Michael is from Boise, Idaho. From a young age, he has spent countless hours enjoying the Idaho (and other nearby states) outdoors and has been passionate about challenges involving creativity. Once he enrolled at UIUC, he pursued an interest in aerospace by working with Student Aircraft Builders (SAB) to construct a full-scale sheet metal aircraft as a member and later, a foreman and project lead. Michael spent his most recent summer as a structures engineering intern with Boeing working on the 777-9X wing. This semester, he decided to pursue an independent study with the BAM lab to enhance his knowledge in composite design and continue pursuing a passion for bio-inspiration.
Michael’s research is a continuation of the Adaptive Wing Tip Devices for Increased Agility and Maneuverability project to improve UAV flight. The wingtips take inspiration from bird feathers to help maximize lift and minimize drag. Unlike the previous adaptable wingtip devices, a new iteration will be designed and made with composites. One of the main objectives of the design is to allow for twist to create an angle of attack for each wingtip. Using wind tunnel tests, Michael will test the new composite wingtips and compare the results found from previous tests. The end goal of his research is to even better expand the mission capabilities of UAVs by improving the adaptive wingtip devices that will eventually be passively tuned to respond to aerodynamic conditions.