in an emergency environment.

Heavy Lift and High Endurance Liquid Cargo Aircraft

MEMBERS:  Joseph Anglin; Andrew Noone; Dane Moorhead; Gabriel Kessler; Alex Schaefer

ADVISOR: Vijay Matheswaran; Kelly Laflin


Operation Breadbasket is a project aimed at providing humanitarian aid using small, heavy lifting, Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAVs) to deliver essential provisions to civilian communities unreachable by traditional means - isolated by conflict or disaster. This cargo would consist of fluids like water and gasoline or “pseudo-liquids” like flour and grain. Our UAVs can lift substantial loads and long distances while remaining maneuverable enough to make sharp course corrections. This heavy lift capability is derived from its biplane planform and exotic high-lift airfoils. These technologies increase payload, lower induced drag, and make the vehicle exceptionally stable. Our quad-aileron layout enables superior roll and pitch stability – enabling control in the harshest conditions.

These UAVs are indispensable when geopolitical tensions remain at an all-time high and resources are stretched thin. The last few years have seen two large conflicts - Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Israel-Palestine conflict have been long-lasting and devastating to civilian sectors. In many cases, humanitarian aid is restricted due to political or infrastructural damage.

Our plane can help alleviate war casualties, but it can also operate domestic missions. The UAV can export grain or liquid products out of areas that have damaged infrastructure to maintain economic prosperity for affected regions during catastrophes. Alternatively, if filled with liquid pesticide/fertilizer it can even carry out small scale crop dusting. The world is unforgiving and treacherous, but Operation Breadbasket is part of the solution.

STRATUS-1: Making Rain For All

MEMBERS: William Shropshire; Fischer Simoncic; Justin Nichols, Buckley Bischel; Cameron Holston

ADVISOR: Dr. Laflin; Dr. Matheswaran


The Western United States has been experiencing severe droughts for decades, but there is a solution: cloud seeding. By spraying liquid propane into the atmosphere, rainfall from clouds is accelerated and slightly increased. This phenomenon is through a process called ice nucleation. Liquid propane is sprayed into certain types of clouds and expands into a gas helping the water vapor in the cloud condense, therefore causing it to precipitate more than it usually would, more quickly.

 In today’s world, water is a hot commodity, especially in the West. Imagine farmers being able to get the necessary rainfall for their crops. They could use cloud seeding to prevent or mitigate the effects of severe weather. By cloud seeding, hail and intense rain can be prevented by turning it into light rain spread out over a couple hours. Due to these benefits, the food production of the U.S. would increase.

Using our plane, cloud seeding can be better than ever. Currently, silver iodide is a common cloud-seeding chemical. However, it has its disadvantages. Silver iodide is not always effective. Propane can produce a large amount of seeded ice crystals when compared to silver iodide. Additionally, it can be used at a wider range of temperatures than silver iodide can. This means a full-scale version of our plane can fly around, seeding more clouds midflight than other planes currently in the market. A more bountiful and safer future is ahead of us with the use of this plane.

Evacuation Vehicle for Aquatic Creatures

MEMBERS:Tate Radcliffe; Anthony Cilleti; Peyton Meink; Camille Seay; Zachary Swaim

ADVISOR: Dr. Vijay Matheswaran


Oceanic species face threats like climate change, overfishing, and shipping disrupting their habitats. These factors lead to population declines and habitat loss. Climate change reduces food supply and acidifies oceans. Overfishing persists near coastlines, depleting fish and shark populations. Shipping interferes with whale and dolphin activities, especially near busy lanes and ports. Pollution further endangers species, especially smaller fish crucial to marine diets.

These threats destabilize ocean ecosystems, endanger food supplies, and erode coastlines. They also disrupt barrier reefs and lead to the proliferation of unwanted species. Urgent reintroduction of endangered species is needed in many areas. Aquariums require rapid transportation for ailing residents. In regions lacking infrastructure, traditional shipping methods may not be feasible.

