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USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, AL displays an interesting collection of WW2 ships and aircraft, as well as a collection of aircraft not normally seen. The collection includes a several rare museum items. The park is well worth the visit.

The Battleship Memorial Park visit is contained in 3 parts:

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Aircraft at Battleship Memorial Park

The aircraft collection at the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park (Part 1 here) is quite special. There are several gems hidden among the more ordinary museum pieces.

The OS2U Kingfisher is the aircraft most identifiable with the USS Alabama. However, it is rather poorly highlighted given the special nature of its connection and rarity (1 of 8 in the world).

This next aircraft is a rare gem (1 of 2 existing); it is NOT an F-18. I have been looking for an example since 2000 when my future advisor, Dr. Arena at OSU, asked his stability and control class to identify the aircraft. I didn’t get it right.

One tell to know this is not an F-18 is the landing gear; this straight gear wouldn’t survive a carrier landing. Another set of tells are the forward fuselage, chines, and canopy shape. The cobra insignia on the forward fuselage seals the tells.

The museum has an A-12, one of three (!!!) in Alabama. The other two are in Huntsville and Birmingham. For my logging purposes, the A12 has it’s own page.

There are examples of modern fighters, an F-15 and F-16, and some earlier examples too spread across the 1950s-1980s.

The museum does include a B-52.

Students of aerospace structures should notice the buckling in the forward fuselage. This is normal given the thin walled construction.

The B-52 is also unique in that it is one of the few aircraft designed where the gear’s “yaw” angle is changed to allow a cross-wind landing. Can you name the other 3 aircraft that I have found over the years with main gear that rotate? Can you up my count of three? Let me know.

TuskaUAV talk on Aerodynamics and Propulsion

As the advisor of the TuskaUAV group, I was asked to give a 30 minute chat to the student group on the topic of aerodynamics and propulsion with a special emphasis on small unmanned aerial vehicles. The four-up double sided handout is available below. The formal talk concluded with a Q/A session both during and after the meeting. Thanks for the opportunity!

Blood Moon

20 Jan 2019, 11:20 CST.

[Book Review] Partial Differential Equations for Scientists and Engineers by Stanley J Farlow

Stanley Farlow’s textbook Partial Differential Equations for Scientists and Engineers is a reasonable introductory book for undergraduate and graduate students in the sciences and engineering. This book covers classical solution techniques, basic numerical methods, and -finally- the use of special techniques for solving non-trivial problems. This book is NOT acceptable for graduate students in mathematics, as can be seen directly in the title. Theory is briefly discussed, but the heart of the book is solving problems.

I taught a graduate course (GES 554, see here) for engineers with the book. ISBN-13: 978-0486676203


  • Reasonable coverage of classical methods
  • Very low cost ($12).
  • Discusses the physics of why terms appear in PDEs


  • Basic at best.
  • No formal mathematical proofs.
  • Only 1 section (Burger’s equ) discussing non-linear PDEs
  • Solutions in the back are often not correct
  • Topic order (especially for classification) is scattered.

Gulfstream GV / G550 CAD Model

Today, I created a CATIA CAD model of the Gulfstream GV / G550 aircraft. There are a few discrepancies in the details, especially with the windows and doors; however, the basic aircraft geometry is lofted from drawings.

Sharp aerospace engineers may question several of the fundamental design parameters and wonder about the airfoil selection (yes, supercritical, but GIII airfoils), surface quality (certainly not production quality), and purpose. It’s definitely not trivial to reverse engineer a CAD model from scratch, but it is doable for low to medium fidelity requirements. The CAD model is available here:

Aircraft ECS for HVAC Students

On 11 Oct 2018, I was asked to provide an Aircraft Environmental Control System (ECS) primer for Mechanical Engineering HVAC students.

The lecture notes are available at: ECS-Aircraft


Aerospace Structures Course

Aerospace Structures (AEM 341) is a core aerospace engineering course for the study of methods of analyzing advanced beam and stressed skin structures typical of aerospace vehicles. Dr. O’Neill taught this course in the Spring of 2018.Book: Introduction to Aerospace Structural Analysis, Allen & Haisler, Wiley. ISBN 0-471-88839-7 (Book Review)

Goals: By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Understand structural terminology, nomenclature, and aerospace structural elements.
  • Demonstrate basic static and accelerated loads concepts and estimates.
  • Determine principle stresses and principle directions
  • Demonstrate structural analysis of advanced beams and cells in bending and torsion
  • Demonstrate analysis of shear and shear flow
  • Analyze, design and test an aerospace structure as a term project
  • Fluently converse with loads and stress teams in a design setting

Example Lectures:

Course Evaluation: The student course evaluation is at: 18-AEM341-AerospaceStructures. I appreciate the kind words.

  • His notes are extremely clear, and he very effectively communicates the material. He’s far more concerned about us understanding the material than anything else.
  • Helped me regain my hope and enthusiasm for aerospace

XOR Checksum

Recently, I have been working with embedded systems for UAS applications. One of the systems requires commands be validated with an XOR checksum. Rather than doing this by hand, I made a small simple Windows app (download here).Nothing fancy.

Southern Museum of Flight: 2018 Visit

On 4 May 2018, my Aircraft Systems class (and guests) visited the Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham, AL. Thanks to the museum director Dr. Brian Barsanti for the guided tour. The highlight of the trip was a hands-on visit of a D-21 recon drone under restoration.

A student asked me what I look for at museums. This is quite an excellent question. The truth is that I’ve been around almost all of the aircraft previously. I’m not looking at the aircraft as a famous name but as an interaction…. an aircraft system. Can I figure out the “why” and “how”?

For the 2016 visit, click on

More photos are given below

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