Derek Schmitz of Jefferson City, Mo., a graduate student in mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla, received the first place award in the Graduate Technical Paper category and $500 at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Region Five Student Conference, held April 28-30 in Minneapolis, Minn.
Schmitz presented a paper, authored by himself and Vijay Janardhan of Chennai, India, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering at UMR. Titled "Implementation of Nonlinear Reconfigurable Controllers for Autonomous Unmanned Vehicles," the paper discusses their research group’s current plan to implement three autonomous controllers in a scale model of a Cessna 150. Under the direction of Dr. S. N. Balakrishnan, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UMR, Schmitz and Janardhan have been working on the project with Sergio Esteban of Rolla, Mo., a 2002 UMR aerospace and mechanical engineering graduate.
"The purpose of the project is to provide a platform to implement the nonlinear aircraft control concepts developed in the research group," Schmitz says.
More than 30 students and faculty advisors from Iowa State University, UMR, the U.S. Air Force Academy, University of Colorado-Boulder, Wichita State University, and the University of North Dakota attended the conference.
"The six presentations given by UMR aerospace engineering students were all excellent and were well attended," says Dr. Fathi Finaish, professor and associate chair of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UMR. "They did an excellent job representing the aerospace engineering program, the department and UMR."