United States of America
Seyhan Gul is pursuing his doctoral degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Maryland, where he conducts tiltrotor research under the advisement of Dr. Anubhav Datta. Seyhan previously obtained his BS and MS degrees in aerospace and aeronautical engineering, respectively, from the Middle East Technical University, in Ankara, Turkey.
As a child, Seyhan dreamt of becoming a pilot. Growing up, he was inspired by the airplanes that flew overhead and wanted to understand the engineering behind the magic. A family member who was an aerospace engineer further sparked Seyhan’s interest in aviation and engineering with airplane and helicopter trivia from time to time.
Seyhan prepared for the Turkish university entrance exam with the intent of becoming an aerospace engineer at a time when new graduates in this field were not in demand in the Turkish job market. Fortunately, the domestic aerospace industry burgeoned during his university years and Seyhan was hired as a part-time engineer during his senior year at Roketsan AS, which designs and manufactures rockets and missiles. After graduation, he worked for Turkish Aerospace on the T625 Gökbey Multi-Role Helicopter development program as a loads engineer, and pursued his master’s degree at the same time to strengthen his knowledge in flight mechanics and aeromechanics.
After receiving his MS degree, Seyhan knew he wanted to go further in rotorcraft academic research, especially in aeromechanics; he was especially impressed by the University of Maryland’s Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center, one of the three Vertical Lift Research Centers of Excellence designated by the US Army and NASA, and was accepted by Dr. Anubhav Datta as a graduate student. At Maryland, Seyhan’s research focuses on prediction and testing of whirl flutter, an important barrier to tiltrotor aircraft design and performance. In order to minimize flutter, thick wings have to be used to the detriment of the cruise performance.
Dr. Datta has been impressed by his student’s academic and research progress in just over a year, as Seyhan continues to develop a next-generation comprehensive analysis that is built on computer-aided design and scalable solution procedures to model complex structures before they are built. Dr. Datta noted, “this is a daunting task that requires imagination, creativity, mathematical rigor, and intellectual composure, and I have no doubt [Seyhan] is ideally suited for this task.”
Seyhan is currently working on obtaining systematic whirl flutter data set with a test rig that can accommodate gimballed and hingeless hubs. It is planned to test different wing, pylon and blade configurations to better understand hub type, blade sweep and stiffness coupling, among other parameters, on whirl flutter. “Hingeless hubs are of considerable interest for future tiltrotors — both convention as well as new electric VTOL configurations,” remarked Dr. Datta. “The Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center is building a brand new high-speed tiltrotor test facility supported by the US Navy and Army, and Seyhan will play a key role at this facility.”
Seyhan credits the Vertical Flight Foundation scholarship for being a strong motivator for his studies, as well as a means of financial support. He hopes one day to pay it forward and support a future graduate student on the same track that he once was.
Lastly, Seyhan would like to thank his advisor Dr. Datta, as well as Derya Gurak, Dr. Mithat Yuce, and Walter Sonneborn for their guidance and support, as he continues his progress in vertical flight research.