AE Alumni Award Winners
Abdollah Khodadoust and Jeffrey W. Fisher are winners of the AE at Illinois 2012 Distinguished Alumnus Awards, and Kazuhiro Horie and Samuel A. Schweighart are winners of the 2012 Outstanding Recent Alumnus Awards.
The alumni were recognized during the AE Awards Banquet April 26.
Khodadoust, PhD 93, has filled various leadership positions at the Boeing Company for over 10 years, and currently is Aerodynamics Group Leader in Boeing’s Research & Technology Division (BR&T), in Huntington Beach, California. He leads a team of 50 scientists and engineers in Boeing's Research & Technology organization, with a strong focus on aerodynamic improvements and breakthroughs for concepts ranging from subsonic fixed wing and rotary wing, to hypersonic flight regimes.
Khodadoust is also the Boeing Program Manager for SMAAART – Structures, Materials, Aerodynamics, Aerothermodynamics and Acoustics Research and Technology – for aerospace applications. In that capacity he is responsible for oversight of R&D in the SMAAART flight technologies, with emphasis in developing foundational technologies, as well as assessment of advanced systems that emerge for combination of such technologies on aerospace platforms. This 5-year NASA program is a key vehicle for technology development and maturation with NASA in areas of Fundamental Aeronautics, Integrated Systems, Air Traffic Management, Aviation Safety and Space Exploration technologies.
Khodadoust is the Business Leader for Boeing’s Flight Sciences Technologies Contractual activities with entities outside of the Boeing Company. He is responsible for development of relationships with external customers such as the Department of Defense (DOD), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and academia.
Khodadoust is active in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and is an Associate Fellow. Among his other honors are:
- Boeing Associate Technical Fellow (2004).
- NASA Awards for outstanding technical contributions, leading to the safe flight of space shuttles during STS-102 (September 2001) and STS-98 (May 2001).
- Certificate of Recognition from Boeing Phantom Works President for the B717-200 aircraft certification effort (1999).
- Recipient of Roger A. Strehlow Memorial Award, given annually to a graduate student for outstanding research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (1993)
Khodadoust had earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from The Ohio State University in 1984 and 1987, respectively.
A Lockheed Martin Fellow, Fisher, BS 83, is technical leader for the company’s world-class spacecraft pointing control organization in Sunnyvale, California. He is Principal Investigator for IRAD efforts in vibration control, active sensing, and advanced CMG steering laws, and manages the subcontractor development of Firecracker CMG & GeoEye-2 Momentum Control Assembly.
Past responsibilities for Lockheed included work in the Scan Drive Subsystem, Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder; the Space-Based Infrared System; the IRIDIUM Bus and MILSTAR satellite programs; and training and university relations positions.
In addition to his work for Lockheed, Fisher also serves as a private engineering consultant on motion control and robotic systems, primarily for semiconductor manufacturing and biotech firms.
A member of the AE Alumni Advisory Board, Fisher also
- Is an AIAA Associate Fellow
- Is a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and is on that organization’s Control Systems Society and Consultants Network of Silicon Valley
- Is a member of the American Astronomical Society
- Is a member of the American Society of Precision Engineering
- Is an Advisor to the Iowa State University Asteroid Deflection Research Center.
Fisher earned a master’s and a PhD in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University in 1984 and 1992, respectively.
Horie, MS 98, PhD 02, has worked the past 13 years for the Japanese Ministry of Defense’s Technical Research & Development Institute.
He began his career there in 1999 as a senior research scientist in the Flight Mechanics and Flight Control section, and soon was put on the XF-2 fighter project, the first fighter that Japan and the United States developed together. He also worked as a senior research scientist in the Aircraft Systems Research Section.
In 2002 Horie became the Director of the Research & Development Planning Division of the Bureau of Finance and Equipment, where he was responsible for research and development policy and program monitoring of aircraft, submarine, tank, missile defense and other programs. In 2005, Horie was made Deputy Project Manager for the Air Systems Development Department’s P-X & C-X Development Office, making him “chief-of-staff” for developing Japanese maritime patrol aircraft and cargo aircraft. The office’s mission was to develop two large military aircraft simultaneously.
In 2009 Horie became Chief of the 1st Element (Aircraft) Programs Management Division, in charge of budgeting, supervising and evaluation for all programs for military aircraft research and development . Finally, in 2010, Horie was made Chief of the Air Systems Research Section, responsible for aircraft system and performance, and evaluation of developed aircraft systems.
Schweighart, BS 99, is Vice-President and Co-Founder of Terrafugia, a company in Woburn, Massachusetts, that makes the Transition Roadable Aircraft, a vehicle that both flies like a plane and drives like a car.
Coming off a successful debut at the New York International Auto Show early in April, the Transition Roadable Aircraft is in the testing stage right now, and Schweighart and his partners at Terrafugia, Inc., have received deposits for over 100 aircraft. The first models will fly/roll out sometime next year, at a cost of about $280,000 each.
Schweighart founded the company with some fellow students with whom he attended graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The versatile crafts provide the best of both worlds. Like any small plane, they can fly at altitudes of 10,000 to 12,000 feet, traveling around 100 miles an hour. On ground, they are 100 percent street legal, able to travel the road at normal highway speeds. A push of a button inside the 2-person cockpit folds the Transition’s wings so it can fit in a standard garage, or spreads them to prepare for take-off.
Schweighart’s main focus has been in designing and testing, particularly in regard to the vehicle’s wings and electronics. Schweighart grew up in Paxton, Illinois, about 30 miles from the university, and credits AE Profs. Bruce Conway and Victoria Coverstone and Emeritus Prof. John Prussing with helping to shape his engineering interests.