• MIT Professor Mark Drela designed Daedalus, shown here, a lightweight aircraft that set the world distance record for human-powered flight.

    Photo courtesy / NASA

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Drela elected fellow of AIAA for aircraft design

Mark Drela, the Terry J. Kohler Professor of Fluid Dynamics in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, has been elected a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

Drela was recognized for his "unique sustained contributions to a broad range of path-breaking aircraft designs (human powered and otherwise) and for development of widely used aircraft design software," according to the AIAA citation.

In 1988, Daedalus, a lightweight aircraft designed by Drela, set the world distance record for human-powered flight by traveling 72.4 miles from Crete to the Greek island of Santorini.

Jack Kerrebrock, professor emeritus of aeronautics and astronautics, noted in recommending Drela to the AIAA, his projects have the "beauty that stems from perfect functionality. The aerodynamic design tools that he developed have set a new standard of accuracy and usefulness for the aeronautical industry."

The distinction of fellow is bestowed by the AIAA and its board of directors on members who "have made notable and valuable contributions to the arts, sciences or technology thereof in aeronautics or astronautics."

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 10, 2007 (download PDF).

Topics: Aeronautical and astronautical engineering, Awards, honors and fellowships, Faculty


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