Grad student wins PEGASAS Outstanding Student Researcher Award

AAE PhD candidate Neelakshi Majumdar was “thrilled” to receive the award virtually at The Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability (PEGASAS) annual meeting.

AAE PhD candidate Neelakshi Majumdar received an Outstanding Student Researcher Award.

Neelakshi Majumdar
Neelakshi Majumdar

Majumdar was “thrilled” to receive the award virtually at The Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability (PEGASAS) annual meeting. PEGASAS is the Federal Aviation Administration Center of Excellence for general aviation. Each year, the PEGASAS universities select one student to be recognized with the award.

The selection is based on technical merit and research considerations, academic performance, professionalism and leadership, according to the website.

“Special thanks to my advisor Dr. Karen Marais for believing in me and giving me this research opportunity. This is highly motivating and makes me want to work harder to contribute to the aviation safety,” Majumdar said.

Majumdar’s research involves modeling General Aviation (GA) accidents involving fixed-wing aircraft. As part of her research for the FAA’s PEGASAS Project 5 (Safety Analysis for General Aviation), Majumdar focuses on in-flight loss of control (LOC-I) accidents. Those type of accidents mean a pilot was unable to maintain control of the aircraft in flight, involving an unintended departure of an aircraft from controlled flight.

“LOC-I is one of the deadliest causes of GA accidents,” Majumdar said. “I am particularly interested in investigating how and why these accidents happen by analyzing the accident data and by understanding pilots’ LOC-I experiences via surveys and interviews.”

As a research assistant supporting Project 5, Majumdar conducted a survey of pilots who have experienced LOC-I to understand the underlying factors that led to the LOC-I. Majumdar found that pilot errors and inadequate supervision by instructors were the topmost factors in those LOC-I incidents.