Baron Johnson, Ph.D.
Aerospace / Flight Test Engineer
Dynetics, Inc.
Huntsville, AL
(352) 339-5272


Publications            Resume                Research Projects                RC Credentials                Pilot Credentials

Research Projects

High Angle-of-Attack Flight Dynamics of Small UAV
Currently collecting and analyzing data from inertial measurement unit (IMU) and flight data recorder on a small UAV capable of sustained, controlled high angle-of-attack flight.  Utilizing system identification methods to characterize nonlinear flight regime.  Also performing performing parametric study with variable airframe components to determine influences on uncommanded wing rock experienced at high angles-of-attack.
PLUS - Power Line Urban Sentry
Man-operable flying wing intended to clip onto power lines and recharge flight batteries through inductance for long-term mission capability.  As consultant for Defense Research Associates, Inc., created CNC toolpaths and milled female molds for composite construction.  Used preimpregnated carbon fiber and wet lay-up fiberglass to construct several prototype vehicles.  Acted as pilot for test flights, as well as data and video collection flights, and provided feedback on flight performance and handling qualities.
Bendable Wing Micro Air Vehicle
6 inch wingspan aircraft that features a load-stiffening composite wing which maintains rigidity under positive flight loads but also bends downward to store in a 1 inch diameter canister.  From stored configuration, can be made airborne within 40 seconds and maintain flight for 15 minutes.  Performed conceptual design and prototyping, composite stress analysis and failure prediction, visual image correlation on wing deformation and creep, and flight testing.
Loudenslager Shark
Designed & scratch built 38.8% scale model of the unique and exotic Loudenslager Shark aerobatic aircraft.  Features a retractable ventral fin to minimize spiral slipstream prop effects, create more similar behavior between upright & inverted high angle-of-attack flight, and maximize rudder area within propwash during flight operations, but retract to provide landing gear clearance for takeoff and landing.  Both ventral and dorsal fins are full-moving flight control surfaces actuated with a timing belt pulley system on nonmetallic ball bearings.  Used 2D & 3D aerodynamic prediction software to aid in design.
MMALV - Micro Morphing Air and Land Vehicle
Developed in conjunction with BioRobotics, LLC and Case Western Reserve University, this 12 inch wingspan aircraft features both aerial and terrestrial locomotion.  Terrestrial locomotion accomplished with WhegsTM, which combine the mobility of wheels with the climbing ability of legs.  Also features retractable wings for ground maneuvering in tight areas.  Aircraft has been demonstrated to high ranking military officials and has been featured on the Military Channel and Wired Magazine.
Nova UAV
6 foot UAV developed in conjunction with the Florida Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit and the US Army Corps of Engineers for natural resource management & wildlife surveillance. Can be operated autonomously in remote locations to replace low altitude manned surveillance flights (small aircraft crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths among wildlife biologists).  Performed airframe design, constructed prototypes, and conducted both open- and closed-loop flight testing.  Project Website
Autonomous Micro Air Vehicles
Helped develop, construct, and flight test numerous autonomous aircraft ranging between 10 and 24 inches in wingspan.  Used different autopilot & GPS systems, including both COTS and custom systems, along with both stationary and gimbaled wireless real-time video camera systems.
Micro / Nano Air Vehicles
Aircraft with maximum dimension less than 6 inches that feature flexible membrane wings developed to achieve unique flight qualities, such as delayed stall, gust suppression, and adaptive washout.  Rapid prototyping capabilities with CNC machining and prepreg composites permitted iterative design progressions.  These aircraft can carry color video cameras and wireless video transmitters and can be operated out of sight through the real-time video link.  The University of Florida MAV Lab has won the International MAV Competition 8 consecutive years with MAVs as small as under 4 inches. Lab Website