Terry J. Kohler Professor of Fluid Dynamics
areas of expertise: low-speed and transonic aerodynamics, fluid dynamics, computational fluid dynamics, design and performance of aircraft and aeromechanical devices, design optimization methodology
Mark Drela is the Terry J. Kohler Professor of Fluid Dynamics at the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He joined the MIT faculty in January 1986. His primary research interests are in low-speed and transonic aerodynamics, design and performance of aircraft and aeromechanical devices and computational aerodynamic design methodology.
He has developed a number of computational aerodynamic design/analysis codes currently being used in the aircraft and gas-turbine industry. He has also developed tools for analysis and design of control systems for highly aeroelastic aircraft. He teaches aircraft design fundamentals, external aerodynamics and fluid mechanics of boundary layers at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Drela participated extensively in the Chrysalis, Monarch and Daedalus human-powered aircraft projects at MIT. Daedalus set the world record for distance (116 km) and duration (four hours) in 1988. He also was the advisor and pilot for the MIT Human-Powered Hydrofoil Project (1989-1993), which holds the current human-powered watercraft world speed record of 18.5 knots.
Since 1996, he has worked as a consultant for numerous R&D projects in aircraft, turbomachinery, bicycles and America’s Cup sailboats. He has been active in free-flight and radio-control model aircraft since childhood. Drela obtained his SB (1982), SM (1983) and PhD (1985) from MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
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