Our aircraft is designed for marine life transportation, with dual seawater or freshwater tanks for multiple species. Rapid loading and unloading take less than sixty seconds. Short takeoff and landing capabilities enable access to coastal runways. Charter options are available for occasional users. Our aircraft provides an efficient solution for marine life transport across oceans and underdeveloped regions.

SkyHaul Logistics: Elevating Liquid Transport

MEMBERS: Nguyen Nhat Quang Truong; Kamden Basinger; Taseen Rashid: Kishenthiraa Kumar; Minh Tam Nguyen

ADVISOR: Dr. Kelly Laflin


SkyHaul Logistics introduces a high-wing aircraft design, innovatively tailored for the secure and efficient transport of high-value liquids and cargoes, a critical need in today's complex global trade scenario. This model, a precursor to a full-scale aircraft, boasts improved aerodynamics and fuel efficiency due to its high-wing structure, making it highly suitable for a variety of cargoes, including sensitive materials. Its design simplifies loading and unloading processes and addresses key challenges such as strategic fuel tank placement and robust landing gear for heavy loads. Beyond its commercial utility, the aircraft is designed for humanitarian missions, capable of swiftly delivering emergency supplies to disaster-affected areas and aiding in firefighting efforts in remote regions. This versatility makes it an invaluable asset in both logistical efficiency and emergency response scenarios. SkyHaul Logistics' aircraft represents a significant advancement in aviation technology, bridging the gap between advanced engineering and practical application. Its introduction promises to enhance logistical operations and contribute significantly to humanitarian efforts, marking a step forward in meeting both economic and social needs in an interconnected world.

Diagonal Tension Analysis of a Cantilever Beam with Thin Webs

MEMBERS: Akshitha Nallamala

ADVISOR: Dr. Suresh Keshavanarayana

Diagonal tension beams are widely used in aircraft wing structures due to the emphasis on weight reduction. This study investigates the utilization of thin webs in beams, where diagonal tension redistributes shear loads after web buckling. The project involves constructing a cantilever beam with thin flat webs, top and bottom flanges, and stiffeners. The primary objective is to explore factors impacting diagonal tension analysis, such as the direction of web tension fields post-buckling and the diagonal tension factor. Strain and displacement fields are measured using ARAMIS, capturing images to compare results with hand calculations of diagonal tension. By scrutinizing these factors, the research aims to enhance the understanding of diagonal tension effects in lightweight aerospace structures.

BDPH-20 Aeromist: Soaring Solutions for Global Pollution

MEMBERS: Dakota McLaughlin; Benjamin Erwin; Louisa Angeline; Alexander Sterzing; Nathan Adler

ADVISOR: Dr. Suresh Keshavanarayana


The goal of the 2024 Bronze Propeller competition is to successfully build a small, efficient, heavy lift-tanker airplane that can carry up to 2 lbs. distributed between two Gatorade-sized bottles. It must fly for a minimum of two minutes with the capability to perform a figure-eight maneuver. To meet these requirements, Team FUELBOSS aims to create an aircraft capable of transporting tanks which mist fine water particles to trap particulate matter (PM) emitted mostly by combustion of fossil fuels and wood. The aircraft will primarily combat ambient air pollution which, according to WHO, is the leading environmental risk to health-related complications and fatalities worldwide. As of 2019, 99% of the world’s population resides in areas where minimum air quality standards were not met. Our beloved Wichita had a major air quality issue in early September 2023 where the air quality index surged to above 150 (healthy AQI is between 0 – 50). This ongoing global crisis has caused 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide. The BDPH-20 Aeromist aircraft supports international efforts and non-profit health organizations assisting developing countries which tend to have higher concentrations of PM2.5 because of industrialization and urbanization. The aircraft will have more range, speed, and versatility than traditional distribution methods which allows it to reach hard to access areas. This helps communities have an increased standard of living and lowers the future impact of respiratory problems. Team FUELBOSS will revolutionize the distribution of PM2.5 with the BDPH-20 Aeromist to combat the global threat to humanity that is pollution.


