United States of America
Nathan Tappendorf still remembers being inspired by a hummingbird in hover during middle school. Determined to replicate this feat in man-made aircraft, he went on to study mechanical engineering at the Arizona State University. He joined the Vertical Flight Society as a student member and attended the local chapter meetings to network and to learn from professionals in the vertical flight industry. In his last semester of undergraduate studies, Nathan interned at the Boeing Company in Mesa as a stress analyst, and had the opportunity to work on the AH-64 Apache and AH-6 Little Bird helicopters, as well as commercial fixed-wing aircraft.
He returned to ASU to pursue a master’s degree in mechanical engineering, with a focus on finite elements analysis relating to fatigue and fracture in aircraft structures. With his professor, he developed nonlinear finite element codes for several material models based on simple 2-D elements that can be later scaled to full 3-D capabilities.
Now a full-time structural analysis engineer at Boeing, Nathan is currently on a short-term assignment to analyze vibroacoustic scenarios and develop load factors during the liftoff and ascent of NASA’s Space Launch System. Previously, he worked on Boeing’s commercial crew capsule, the CST-100; he also resolved manufacturing issues of the coaxial rotor on the Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1 Defiant Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator, particularly the loads and stresses involved in the bearing press fit.
VFF Scholar Spotlight: Vertiflite Jan/Feb 2018