Aero Online Learning
KU Aerospace Short Courses
Free Aerospace Webinars
Be sure to also check out our online courses.
The KU Aerospace Short Course Program presents free webinars, presented by our industry expert instructors. Webinars are offered throughout the year on various topics. You may view previously broadcast webinars below.
History of Airplane Design Webinars
Dr. Jan Roskam presents the History of Airplane Design webinar series. Each one-hour webinar focuses on specific companies and their contributions to the commercial, military and transport aircraft industries. Learn from a legend in aircraft design how some of today's best known companies got started, persevered or went bankrupt, merged or made it on their own.
Sign up for course news and offers
Frequently-asked Questions About Our Webinars
We typically offer five History of Airplane Design webinars per year. The topics for the year are announced with our fall catalog.
The KU Aerospace Short Course Program utilizes Zoom to present its webinars. We have found Zoom to be a reliable and user-friendly platform for webinar dissemination. More information about Zoom can be found on the Zoom website.
History of Airplane Design webinars are available for viewing following the live presentation. We do not currently plan to provide access to past webinars in this series (2018 or earlier).
Recordings of previous webinars are available below for viewing.
History of Airplane Design
May 18, 2022
Dr. Jan Roskam discusses how the Wichita aircraft industry began and blossomed into Cessna, Beech, Stearman/Boeing, Learjet and Bombardier. Wichita, correctly, called itself the Air Capitol of the world. Nothing lasts forever and in 2022 only Textron (with Cessna and Beech as brand names) and Spirit Aerosystems (which used to be Boeing) are left.
April 20, 2022
In part two of his Overview of Unusual Configurations series, Dr. Roskam discusses how designers may select an unusual configuration to out-perform an existing configuration or to improve some aspect of handling qualities, thereby improving safety. Amongst these examples are: Blohm & Voss Bv-141, Piaggio P-180 Avanti, Cessna 337, Rutan VariViggen, Rutan Varieze, Rutan Defiant, Rutan Catbird, Rutan Boomerang and several others.
March 16, 2022
In Part One of his Overview of Unusual Configurations series, Dr. Roskam discusses how designers may select an unusual configuration to meet a novel mission requirement. Amongst these examples are: McDonnell XF-85 Goblin, NASA AD-1, Rutan Solitaire, Rutan Voyager, Rutan Proteus, Rutan Whiteknight, Rutan Spaceship One and several others.
May 12, 2021
In part two of this two-part series, Dr. Roskam expands on his discussion of Russian airplane manufacturers, including Tupolev, Sukhoi and Antonov.
April 21, 2021
In part one of this two-part webinar series, Dr. Jan Roskam profiles Russian airplane manufacturers, including Ilyushin, MIG, Yakolev and Berlev.
November 13, 2019
Cessna built more airplanes than any company in the world. Beech innovated the popular King Air series. Piper developed the J-3 Cub and derivatives, and later the Comanche, Cherokee, Cherokee Seneca, Arrow and Navajo cabin class airplanes. Join Dr. Jan Roskam as he discusses the history of each of these companies, and profiles many of their popular airplanes.
Dr. Jan Roskam will provide an overview of two of the industry's pioneering companies: Lockheed and Martin. He will discuss each company's contributions to the development of both military and commercial airplanes, from Lockheed's Skunk Works and their miracle airplanes to Martin's firsts, feats and failures.
Attend this webinar to learn more about:
- How Lockheed translated their commercial success to aid the war effort.
- The Lockheed 049 Constellation, which was later developed into the 1049 Super Constellation.
- The Lockheed airplane program has been in continuous production since 1954.
- Innovative airplanes built by Martin before they merged with Lockheed, including the MB-2 biplane bomber, the first all metal bomber, amphibious airplanes and the post-WWII XB-51 jet bomber.
May 15, 2019
McDonnell Aircraft Corporation (of St. Louis, Missouri) specialized in jet fighter design and development, and was best known for its carrier-based aircraft. In 1967, the company merged with Douglas to form McDonnell Douglas Corporation. In 1997, it was merged into The Boeing Company. Boeing (now over a century old!) developed many famous bombing and transport airplanes. Its game-changing B-47 became the granddaddy of modern jet transports.
June 12, 2019
The De Havilland Company (of Hatfield, England) was a vertically integrated, worldwide enterprise designing and building airplanes, engines (piston and jet), propellers and systems. Well-known examples of their commercial and military airplanes include the Dragon Rapide, Vampire, Venom, Sea-Vixen, Comet, Trident and Model 146. The historical importance of the less-known Albatross and Flamingo commercial transports will also be discussed.