High Power Rocket with Augmented Stability System

MEMBERS: Riley Prater; Kyle Easley; Jace Francis; Jay Thompson

ADVISOR: Dr. Steve Klausmeyer


This project presents a high-power rocket for entry in the 2024 Spaceport America Cup Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition, aiming to deliver an 8.8lb 3U CubeSat form factor payload to an altitude of 10,000 feet. The launch vehicle features student research and developed (SRAD) technologies such as a canard-based augmented stability and active drag control system, modular payload bay, live telemetry system with a ground station, recovery deployment electronics, and a modular fin can for rapid swapping of fin and motor configurations. Included in the engineering and analysis process was the development of an LQR-based optimal control system and Kalman filter, composite material testing to validate structural integrity, dynamic loading and stress analysis, empirical RF link budget evaluation, wind tunnel testing, development of flight simulation programs, and a focus on designing for manufacturability.

AFTER - Adaptive Flap Trailing Edge Rotor

MEMBERS: Jordan Glover; Matthew Lawson; Laura Santos 

ADVISOR: Dr. Vijay Matheswaran

The compelling necessity for development of rotor blade aerodynamics and acoustics optimization are fundamental research areas. Adaptive wings promising outlook over the last decade translates into highly competitive demand for further research  to evolve technology readiness.  An emerging prospect for autonomous camber adjustment for rotors is explored, whereby an increase in rotor blade camber (~5-10°) is achieved through the integration of an Adaptive Flap Trailing Edge Rotor (AFTER). This simple 3D printed flexible flap is to be installed on the outboard section of the blade at 40% chord, 33% span. By undergoing a series of wind tunnel tests, a modified rotor will be juxtaposed with an unmodified model for a range of dynamic pressures at various RPM-forward flight condition. The objective of this study is to understand the role of passive camber change in load alleviation, aerodynamic performance, and flap angles.

The Efficiency of Apogee All Flexible Twin Keel Parawing for Vehicle Recovery

MEMBERS: Mason Hensley; Caleb Perkins; Zephan Rodriguez; Peter Stuhlsatz

ADVISOR: Dr. Vijay Matheswaran


The purpose of this project is to test an all-flexible twin-keel parawing used in model rockets that is currently experimental and compare its efficiency to that of a circular parachute. This controllable lifting decelerator is based on the design of the twin-keel Rogallo parawing designed by NASA for the Gemini and Mercury missions. Through research and experimentation, we tested the parawing in a 3’x4’ low-speed wind tunnel test, an outdoor drop test, and a rocket launch to test its efficiency. In the 3’x4’ low-speed wind tunnel, we gathered the different drag coefficients, lift coefficients, and resultant coefficients of this parawing by changing the shroud line lengths to change the angle of the attack. The wind tunnel data will determine the parawing’s best gliding ratio, corresponding to the best angle of attack. Then, we tested the parawing in an outside drop test to confirm if the determined angle of attack corresponds to the best gliding ratio. The team then used rocket launches to test the efficiency of the parawing compared to the results of a circular parachute to determine if it was worth switching to the gliding parawing design.

Optimum Configuration of Secondary Front Wing Elements on a Formula SAE Car

MEMBERS:  Connor O’Neill; Nicholas Janzen; Brody Hendrich

ADVISOR: Vijay Matheswaran


Formula SAE is a colligate competition where teams design and manufacture a Formula-style racecar. Every surface on the car affects the large aerodynamic forces that act on the car. The front wing of the car is the first part of the car that air comes into contact with and is responsible for generating up to 30% of downforce. Secondary elements can be added to the front wing to further improve its performance. Airfoil selection and angle of attack

play an important role in the design choices for the secondary elements. Different types of competitions will favor different orientations of secondary elements. The 3’x4’ wind tunnel will be used to test a half-scale model of the front wing at various configurations. The results from the wind tunnel tests are refined and will be available for teams to utilize.

