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KU Aerospace Short Courses

Free Aerospace Webinars

Be sure to also check out our online courses.

The KU Aerospace Short Course Program presents free webinars, presented by our industry expert instructors. Webinars are offered throughout the year on various topics. You may view previously broadcast webinars below.

Frequently-asked Questions About Our Webinars

We typically offer five History of Airplane Design webinars per year. The topics for the year are announced with our fall catalog.

The KU Aerospace Short Course Program utilizes Zoom to present its webinars. We have found Zoom to be a reliable and user-friendly platform for webinar dissemination. More information about Zoom can be found on the Zoom website.

History of Airplane Design webinars are available for viewing following the live presentation. We do not currently plan to provide access to past webinars in this series (2018 or earlier).

If your company is interested in licensing the History of Airplane Design webinar series, please contact us at

Please call 913-897-8776 or email

Current Webinars

View our current list of webinars and enroll today.

Previous Webinars

Recordings of previous webinars are available below for viewing.

Aerospace - General Interest

How many times have you been faced with questions about FAA Airworthiness approvals? Can you navigate the requirements of approving a product or article under the FAA regulations, directives, and guidance materials? This webinar will give you a glimpse into the regulatory aspects related certifying a product or article, the roles of the people involved, and determining that product or article is airworthy.

Travis L. Dahna

Mar. 6, 2024

View Stepping Into FAA Airworthiness Requirements.

When you get on a commercial aircraft for a business or pleasure trip, you expect that the aircraft has gone through a process that ensures the aircraft is safe for that trip. Yes, it has, and that process is overseen by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). But what if you're in the U.S. Military and boarding a military aircraft? Has it been through a similar process and who oversees that process? This webinar provides an overview of the process: who the safety authorities in the military are, what testing may be required, and how long it may take to do that testing. The webinar also briefly lists other items that may be required to obtain the U.S. Military Airworthiness Certification for a new aircraft version or to modify an existing aircraft version. The official class, MIL-STD Qualification: Purpose, Testing and Design Considerations, delves into these topics and how to conduct these tests.

Tom Cash

Feb. 28, 2024

View U.S. Military Airworthiness Certification: The What's, Why's and How's


Max Kismarton

Sept. 27, 2023

There are many innovations in composites manufacturing and design that are needed to accelerate and improve the fabrication and assembly of composite aircraft. Instructor Max Kismarton discusses some of the work being done to improve the speed and quality of composite commercial jet manufacturing to enable future single aisle programs.

View Advances in Composite Aircraft Manufacturing 


Mark Ewing

July 12, 2023   

This webinar presents several case studies of aircraft structural failures which have changed aircraft structural design - and airworthiness requirements - for the better over the past century. The problems, now solved, range from inadequate strength to failure to understand a fundamental misunderstanding of material properties. The discussion also covers some basic principles of analysis and design used in the aircraft industry today.

View Sobering Stories of Aircraft Structural Inadequacy

Mark Swaney

May 24, 2023

Modern aircraft and air vehicles of the future will have a plethora of avionics systems that must be integrated into various types of air vehicles and must be thoroughly tested to provide for safe operation in multiple environments. Manned, unmanned, and autonomous aircraft will consist of everything from small package delivery drones to passenger-carrying air vehicles operating above populated areas or remote areas. Military and public use aircraft will also make use of newly designed and sophisticated avionics systems. This webinar will review the basics of current avionics flight test procedures and discuss challenges coming as a result of what may be considered the next revolution in aviation. 

View Will Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Drive Changes to Avionics Systems Flight Testing?

Josh Sementi

November 16, 2022

eVTOL configurations are currently in development at multiple companies in the US and around the world. These configurations do not necessarily fit well into existing aircraft / rotorcraft categorizations. This webinar presentation will review the current proposed EASA criteria, as well as relevant Part 27 Rotorcraft and ASTM/Part 23 Aircraft applicable regulations which are appropriate to consider in developing a safe configuration.

View Loads and Dynamics Criteria and Considerations

George Cusimano

August 21, 2019

In the world of Unmanned Aerial Systems (including pilotless air taxi "drones"), not having a pilot physically on board the aircraft is problematic at best, and could be hazardous.

Without a pilot on board, everything a pilot normally does (situation-based responses) must be pre-programmed into the vehicle (rule-based responses). As a result, if something unexpected occurs, such as an unanticipated failure state, an anomalous vehicle upset due to something like wind shear, or conflicting traffic that could result in a mid-air collision, then the on-board software must be agile and complex enough to respond accordingly. This means essentially taking what is in your head as a human and putting it into a computer without making any mistakes and accounting for all "what if" conditions.

