Dr. Sanford Fleeter: 1944-2016

Professor Sanford Fleeter, the McAllister Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, died on July 7, 2016.


He had a distinguished academic career of nearly 38 years at Purdue which he joined after approximately ten years at Allison Gas Turbines (now Rolls Royce).  At Allison, he was responsible for the generation of experimental aerodynamic technology base for advanced fans, compressors, and turbines.  At Purdue University, his contributions included conducting research and providing leadership in research in the very important areas of turbomachines, mentoring graduate students as well as teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in turbomachines, propulsion, aeromechanics, and fluid mechanics and instrumentation.  More recently, he had focused more of his attention to research in wind turbines as well as teaching a popular course on wind turbines and energy.

Dr. Fleeter completed all of his degrees (B.S., M.S. and Ph.D.) in Mechanical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland (formerly Case Institute of Technology), starting in 1961 and completing in 1970.  He joined, as a Research Engineer, Detroit Diesel Allison (Allison Gas Turbines), a Division of General Motors Corporation, Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1968.  He subsequently was promoted to Principal Engineer - Aeroelasticity, Supervisor - Aerodynamic Research, and finally Section Chief - Cascades and Flow Systems Research, when he joined Purdue in 1978 as an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering.  He moved through the ranks and was finally appointed as the McAllister Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering in 1996.

Dr. Fleeter had served in many administrative and research leadership roles at Purdue.  He served as the Director and Principal Investigator of the Army University Research Initiative (URI) on Rotorcraft Engine Unsteady Aerodynamics, Director of Purdue University Center for Bladed Disc Unsteady Aerodynamics Research and Technology, Co-Director of GUIde Consortium on Forced Response of Bladed Discs, and Director of the Purdue Thermal Sciences and Propulsion Center (now known as the Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories).

Professor Fleeter was a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers as well as a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.  He had authored more than 350 technical publications and served as the major professor for nearly 85 M.S. and Ph.D. thesis graduates.