An Investigation of Oblique Wing Airfoils

MEMBERS: Oscar Fernandez-Esquivel; Jacob Mohlman; Christopher Montford

ADVISOR: Vijay Matheswaran

Oblique wings are a unique idea in aircraft design where the wing is rotated about a pivot point to produce sweep. This concept promises the performance advantages of swept wings (high lift-to-drag ratio at low speeds and less drag at high speeds) while further reducing wave drag, leading to efficient flying in all speed regimes.  Oblique wings were first proposed in the 1940’s and the design was used on the NASA AD-1, an experimental plane which performed 79 flights from 1979 to 1982. Since then, however, no person has flown in an oblique-winged aircraft. Stability and control is a major challenge with this peculiar design. The AD-1 faced problems with cross-coupling of the pitching and rolling moments, as well as different behavior when rolling left than when rolling right. These effects were most noticeable at high sweep angles. The goal of our study is to investigate the effects of airfoil choice on the stability of an oblique-winged aircraft through wind tunnel testing.

 The Effect of Raster Angle on Aerodynamic Loads

MEMBERS: Treyton Blecke; Laura Nobles; Kayla Wyrick

ADVISOR: Vijay Matheswaran

The project chosen aims to study how the raster angle of a 3D printed airfoil will affect its aerodynamic properties. This will involve measuring how different raster angles change the lift, drag, and pitching moment of a specific airfoil. The initial plan is to build three models of a similar airfoil printed at 0, 45, and 90-degree raster angles. The raster angle can have massive effects on the elasticity, compressive strength, and tensile strength of the model. A consensus from previous studies is that surface roughness increases when the measurement is taken at a 90° angle and decreases when it is taken at a 0° angle. Research focused on surface roughness was chosen for this project because of society's current and future need for advancement in technology such as metal printing. Metal printing is applied in the aircraft industry via propellers, prototyping, and electronic equipment. Based on research provided, it is most beneficial to test these models in the 3x4wind tunnel. Further research was completed regarding aspects that contribute to the success of the 3D-printed model including raster angle, airfoil measurements, material chosen, and surface roughness that may have high priority when interested in lift, drag, and stability results of the model.

Effects of Leading-Edge Chordwise Modifications on Aerodynamic Performance

MEMBERS:  Lucas Baker; Tracey Hill; Nathaniel Scarrow; Zach Silvis

ADVISOR: Vijay Matheswaran

Chordwise leading-edge extensions, also known as dogtooth extensions, are vortex generators that are used on military and other low speed aircraft.  The dogtooth extension is placed near the tip of the wing to increase the effect of the vortex over the ailerons.  The vortex generated adds kinetic energy to the follow, delaying flow separation and therefore stall of the aircraft.  The effect is most pronounced at low speeds and high angles of attack.  A wind tunnel analysis of a swept tapered wing will be performed for a wing without a dogtooth extension (a “baseline” or “control” wing), a wing with a dogtooth extension, and a wing with a dogtooth retraction (a chordwise leading-edge retraction) to determine the coefficient of lift, drag, and pitching moment curves.  The data will be collected for a wide range of angles of attack at two speeds.  Flow visualization will be assessed on smaller models in the water tunnel at slow speeds to view the vortices generated by the extensions and retractions.

Underbody Exhaust Diffuser

MEMBERS: Kubeshavarsha Kalithasan; Caleb McDaniel; Marion Jackson

ADVISOR: Vijay Matheswaran

This research project explores the impact of varying underbody exhaust diffuser angles on downforce generation. The team will attach four different diffuser angle configurations to the underbody of a scaled-down race car model, to assess the variations in lift and drag. The Wichita State University's 3' x 4' wind tunnel, known for its adaptable testing setup, will be the venue for this experiment. The objective is to maximize downward lift production, while avoiding a significant increase in drag production. The results of this research will provide insights into the sophisticated field of racecar aerodynamics, much of which remains concealed due to the proprietary nature of the highly competitive world of automotive racing.