United States of America
Stacy Sidle, a two-time Vertical Flight Foundation scholarship winner, is pursuing her doctorate degree at the University of Maryland’s Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center under the advisement of Dr. Inderjit Chopra.
Since childhood, Stacy was always an excellent student, with a particularly high aptitude for mathematics. She obtained her B.S. in physics in 2004 from Rhodes College, and received a M.S. in physics at the University of Texas at Austin in 2006. For the next six years, she taught high school mathematics in Austin, Texas. Feeling unfulfilled as a teacher, Stacy returned to school for aerospace engineering at Maryland. From her first day of class in helicopter aerodynamics, taught by Dr. Gordon Leishman, Stacy knew she had found her true calling as an aerospace engineer.
Stacy’s graduate research focuses on modeling helicopter dynamics and vibrations. She began with a project using sub structuring techniques to couple helicopter airframe and engine models. The analysis was used to investigate the effects of the engine mount structural properties on vibratory loads transmitted from the main rotor hub to the engines. That work has now progressed to modeling the fully-coupled interaction between the helicopter rotor, airframe, drivetrain and engines in a comprehensive analysis, which is important for improving the accuracy of vibratory loads predictions and eventually designing a “jet-smooth” helicopter.
Stacy has been active in the Vertical Flight Society’s University of Maryland Chapter and the local VFS Federal City Chapter since beginning her studies at Maryland. In 2015, Stacy led Maryland’s graduate team to first place in the VFS Student Design Competition with their AirEZ design — a small autonomous aircraft concept capable of delivering small cargo rapidly to places of need within a time limit. Stacy has presented two VFS Forum papers and has also supported local science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach events and presented at VFS Federal City Chapter meetings.
She received the VFF Scholarship twice for her academic excellence; the recognition by the Society “served to further validate my change in career path,” Stacy noted.
Beyond her academic research, Stacy has interned at the dynamics group at Sikorsky in Stratford, Connecticut, where she worked side-by-side professional engineers as a peer, analyzing flight and ground test data, as well as NASTRAN models. This professional experience allowed her to go beyond her classwork and exposed her to potential industry opportunities and challenges outside her specific research focus.
After receiving her doctorate degree, Stacy said she would like to continue her work in the field of helicopter dynamics and vibrations, either in an industry or government research setting. She is also interested in the progression of the Department of Defense’s Future Vertical Lift program and the possibility of supporting its goals.
VFS: VFF Scholar Spotlight in Vertiflite July/August 2019