Professor Terry A. Weisshaar retires from a 41 year career in academia and government

Terry and Mary Weisshaar
Terry and Mary Weisshaar
Professor Terry A. Weisshaar retires at the end of the 2011 academic year from a 41 year career in academia and government where his career included positions at three major universities. He is widely recognized for his work in the field of aeroelasticity, the interaction between structures and aerodynamic loads that can lead to catastrophic in-flight failure.

His academic career includes an appointment during the 1995-96 academic year, to the Jerome Hunsaker Distinguished Visiting Professorship at M.I.T. He is an elected Fellow of the AIAA, and is a recipient of the prestigious Structural Dynamics and Materials Award, conferred by AIAA in 2005

As one of the foremost leaders in the engineering field known as aeroelastic tailoring, the combination of advanced composites design and aeroelasticity, his research interests and team efforts led to and supported the development of the X-29 forward swept wing demonstrator; an airplane now on display at the U.S. Air Force Museum of Flight in Dayton, Ohio and the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.  He was also an early contributor to smart materials aeroelasticity efforts.  His widely cited, seminal research in both areas led to other research efforts with hundreds of papers being published in these two areas during the past three decades.  He has been a frequent keynote speaker in these areas at national and international conferences and has also been a guest and lecturer for international programs in Israel, Russia, Japan and South Korea.

Professor Weisshaar has been recognized for his a distinguished public service, including government advisory committees and professional society leadership.  His government service was recognized with the awarding of the Air Force Distinguished Civilian Service Medal and the Secretary of Defense Distinguished Civilian Service Award.  He is also the recipient of the ASME Aerospace Division Shuttle Flag Award to recognize service to the Aerospace Division of the ASME.  This service includes Chairmanship of the Aerospace Division.

Professor Weisshaar served as a Program Manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the legendary research arm of the Department of Defense from 2002-2006.  At DARPA, he led the Morphing Aircraft Structures (MAS) program that developed radical shape-changing aircraft.  This effort culminated with successful NASA wind tunnel tests of two advanced concept models as well as flight of a small demonstrator.  During his four-year service at DARPA he fostered research programs ranging from space system concepts to advanced materials.

In addition to National leadership and engineering contributions, Professor Weisshaar is a dedicated teacher.  He is a two time recipient of the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics Elmer Bruhn Award, established to recognize teaching.  He has taught an undergraduate structures course as well as senior Aircraft design and he has developed a new course in aerospace systems.  In 1985 he was recognized as the AIAA Great Lakes Section Advisor of the Year.  At the graduate level he developed a course in aircraft aeroelasticity.  His notes have been used at other universities, both in this country and abroad.  He and his students have produced over 100 archival and conference papers and reports in the area of aeroelasticity, aircraft design and aircraft structural dynamics.  He has been major advisor to 45 Masters and Ph.D. students.