News Notes

By Dale Atkinson


Navy LCDR Christian Ross

Navy LCDR Christian Ross finished his tour as the Joint Aircraft Survivability Program (JASP) military Deputy Program Manager and Joint Live Fire (JLF)/ Aircraft Systems Joint Test Director in September 2017. As Joint Test Director, LCDR Ross managed and brought into publishing more than 25 JLF projects from 2009 through 2017. These projects have focused on maintaining awareness of emerging threats, such as advanced anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) and directed energy weapons; improving methods of test and evaluation (T&E) in a live fire test and evaluation (LFT&E) environment; and providing responses to Warfighter needs, thus increasing the capabilities of our fighting forces at home and abroad.

LCDR Ross enlisted in the Navy in 1996 and received his commission as a naval flight officer in 2002. He completed two successful 7th Fleet (ASIA) deployments as a navigator and tactical coordinator with the Patrol Squadron One (VP-1) Screaming Eagles. His follow-on tour was as a 7th Fleet Task Group Watch Officer at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, providing mission support to deployed P-3C squadrons.

LCDR Ross then embarked on the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) as the V3 (Hanger) and V2 (Launch and Recovery) division officer. He also earned his Launch and Recovery (Shooter) qualifications, capping off a successful disassociated sea tour. He holds an Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) from the Naval Postgraduate School and will pursue a second career in government service.

The JASP thanks LCDR Ross for his support over the last 2 years and congratulates him on his 20 years of distinguished military service.


The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) has selected Dr. Vincent Volpe as the recipient for its 2018 AIAA Survivability Award. The award—which was presented at the organization’s annual Science and Technology Forum and Exposition (SciTech 2018) in Kissimmee, FL, on 8–12 January—was in recognition of Vincent’s pioneering efforts as a founding member of the AIAA and National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Survivability Technical Committee (STCs), as well as more than 40 years of outstanding technical contributions to the aircraft survivability community. These contributions include extensive work in the preliminary and detailed design, test, analysis, manufacturing, and repairability of fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, spacecraft, and surface vehicles.

Vincent also has been a leader in live fire testing and evaluation (LFT&E); advanced composite materials characterization; development of survivability-enhancing design features; development of combat and environmentally resistant material coatings; and determination of vehicle damage tolerance to a variety of ballistic, laser, infrared, and microwave threats. He also has helped develop innovative emerging technologies and multi-discipline engineering integration; improve vehicle durability, safety, and damage diagnostics; and optimize susceptibility, vulnerability, and personnel force protection.

Dr. Vincent Volpe

Holding a B.S. in aerospace engineering and an M.S. in applied mechanics from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, as well as a Ph.D. in applied mechanics from the Polytechnic Institute of New York (now New York University), Vincent began his career at Grumman Aerospace Corporation in 1974, where he investigated the structural response and formulation of advanced organic and metal matrix composite materials and structures. He became a pioneer in the area of laser and microwave effects on advanced composites structures, and much of this work is still state-of-the art after four decades. In 1983, he was chosen to form and direct Grumman’s first Survivability Group in the Engineering Directorate, where he managed efforts to address overall aircraft system survivability and all design aspects that would enhance susceptibility and vulnerability.

While at Grumman, Vincent also worked on the preliminary and detailed design, testing, and repair of numerous military and civil aircraft, spacecraft, land, and marine systems. These systems included the F-14A/D, E-2C, A-6E/F, B-1A, EF-111, A-10, X-29, OV-1, and J-STARS, as well as the M1 and M2/M3 armored vehicles and foreign military hydrofoils. Nonmilitary systems included the DC-8 engine nacelles and empennage structures for the Boeing 757 and 737; NASA’s Space Shuttle Wing, Space Station, and Hubble Telescope programs; and the DeLorean automobile. Throughout these efforts, Vincent provided a balanced and integrated engineering systems approach to produce effective, affordable, durable, and survivable vehicles. On several occasions, he also participated in joint technology exchange programs with U.S., British, German, French, Swedish, Israeli, and Italian aerospace companies, thus further extending the company’s reputation internationally.

From 1994 through 1997, Vincent was associated with United Technologies’ Pratt and Whitney Division as well as the Arkwin Corporation. At Pratt and Whitney, he worked as a senior project engineer on a variety of advanced composites engine nacelle programs, including the Airbus 330 and Boeing 777 aircraft. At Arkwin, he was Vice President of Engineering, responsible for product design, test, and engineering support for numerous civil and military aircraft hydraulic components for a multitude of General Electric aircraft engines, fixed-wing aircraft (Boeing 737 and 777, Gulfstream IV, F-22, V-22, and B-2), and several military and commercial helicopters.

