Department of Aerospace Engineering

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Dr. Sven Schmitz  –  Students

Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering, Phone: 814-863-0778,

Rotary Wing Aerodynamics Group

Doctor of Philosophy

pankaj jha

Pankaj Jha, Ph.D. student

Email:, Curriculum Vitae

“Turbine Wake Modeling”

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Aerospace Engineering. I work on wind turbine wake modeling using actuator line method (ALM). My thesis work is focused on wind turbines and the concept we learn and develop here can be applied to helicopter aerodynamics with appropriate modifications. I have also worked on CFD simulations on iced airfoils and wind turbines. Before joining Penn State I earned an integrated M.Sc. in Mathematics and Computing and a minor in Aerospace Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur. At PSU, I have also completed the requirements for two distinct Ph.D. minors: one in Computational Science and another in Mechanical Engineering. I am working towards a certificate in wind energy engineering as well. With background in the three pillars of CFD, viz., Mathematics, Computing and Fluid Dynamics, and knowledge of other areas of Aerospace Engineering, I intend to use my knowledge to solve critical engineering problems.

Master of Science or Engineering

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Dwight Brillembourg, M.S. student

Email: , Curriculum Vitae

“Aerodynamic Performance of Wind Turbines under Atmospheric Icing Conditions”

My name is Dwight Brillembourg and I am a 2nd year M.S. student in Aerospace Engineering at Penn State. I attended Penn State for my B.S. in Aerospace Engineering as well. My thesis research concerns Wind Turbines under atmospheric icing conditions. More specifically, ice accretion modeling, aerodynamics, and control strategies for mitigating performance degradation. When I am not working in the lab or studying, I enjoy outdoor activities such as golfing and intramural sports.

josh dowling

Peter Blasco, M.S. student


“Ice Accretion Experiments and Wind Tunnel Investigation of Iced Wind Turbine Airfoil”

While completing my undergraduate degree at Penn State, I worked with a team of students to design and build a human powered aircraft. That experience inspired me to continue to pursue studies into aerodynamics and the exchange of energy within air flows. Today, I am a M.S. student researching the power degradation due to blade icing on wind turbines. I'd like to find a solution to icing problems and study potential ways to extract energy from the wind. In my spare time, I like to hike, camp, rock climb, snowboard, and do plenty of other outdoor activities. I also like to design, build, and fly radio controlled aircraft and rotorcraft.

josh dowling

Ethan L Corle, M.S. student

Email:, Curriculum Vitae

“Computational Investigation of Active Rotor Concept for Performance Enhancement and Vibration Reduction”

I am a first year M.S. student in the Penn State Aerospace Engineering program.  Prior to graduate studies, I received a B.S. in aerospace engineering from Penn State and a B.A. in physics from Slippery Rock University with an applied mathematics minor.  My research focuses on active rotor blade concepts with a goal to optimize these active devices for acoustic, performance, and vibration enhancement.  The concepts are analyzed using coupled fluid-structure models through Rotorcraft Comprehensive Analysis System (RCAS) and OVERFLOW.  Beyond research, I am very active with The American Helicopter Society (AHS) and enjoy running marathons in my extracurricular time. 

josh dowling

Joshua Dowler, M.S. student

Email: , Curriculum Vitae

“A New Stall-Delay Model for Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines”

Hello, my name is Josh Dowler and I am a 3rd year M.S. student in Aerospace Engineering at Penn State. Before coming to Penn State studied at Harding University and received my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. My thesis research is focused on developing a new stall delay model for horizontal axis wind turbines. I am also conducting research on wind turbine blade optimization using evolutionary algorithms while helping to develop the XTurb-PSU wind turbine design and analysis tool. When not working in the lab, I enjoy outdoor activities, such as running, biking, and camping as well as playing a variety of sports.

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Frank Kody, M.S. student

Email: , Curriculum Vitae

“Helicopter Performance Enhancements Using Active Rotor Concepts”

My name is Frank Kody. I am a second year M.S. student in Aerospace Engineering. I received my B.S. in Aerospace Engineering at Saint Louis University before coming to Penn State. My thesis research is focused on analyzing the effect of active control devices on a helicopter rotor in high speed forward flight. I use RCAS (Rotorcraft Comprehensive Analysis System), OVERFLOW (CFD), and several other analysis tools to help me complete my research. As a pet project, I am investigating the use of an evolutionary algorithm based optimization method to design winglets for sailplanes. When I am not in the lab I enjoy playing football, basketball, ultimate Frisbee, and a lot of golf.

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David Reich, M.S. student

Email: , Curriculum Vitae

“Experimental Investigation of the Wake Flow Field Downstream of a Helicopter Rotor Hub”

I am a second year M.S. student in aerospace engineering at Penn State. I am originally from Tallahassee, Florida and I conducted my undergraduate studies in aerospace engineering at the University of Florida in Gainesville. My research is on the subject of helicopter rotor hub flows, which have two major problems: 1) drag (the rotor hub is responsible for up to 30% of the total drag on the helicopter) and 2) adverse effects of the unsteady wake on stability and control of the helicopter (e.g. tail shake). I am involved with experiments conducted in the Penn State Applied Research Laboratory Garfield Thomas Water Tunnel to characterize the drag and the shed wake of rotor hubs by using load measurements and laser flow diagnostics. In my free time, I enjoy bicycling (mountain, road, cyclocross), cross country skiing, rock climbing, and hiking.

Bachelor of Science

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Jessica Bashioum, B.S. student


“Modeling the Wakes of Wind Turbines Using the Actuator Disc and Actuator Line Methods"

I am a senior in the aerospace engineering department at The Pennsylvania State University. I come from a small town west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and went to Penn State Beaver for two years before transferring to University Park. While in college I have worked on a variety of projects as an undergraduate including topics from building and designing a breathing apparatus for firefighters, building an engine, concepts for strengthening a bar clamp, and wind energy design and analysis. While studying wind energy under Dr. Schmitz I have assisted in designing a two bladed wind turbine with analyzing power, forces, and bending effects on the turbine blades. As well as learning FieldView and creating movie animations for examining the turbulent wake interactions of two NREL-5MW wind turbines in a neutral atmospheric boundary layer.