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The beginning of the 1990's was marked by the flight of Col. Jim Voss on STS-44 as a Mission Specialist. Voss has since flown on several missions and helped assemble the initial version of the International Space Station.
A major event for the department was the move into the new Aerospace Engineering Building that had been begun five years earlier. The new building (See Fig. 5.) contained enough office space for all faculty members and many graduate students. It also provided what we thought at the time was enough laboratory space. Another major event was the second change in department head in the history of the department. In 1992, after successfully guiding the department into the promised land of new facilities, Jim Williams returned to full time teaching. The author became department head with visions of the great opportunities that lay ahead. Enrollment in the engineering program was still decreasing, but demand for the aviation management program remained strong. Research funds were hard to get, but we had some plans. A flight simulator/air traffic control laboratory funded by a Federal Aviation Administration Airways Science grant, obtained by Williams and Kiteley, was added to the department assets.
Roy Hartfield (Ph.D., University of Virginia), with a specialty in non-obtrusive flow measurement joined the faculty in 1990. Hartfield is also a railroad enthusiast and in a former career was a contractor.
Jim Nichols retired in 1993, after 33 years of exemplary service as a faculty member, acting department head, program coordinator and principal design instructor. Ron Barrett, a enterprising graduate of the University of Kansas (twice) and the University of Maryland and a disciple of Jan Roskam was hired to teach airplane design, which he continues to do very well. At least equally as important, Barrett established an international reputation in the new field of adaptive aerospace structures and a laboratory in which unmanned aerial vehicles are currently being proto-typed. He received a Discover Magazine award in 1997 for his solid-state adaptive stabilator control for helicopter main rotors.
When Innocenti returned to Italy (the University of Pisa) in 1993, his position was filled by John B. Lundberg, another University of Texas at Austin graduate. John added to the department's capability in astrodynamics and controls. An excellent teacher, he developed a GPS laboratory and began the involvement of Auburn AE students in the NASA Reduced Gravity Experiment program. In 1999, John took a position at the Naval Surface Warfare Center.
Jim Williams retired in 1997 to do more flying and travel with his wife. After retirement, he was still involved in engineering accreditation as a visitor for several years. His retirement resulted in the loss of much expertise in viscous aerodynamics.
Don Spring retired from his second career in 1998 and Wichita State graduate, Anwar Ahmed, filled his position. Ahmed's specialties are experimental aerodynamics and fluid mechanics. He is especially interested in flow visualization and is very fond of water tunnels.