Douglas (of Santa Monica, Long Beach and El Segundo, California) also created many commercial and military airplanes. Dr. Roskam will discuss the commercial examples the DC-1, -2 and -3, which were arguably the first successful modern transports using aluminum semi-monocoque construction, NACA engine cowls, retractable landing gear and a streamlined configuration. He will also cover the DC-8, 9 and 10 jet transports. For military examples, the WWII Dauntless dive bomber, Boston and Havoc (bomber/attack), as well as the Skynight, Skyray and Skyhawk jet fighters will be discussed.
Aerospace - General Interest
August 21, 2019
In the world of Unmanned Aerial Systems (including pilotless air taxi "drones"), not having a pilot physically on board the aircraft is problematic at best, and could be hazardous.
Without a pilot on board, everything a pilot normally does (situation-based responses) must be pre-programmed into the vehicle (rule-based responses). As a result, if something unexpected occurs, such as an unanticipated failure state, an anomalous vehicle upset due to something like wind shear, or conflicting traffic that could result in a mid-air collision, then the on-board software must be agile and complex enough to respond accordingly. This means essentially taking what is in your head as a human and putting it into a computer without making any mistakes and accounting for all "what if" conditions.
This problem becomes even more acute when flight testing these vehicles. In addition to the challenges already noted above, during flight test:
- All data must be obtained via "instrumentation. We no longer have the supplemental information provided by an on-board observer
- All flight test unique maneuvers must be pre-programmed and are usually up-linked to the vehicle. Some of these maneuvers are designed to evaluate the open loop response of the vehicle which is counter intuitive to closed loop computer-controlled system design logic
Without a pilot on board the aircraft, situational based intelligence and adaptive control are severely compromised. What are we to do? Tune in to this free webinar and find out!
July 24, 2019
EVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft and the urban air mobility concept of operation pose a unique set of challenges. Nevertheless, the opportunity exists - using electric and hybrid-electric technologies - to create novel fault tolerant and redundant architectures. This webinar provides a quick introduction to the safety continuum, systems safety and its application within this new space.
Thomas N. Taylor
September 26, 2018
In today's modern aircraft there is a greater reliance on highly integrated electrical systems in performing critical airplane functions. The Electrical Wiring Interconnection System (EWIS) is now seen as an essential component to the overall safety of the airplane. Join KU Aerospace Short Course instructor Thomas Taylor as he presents a webinar on the requirements and methodology used in developing the EWIS safety analysis.
From the earliest simplistic attempts to figure out vertical flight to the modern age of tiltrotor transport configuration, composites fuselages and rotors and fly-by-wire control systems, join Harold Rosenstein as he presents a webinar on rotorcraft history and development.
Instructor: Thomas N. Taylor
May 23, 2018
Safety concerns associated with aging electrical wiring on commercial aircraft and the increased reliance on electrical systems on new aircraft have highlighted the need for greater regulatory control over the electrical wiring and components. Join Thomas Taylor as he presents a free webinar on the history of Electrical Wiring Interconnection System (EWIS), along with an overview of the FAA regulations and advisory material used in demonstrating compliance for aircraft certification.
Instructor: Albert Helfrick, PhD, PE
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
In this webinar Albert Helfrick traces avionics development from early radio beacons to satellite navigation and the technology required to support the next generation of air transportation. For more than a decade after the Wrights' 1903 flight, use of aircraft was limited due to the lack of two-way airborne communications and radio-based navigation systems. Early experiments with communications culminated in successful two- way voice radio from an aircraft in 1917. Thus avionics was born. Radio navigation quickly followed, with many of the early advances in avionics being fueled by the explosive growth of radio broadcasting, which provided ample revenue for improved electronics.
Instructor: Andrew Appleton
Thursday, October 27, 2016
5:30 p.m. Central Time
This webinar will highlight some key Human Factors principles as they apply to the design and modification of aircraft cockpits. It will also briefly discuss some key Human Factors considerations for aircraft maintenance.
Webinar discussion will include:
- What is Human Factors?
- Person/Environment/Technology (PET) Principle of Human Factors
- System of Systems Approach to Applying Human Factors
- Anthropometrics—Fitting the Aircraft to the Human
- The Impact of Aircraft Design/Modification on Human Workload/Situational Awareness
- Don’t Neglect the Aircraft Maintainers!