Vincent joined the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) in 1997, where he serves as the project leader for Rotary Wing Aircraft LFT&E programs. He is responsible for the technical oversight and evaluation of all military helicopter programs’ LFT&E activities, including the Navy’s CH-53E/K, CMV-22B, VH-92A, H-1 Upgrades, and MH-60S/R; the Army’s CH-47F, AH-64D/E, UH-60M/V, and OH-58D/F; the Air Force’s Combat Rescue Helicopter; and Special Operations Aviation Aircraft. In support of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), he performs evaluation analyses, prepares and provides overall survivability assessments with pertinent technical information for the preparation of their LFT&E and Integrated Survivability Evaluation write-ups for Beyond Low Rate Initial Production Reports and Annual Reports to the Secretary of Defense and the U.S. Congress.

In addition, he has supported selected activities on the Navy’s MV-22 and F-18 and the Air Force’s F-22, C-130, B-2, and B-1B aircraft by providing expert opinions on structural response/failure, advanced composite materials, ballistic testing, directed energy effects, and overall system survivability/vulnerability.

Currently, Vincent is working with a team of engineers in the review, analysis, and preparation of a series of reports for DOT&E for the combat data analysis of fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft collected for the Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and ongoing conflicts. These reports provide relevant statistics, lessons learned, and recommendations for the subject aircraft. Vincent is also involved with the advancement of the technical cooperation between military and civil aviation agencies (including the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, NASA, and the Transportation Security Agency) in the areas of low-power laser and ballistic protection.

In addition to his direct work responsibilities, Vincent has remained actively involved with the aircraft design and survivability technical community in numerous ways. He has been an invited speaker for the Naval Postgraduate School; for the AIAA lectures at the Polytechnic, Stony Brook, and Hofstra Universities in New York; and for numerous technical meetings and symposia. Moreover, he has made more than 70 presentations at various aircraft survivability and structures conferences and symposia and has authored more than 80 papers and reports (including numerous articles in the Aircraft Survivability journal). Also, as mentioned previously, Vincent was a founding member of the AIAA and NDIA STCs, served as the third AIAA STC Chairman, and has been the Chairman/key organizer for several National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Aircraft Survivability symposia and workshops.

Congratulations, Vincent, on this well-deserved award.


Mike Weisenbach

After 33 years of federal service, Mike Weisenbach has retired. Mike started his government career in 1984, after graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a B.S. in aerospace engineering. His first assignment was at the Development Planning Directorate of the Aeronautical Systems Center at Wright Patterson AFB, OH. Under the tutelage of Gerry Bennett, Mike started making vulnerability estimates for conceptual aircraft designs. He also began his focus on the cross-Service application of vulnerability and survivability models and simulations (M&S), and he started working with the Joint Technical Coordinating Group on Aircraft Survivability (JTCG/AS) as a project engineer, leading projects that would improve survivability M&S for all Services and industry.

From 1994 to 1999, Mike used his expertise in M&S to support live fire test and evaluation projects, where he supported the C-17 and F-22 LFT&E programs. It was during this period that he began working with Hugh Griffis, whom he credits as being the second major influence on his career.

Mike then accepted a JTCG/AS central office position, which was collocated with the Aerospace Survivability Research Facility (now part of the 704 Test Group). As the Deputy Program Manager for the Methodology Subgroup, Mike made it his first priority to capture a concept begun by the Air Force Studies and Analyses organization to host a meeting of model users, developers, and managers. Originally, these meetings were referred to as “DEAFCRAB” meetings (which reflected the names of the models discussed at the meeting—DREAM, ESAMS, ALARM, FASTGEN, COVART, RADGUNS, AJEM, and BRAWLER). In 2003, the JTCG/AS became the Joint Aircraft Survivability Program, the Methodology Subgroup became the Survivability Assessment Subgroup, and DEAFCRAB became the JASP Model Users Meeting (JMUM). After being executed continuously since 1998 in various formats, JMUM was designated as a JASP Core Function in 2016.

Mike’s leadership in the JTCG/AS and JASP M&S activities over the past 20 years have helped to institutionalize the concepts of M&S capability, credibility, and usability, which will continue to serve the Department of Defense for years to come.

Thank you for all your efforts in aircraft survivability, Mike, and congratulations on your retirement.


Levelle Mahood, 81, passed away peacefully on 15 November 2017 at home after a long illness. Levelle was a fuel system survivability expert who travelled with me to Vietnam in 1967 as part of an Air Force team of experts from the Flight Dynamics Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Here, we gained additional insight into the causes of aircraft losses, which we then applied to Air Force aircraft, such as the F-4, F-105, F-15, A-10, and C-130. Later, back at Wright-Patterson, I can still remember seeing him in a C-130 fuel tank cutting fire and explosion suppression foam with an electric knife to make it fit. He became a renowned fuel system survivability expert and worked at Northrop-Grumman for many years. Levelle is survived by his wife, Dottie, of 55 years and his two children.