Aerospace Engineering Doctoral Student Mayank Bendarkar Receives Piper Aviation Award

Mayank Bendarkar, a doctoral student in Georgia Tech's Aerospace Systems Design Lab (ASDL) has been selected to receive a 2020 William T. Piper, Sr. General Aviation Systems Graduate Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

In addition to a $1,000 stipend, Bendarkar received an invitation to present some of his research findings, "Evaluation of Off-Nominal Performance and Reliability of a Distributed Electric Propulsion Aircraft during Early Design" at the AIAA Sci-Tech Forum, to be held in Florida in January 2021. He has previously been invited to present research on conceptual designs for aircraft at AIAA's Aviation Forums held in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

“We are proud of Mayank and his work for ASDL," said Bendarkar's doctoral advisor, Regents Professor and ASDL director Dimitri Mavris. "To be recognized by a professional society like AIAA so early in his career is a great honor and well deserved.”

In announcing their decision to recognize Bendarkar, the AIAA evaluators lauded the young researcher for his "work on incorporating certification, safety, and reliability considerations for novel aircraft concepts in conceptual and preliminary design.”

That praise tracks closely to Bendarkar's doctoral dissertation, which seeks to generate a framework in which researchers can assess the safety and reliability of novel aircraft designs. One of those concepts is distributed electrical propulsion, which maximizes the aerodynamic efficiency of the aircraft by replacing the traditional 2-engine design with a distribution of multiple, smaller engines along both wings. Currently, he is focusing on NASA's X57 aircraft.

"With the introduction of novel concepts such as Urban Air Mobility (UAM), new architectures, like vertical take-off and lift, and novel technologies like distributed electric propulsion we have the possibility of making aircraft more efficient and reducing their environmental footprint," he said. "My focus, right now, is to make them safer and more reliable."

Sponsored by the AIAA General Aviation Systems Technical Committee, the Piper Award annually recognizes research excellence among graduate students in the fields of air and space sciences. The award was named for William T. Piper Sr (1881-1970), who founded Piper Aircraft Corporation. Previous Piper Award recipients include Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering doctoral students: Dr. Evan Harrison (2016 - graduated 2019) and Dr. Imon Chakraborty (2015 - graduated 2017).

Previous Research by Mayank Bendarkar Presented at AIAA Aviation:

 

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