Instructor: Jose Mora-Vargas
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
11:00 a.m.–Noon CT
This webinar highlights basic regulatory aspects related to the protection of airplane cabin occupants when the airframe is subject to crash load conditions within human tolerance, and emphasizes crashworthiness design objectives that would allow passengers to safely and rapidly evacuate the airplane.
Webinar discussion will include:
- Aircraft Type Certification and Supplemental Type Certification
- FAA and EASA Regulatory Material
- Cabin & Seats Compliance Inspection
- Participant questions answered by the presenter
View Dr. Mora-Vargas's short course: Cabin Safety and Crashworthiness of Aircraft Cabin Interiors
Instructor: Dr. Wayne Stout
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
11:00 a.m.–Noon CT
What are some possible directions for aircraft flight control systems? What are the next steps in the evolution of flight control, which are achievable today? Have we truly considered all the possibilities for mechanically actuated systems? What are the possibilities for fly by wire systems? What about single pilot operation?
In this free live webinar, Dr. Wayne Stout will examine flight control systems, and present ideas for potential evolution of those systems. He will review secondary flight control systems and primary flight control. He will also discuss potential single pilot control (Part 25), and the pilot/flight control interface. Finally, Dr. Stout will suggest a unified concept for flight control. The webinar is primarily focused on Part 23 and Part 25 commercial aircraft.
Attendees who will benefit from this webinar include flight control engineers, aerodynamic and stability control engineers, autopilot engineers, system engineers, aerospace students, pilots and anyone interested in the evolution of flight control.
View Dr. Stout's short course: Flight Control and Hydraulic Systems
Instructor: Herbert Tuttle
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Two key components of any project are the budget and the project deadline. Everyone on the project team feels the stress when budget overruns occur, one or more scheduled deadlines are missed, and completion of the project must be extended. The presenter will discuss the responsibilities of both project leaders and individual team members—how both groups contribute to the problem, and how they can work individually and collectively to ensure that any given project stays on budget and is completed on schedule. No matter where you work, project management best practices can be applied to nearly any project, at any level.
View the related short course: Fundamentals of Project Management for Aerospace Professionals
Instructor: C.P. (Case) van Dam
February 24, 2016
Active control of flow over wings, tails, and rotors is receiving significant attention in Europe and the United States. The goal of flow control is to improve airplane cruise and takeoff & landing performance, lower emissions and aeroacoustic noise, improve passenger comfort and to mitigate fatigue and/or extreme loading. This webinar will present an overview of the field of active flow control. Recent experimental results obtained with active lift control techniques will be highlighted.
View this webinar to learn:
- About different flow control techniques
- How active aerodynamic control is considered to mitigate fluctuations in lift due to gusts and other flow variations
- Ways to study this problem computationally as well as experimentally
Who will benefit from viewing this webinar:
- Aeronautical engineers
- Controls and aerodynamics engineers in wind power
- Rotorcraft engineers
- Students focused on research in aerodynamics and/or fluid mechanics
View the related short course: Aerodynamic Design Improvements: High-Lift and Cruise
Instructor: Willem A.J. Anemaat
January 27, 2016
Often during preliminary airplane design, trim is not analyzed soon enough, and is one of the bigger issues during flight testing. If tail and control surfaces end up being too small or in the wrong location, and this is not discovered until the flight testing phase, major delays in certification, production and airplane sales can result.
Airplane designers and stability and control engineers will benefit from this webinar, along with industry professionals who want to become better versed in this topic.
View this webinar to learn:
- What is trim, and how you can alter a design to make sure the airplane is trimmable
- How trim differs in conventional tail aft, canard and three-surface aircraft
- How trim affects tail and canard design at forward and aft centers of gravity
- How trim relates to take-off rotation
View the related short course: Airplane Flight Dynamics
Instructor: Willem A.J. Anemaat
December 9, 2014
Learning from past mistakes has been a critical component in improving airplane design and safety. This live webinar presentation will showcase real-world examples of airplane design issues and mistakes. Citing specific cases, the instructor will analyze design flaws, and offer potential solutions.
View this webinar to learn:
- Key lessons from the design mistakes of past programs
- Ten questions all design engineers should ask
- Do’s and Don’ts to help today’s engineers avoid costly mistakes
View the related short course: Airplane Preliminary Design
Do you have questions about our webinars? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 913-897-8457.