[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: https://grabcad.com/library/gulfstream-gv-g550-low-fidelity-2

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


Articulated 4 Bar Mount Design

In this note, I will design an articulated 4 bar mount for a radar system using CATIA. The system needs to be designed and built rapidly for a VIP demonstration. Here’s the design:

First, the design requirements and needs:

  • Precise pointing requirements from nadir (straight down) to horizontal.
  • Mount on a boom lift / cherry-picker bucket
  • Separate two antennas of 30 pounds and 10 pounds by at least 2 meters with less than 1 deg of twist.
  • Designed, sourced, and built within a tight schedule

The articulated arm as designed by CATIA met the design goals with a commonly available actuator. The use of a CAD model allowed for tuning of the geometry and resulting kinematics.

Using the gearing ratio between the actuator and the output angle, conservation of power, and the measured actuator dynamics, I was able to analyze, simulate, and tune the dynamic/transient dynamics of motion of the system. This analysis allowed for a truly coupled actuator/mechanism design and ensured that my design remained feasible across the entire operational envelope.

Design drawings were created to construct the actuation arm.

The as-constructed articulated arm met the design requirements and when mounted on a boom-lift was successfully was used for a data collection experiment.

This articulated arm mechanism’s development shows the power of CAD with CATIA for rapid support of R&D projects. I was pleased.

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 https://charles-oneill.com/blog/southern-museum-of-flight-tour-for-aircraft-systems/

More photos are given below

Continue reading

Rewinged SPA

Thank you to Adam Benabbou and Sean Sawaya for designing and constructing a new wing for the SPA aircraft. This wing uses the SD7062 airfoil with a balsa and spruce wing structure covered with Monokote. I am looking forward to a series of interesting missions with this aircraft-wing combination.


Super Guppy Flyover

On 2 April 2018, NASA’s Supper Guppy flew over Tuscaloosa. Can you spot it?

Post Tornado Damage Assessment at Jacksonville State University

On 19 March 2018, a tornado hit Jacksonville State University’s campus. The tornado caused widespread damage across the entire campus and the surrounding neighborhoods. The tornado was a direct hit through the quad, library, and almost all major buildings.

The Remote Sensing Center was asked to provide post tornado damage assessment of the campus buildings. We (Tim Leopard, Chris R. Simpson, and I) flew a series of flights over the campus. We wish JSU the best; we hope these helped.

The full list of videos are below:

JSU Mathews Coliseum: https://youtu.be/7PcHpnTjR6w
JSU West Quad, Dixon, Crow: https://youtu.be/p5i2c85Kqyo
JSU Crow, Patterson, Logan, Sparkman, Williams, Mason, International, Ayers: https://youtu.be/tHb8ldkweis
JSU Quad Area & Closeups: https://youtu.be/I3xqGyD56r8
JSU College Apts: https://youtu.be/9Qrrq-pQqwQ
JSU Library: https://youtu.be/sMytp_HW1AY
JSU McGee, Martin, Library: https://youtu.be/7__QmG9GuPY
JSU McGee, Martin: https://youtu.be/GbicTbK7VjE
JSU McGee: https://youtu.be/RoDeef-8RwA
JSU McGee, Martin: https://youtu.be/1pjEwpOAlbw
JSU McGee, Martin (rapid descent for traffic avoidance): https://youtu.be/AWi1fJBHSus
JSU Softball and tornado track flyby: https://youtu.be/Ewtl6f4mBGo
JSU Honors House 2: https://youtu.be/DlGt1mxbTP0
JSU Honors House: https://youtu.be/1JJAzN8d3aw
JSU Stone Center: https://youtu.be/eBHP4PqSQxE
JSU Stone Center 2: https://youtu.be/gmbhWAn7kTk
JSU Brewer Hall, Merrill Hall: https://youtu.be/_6TULZKz7A4
JSU Merrill East Roof: https://youtu.be/4uBwg-nnIxg
JSU Merrill (Medium altitude circles): https://youtu.be/M5j8y-u-0vc
JSU Library “Wind-Tunnel Gap”: https://youtu.be/csErTiltZ-8
JSU Wallace Hall, ROTC tower, & High Altitude East Campus (E-W lines): https://youtu.be/mcJa-MMOnUo
JSU Rowe Hall: https://youtu.be/shCYSrgGEhM
JSU Rowe Hall, High altitude East Campus (N-S flight lines): https://youtu.be/ecPSHhRJmH8