Vertical Flight Foundation Scholarships

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Daiju Uehara

University of Texas Austin

Daiju Uehara is currently a PhD candidate in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. After obtaining a B. Eng. at the University of Tokyo in 2014, he joined Prof. Jayant Sirohi's research group with a focus on a coaxial counter-rotating rotor system.

How did you get interested in vertical flight?

"I was born on the small island of Okinawa, located on the southern end of Japan. VTOL has played a vital role in rescue for emergency and disaster in the island because there are many places on the island where no vehicle can approach except for VTOL aircraft. Watching commercial and military helicopters fly across the sky, I began to have a keen interest in the aerospace technology and decided to learn rotorcraft engineering."

What impact has receiving the VFF scholarship had for you?

"The VFF scholarship was important to me because this was my first opportunity to being incorporated into rotorcraft community. Winning the scholarship has motivated me to develop a deep understanding of rotorcraft so that my future work can be a part of the VTOL development."

What are some of your current projects or research interests?

"I have performed hover tests in a coaxial counter-rotating rotor (CCR) system and coaxial co-rotating system to quantitatively extract the swirl recovery of a CCR system, which, is one of the notable advantages of CCR system. The main objective of the project is to quantify how much energy the CCR configuration is able to recover from the wake swirl compared to other rotor configurations. This work was presented at the AHS Annual Forum 73 this year. Currently, I am working on the deformation measurement and modal identification of an extremely flexible rotor blade. It's very challenging to perform conventional experimental modal analysis techniques on a rotor under operating conditions. I'm trying to identify the modal parameters of a flexible rotor blade (natural frequencies, damping ratios, and mode shapes) by combining the non-contact optical deformation measurement technique, called DIC (Digital Image Correlation), and operational modal analysis (OMA) techniques. My work has been accepted for the conference proceeding and presentation in the upcoming Asian-Australian Rotorcraft Forum in 2017."

Tell us about your future plans.

"I wish to take on roles which solve challenging problems and accelerate the development of next generation rotorcraft. The prospect of becoming a rotorcraft engineer in industry or any institution after graduation excites me."

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