Rotorcraft Expert Farhan Gandhi Joins Rensselaer as Redfern Professor of Engineering
New Tenured Professor Known Internationally for
Research on Morphing Helicopters, Advanced Configurations, and
Adaptive Cellular Structures.
Rotorcraft and adaptive structures expert Farhan Gandhi
recently joined Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
as the Rosalind and John J. Redfern Jr. ’33 Professor of
Engineering. He is a tenured full professor in the Department of Mechanical,
Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering.
“Dr. Gandhi is an international leader in the areas of
morphing helicopters and adaptive cellular structures, and we
are very excited he has joined our aerospace engineering
program—which is already ranked among the nation’s best,” said
David Rosowsky, dean
of the School of Engineering at
Rensselaer. “Farhan is an outstanding academic with a proven
record of innovation, synergistic leadership, teaching
excellence, and research impact. The entire school joins me in
welcoming Dr. Gandhi as the Rosalind and John J. Redfern Jr.
’33 Professor of Engineering.”
An innovative researcher in the field of rotary-wing
aircraft, he is recognized internationally as a leader in
morphing and active rotors, and adaptive cellular structures.
His rotorcraft research programs explore new methods for
actively and passively changing the shape of helicopter blades,
toward the goal of increasing the capabilities and adaptability
of the aircraft, and making them more fuel efficient. For
example, shorter blades could enable a helicopter to land and
operate in confined spaces, yet the same vehicle could benefit
from longer blades to fly faster and higher in open skies.
Similarly, chord extension—or widening the blades—would enable
helicopters to fly in high-altitude, high-gross-weight, and
high-speed conditions, while retraction would reduce profile
drag in more benign flight conditions.
Gandhi is a prolific researcher, and is the author of more
than 170 technical papers in refereed journals and proceedings.
He has secured research funding from both industry and
government, with past and present funding from the Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency, Office of Naval Research,
Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Army Research Office,
NASA, Boeing, United Technologies Research Center, Bell
Helicopter, AgustaWestland, and others.
Gandhi joins Rensselaer from Pennsylvania State University,
where he served as professor of aerospace engineering and
deputy director of the Penn State Vertical Lift Research Center
of Excellence. In his 17 years at Penn State, he served as
adviser to 17 doctoral students and 32 master’s degree
At Rensselaer, Gandhi will introduce the new undergraduate
course Smart and Adaptive Structures. Looking ahead,
he plans to offer new graduate courses in rotorcraft.
“Rensselaer has a rich and important legacy in aerospace
engineering, and I am immensely pleased to join as a faculty
member in the School of Engineering,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi is active in his field. He served on the American
Helicopter Society (AHS) Technical Council from 2007–09, and he
was technical chair of the AHS 2009 Annual Forum. Additionally,
he served as co-chair of the 2010 International Conference on
Adaptive Structures and Technologies (ICAST). Gandhi is a past
chair of the AHS Aircraft Design Technical Committee and the
AHS Dynamics Technical Committee. He is a member of the
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
Adaptive Structures Committee, the International Society for
Optics and Photonics’ Smart Structures Program Committee, and
the ICAST Organizing Committee.
He serves as associate editor of the Journal of
Intelligent Material Systems and Structures and the
Journal of the American Helicopter Society.
Additionally, he was guest editor of a 2001 special issue of
Smart Materials and Structures Journal on rotorcraft
applications, and for a 2010 Journal of Intelligent
Material Systems and Structures special issue on flexible
skins for morphing aircraft.
Gandhi has garnered many awards and honors for his work. In
1997, he received the Army Research Office Young Investigator
Award, and in 1998 he won the Francois Xavier Bagnoud Award
from the American Helicopter Society. Gandhi won a Popular
Mechanics Breakthrough Award in 2007, and the Penn State
Engineering Society’s Outstanding Research Award in 2009. He
was recognized with the AHS Forum Best Aircraft Design Paper
awards in 2002 and 2009, and the University of Bristol’s
Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professorship in 2009-10. Gandhi is an
associate fellow of the AIAA.
Gandhi earned his bachelor’s degree in aeronautical
engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and
his master’s and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering from
the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center at the University of
The Redfern Chair is among the five named School of
Engineering endowed professorships awarded this year. Along
with Gandhi, geomicrobiology expert Yuri Gorby was named the
Howard N. Blitman ’50 P.E. Career Development Professor in
Engineering; fluid dynamics expert Miki
Amitay was named the James L. Decker ’45 Endowed Chair in
Aerospace Engineering; nanomaterials expert Nikhil
Koratkar was named the John A. Clark and Edward T. Crossan
Professor of Engineering, and nanotechnology expert Linda
Schadler was named the Russell Sage Professor. An endowed
professorship is among the highest honors bestowed upon a
faculty member at Rensselaer.
Contact: Michael Mullaney
Phone: (518) 276-6161