The Aerospace Engineering Department has enjoyed the generous support
of the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Foundation during the
last decade. We have a relatively new building (with approximately
100,000 square feet of space) that was completed in 1993, with funding
of $5 million from the Foundation combined with an additional $9
million from the state of Michigan and other donors. At the same
time the Foundation endowed four FXB Fellowships that support doctoral
students for a five-year period at the level of $35,000/per year/per
student. Subsequently, in 1997, the Foundation has endowed the FXB
Chair, with an endowment of $ 1.2 million, and also provided an
additional $300,000 for the establishment of a related center. The
purpose of the Chair was to allow the Department to recruit an outstanding
individual in the rotary-wing area and thus facilitate the development
of a strong rotary-wing program in the Aerospace Engineering Department
(commemorating François-Xavier Bagnoud, who died in a helicopter
accident). Professor P. Friedmann was recruited for the Chair position
and he joined the Aerospace Engineering Department in January 1999.
The FXB Center for Rotary and Fixed Wing Air Vehicle Design (FXB-CRFWAD)
was established in June 1999, with Professor Friedmann as its Director.
In March 2001 the FXB Foundation increased its support to the center
by an additional annual commitment of funds that together with the
income from the endowment can be used to attract research funding
from government agencies and the aerospace industry.
The Center focuses on innovative research on topics
that represent barrier issues in rotary and fixed wing air vehicle
design, combined with providing a first rate education in these fields.
It also serves as a depository of design tools required for providing
undergraduate and graduate students with an ideal environment in which
modern multidisciplinary design can be taught and practiced. The Center
educates engineers with a systems vision capable of interfacing with
the multidisciplinary requirements of advanced aerospace vehicles.
This is closely integrated with its research mission that is to lead
in the development of advanced concepts for future aircraft systems.
It focuses on multidisciplinary issues that play key roles in the
design of manned and unmanned air vehicles. Currently, the areas being
emphasized are interactions between computational aeroelasticity and
aerodynamics, controls, flight mechanics, active materials, and composite
structures. For the rotorcraft activities, the focus is on the development
of vehicles with low vibrations and noise levels, good damage tolerance
characteristics, low weight and low cost. For fixed wing vehicles
the current emphasis is hypersonic vehicles and high performance UAV’s.
These are reflected on several sponsored research programs that involves
several funding agencies (ARO/ARL, AFOSR/AFRL, NASA, and DARPA)