Christophe Hermans



1960 - 2021

Christophe Hermans, the Director of the German-Dutch Wind Tunnels (formally registered as “Stichting Duits-Nederlandse Windtunnels” or DNW), died of a heart attack on Jan. 24, 2021.

Hermans was born on Oct. 22, 1960, and went to Coriovallum College secondary school in Heerlen, The Netherlands. He studied aerospace engineering (1979–1985) at the RWTH Aachen University in Germany. After a year of military service, he joined NLR — then the National Aerospace Laboratory (Nationaal Lucht- en Ruimtevaartlaboratorium), which was renamed the Royal Netherlands Aerospace Center (Koninklijk Nederlands Lucht- en Ruimtevaartcentrum) on its 100th anniversary in 2019 — in May 1986, in the Helicopter Group of the Flight Test and Helicopter Department. In 2000, Hermans became the Department Manager of the new NLR Helicopters and Aeroacoustics Department. In 2012, he was promoted to Deputy Director of DNW. In 2018, he became Director of DNW and Chief Technology Advisor to NLR.

In addition to his direct NLR-related activities, Hermans promoted national, European and international cooperation in the field of aeronautics. In 2006, he was asked to become secretary of the Netherlands Association of Aeronautical Engineers (NVvL) and became president in 2016.

The NVvL was one of the founders of the Council of European Aerospace Societies (CEAS) and the International Council of Aeronautical Societies (ICAS). In 2007, Hermans became, as a representative of NVvL, a member of the Board of Trustees of CEAS and, in 2008, a member of the General Assembly of ICAS.

Within CEAS, he became Chairman of the Aeronautics Branch in April 2010 and member of the editorial board of the CEAS Aeronautical Journal. He became responsible for the organization of the CEAS cooperation in a various European and International conferences, such as the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) aeroacoustics conferences, the European Rotorcraft Forum (ERF) — which he chaired in 2018 in Delft (shown) — and the Society of Flight Test Engineers (SFTE).

In 2017, Hermans became President of CEAS. In the two years of his CEAS Presidency, he focused on the strategy of CEAS for the coming four years. Central in this was the long-term view to coordinate the conferences of the various European organizations into truly European conferences, as an analog of AIAA meetings. The refereed CEAS aeronautics and space journals also became more and more visible and important due to his support.

Fred Abbink, the CEAS president who preceded Hermans (2014–2016), remembered him by saying, “Christophe was dedicated to the aerospace community. His leadership was always focused on strengthening European cooperation in aerospace, in a calm, amiable and friendly way.”

Source: "In Memoriam" Vertiflite May/June 2021