Department of

Aerospace Engineering

Jack Langelaan

Jack W. Langelaan, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering

229 Hammond Building

Penn State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-863-6817 / Fax: 814-865-7092


Web page:



Stanford University, Stanford, CA Ph.D., Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, March 2006 Dissertation title: State Estimation for Autonomous Flight in Cluttered Environments Advisor: Professor Stephen Rock, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics, December 1994. Thesis title: Design Oriented Structural Analysis for Shape Optimization of Isotropic and Composite Fuselage Structures Advisor: Professor Eli Livne, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario.

Bachelor of Science, Engineering Physics (Mechanical Option), with Honors, 1992

Honors and Awards

2011: Associate Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. 2010: PSEAS Outstanding Teaching Award (awarded by the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society). 2008: National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) award 2006-2008: Dorothy Quiggle Professor in Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University. 2001-2004: Alyce B. and Henry J. Ramey Jr. Fellow, Stanford University. 2000: Department Fellowship, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University.

Research Interests

Langelaan's research has focused primarily on state estimation, data fusion, path planning, and control for small uninhabited aerial vehicles (uavs). The drivers of this research have been two areas critical to improving vehicle capabilities: perception (transforming sensor data into knowledge of the vehicle state and surroundings by developing novel state estimation and data fusion algorithms) and persistence (exploiting energy available in the environment to improve range and endurance). Problems in state estimation and planning are strongly coupled in both of these areas: with limited sensors on-board the vehicle, the flight path has a significant effect on the quality of information gained about the environment. For more information please see Dr. Langelaan's page at or his lab's page at