This problem becomes even more acute when flight testing these vehicles. In addition to the challenges already noted above, during flight test:

  • All data must be obtained via "instrumentation. We no longer have the supplemental information provided by an on-board observer
  • All flight test unique maneuvers must be pre-programmed and are usually up-linked to the vehicle. Some of these maneuvers are designed to evaluate the open loop response of the vehicle which is counter intuitive to closed loop computer-controlled system design logic

Without a pilot on board the aircraft, situational based intelligence and adaptive control are severely compromised. What are we to do? Tune in to this free webinar and find out!

View the recorded webinar

James Lawson

July 24, 2019

EVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft and the urban air mobility concept of operation pose a unique set of challenges. Nevertheless, the opportunity exists - using electric and hybrid-electric technologies - to create novel fault tolerant and redundant architectures. This webinar provides a quick introduction to the safety continuum, systems safety and its application within this new space.

View the recorded webinar

Thomas N. Taylor

September 26, 2018

In today's modern aircraft there is a greater reliance on highly integrated electrical systems in performing critical airplane functions. The Electrical Wiring Interconnection System (EWIS) is now seen as an essential component to the overall safety of the airplane. Join KU Aerospace Short Course instructor Thomas Taylor as he presents a webinar on the requirements and methodology used in developing the EWIS safety analysis.

View the recorded webinar

Harold Rosenstein

August, 2018

From the earliest simplistic attempts to figure out vertical flight to the modern age of tiltrotor transport configuration, composites fuselages and rotors and fly-by-wire control systems, join Harold Rosenstein as he presents a webinar on rotorcraft history and development.

View the recorded webinar

Instructor: Thomas N. Taylor

May 23, 2018

Safety concerns associated with aging electrical wiring on commercial aircraft and the increased reliance on electrical systems on new aircraft have highlighted the need for greater regulatory control over the electrical wiring and components. Join Thomas Taylor as he presents a free webinar on the history of Electrical Wiring Interconnection System (EWIS), along with an overview of the FAA regulations and advisory material used in demonstrating compliance for aircraft certification.

View the recorded webinar.

Instructor: Albert Helfrick, PhD, PE

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

In this webinar Albert Helfrick traces avionics development from early radio beacons to satellite navigation and the technology required to support the next generation of air transportation. For more than a decade after the Wrights' 1903 flight, use of aircraft was limited due to the lack of two-way airborne communications and radio-based navigation systems. Early experiments with communications culminated in successful two- way voice radio from an aircraft in 1917. Thus avionics was born. Radio navigation quickly followed, with many of the early advances in avionics being fueled by the explosive growth of radio broadcasting, which provided ample revenue for improved electronics.

View the recorded webinar

Instructor: Andrew Appleton

Thursday, October 27, 2016

5:30 p.m. Central Time

This webinar will highlight some key Human Factors principles as they apply to the design and modification of aircraft cockpits. It will also briefly discuss some key Human Factors considerations for aircraft maintenance.

Webinar discussion will include:

  1.  What is Human Factors?
  2.  Person/Environment/Technology (PET) Principle of Human Factors
  3.  System of Systems Approach to Applying Human Factors
  4.  Anthropometrics—Fitting the Aircraft to the Human
  5.  The Impact of Aircraft Design/Modification on Human Workload/Situational Awareness
  6.  Don’t Neglect the Aircraft Maintainers!

View the recorded webinar

Instructor: Jose Mora-Vargas

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

11:00 a.m.–Noon CT

This webinar highlights basic regulatory aspects related to the protection of airplane cabin occupants when the airframe is subject to crash load conditions within human tolerance, and emphasizes crashworthiness design objectives that would allow passengers to safely and rapidly evacuate the airplane.

Webinar discussion will include:

  • Aircraft Type Certification and Supplemental Type Certification
  • FAA and EASA Regulatory Material
  • Cabin & Seats Compliance Inspection
  • Participant questions answered by the presenter

View the recorded webinar.

Instructor: Dr. Wayne Stout

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

11:00 a.m.–Noon CT

What are some possible directions for aircraft flight control systems? What are the next steps in the evolution of flight control, which are achievable today? Have we truly considered all the possibilities for mechanically actuated systems? What are the possibilities for fly by wire systems? What about single pilot operation?

In this free live webinar, Dr. Wayne Stout will examine flight control systems, and present ideas for potential evolution of those systems. He will review secondary flight control systems and primary flight control. He will also discuss potential single pilot control (Part 25), and the pilot/flight control interface. Finally, Dr. Stout will suggest a unified concept for flight control. The webinar is primarily focused on Part 23 and Part 25 commercial aircraft.

Attendees who will benefit from this webinar include flight control engineers, aerodynamic and stability control engineers, autopilot engineers, system engineers, aerospace students, pilots and anyone interested in the evolution of flight control.

View the recorded webinar

Instructor: Herbert Tuttle

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Two key components of any project are the budget and the project deadline. Everyone on the project team feels the stress when budget overruns occur, one or more scheduled deadlines are missed, and completion of the project must be extended. The presenter will discuss the responsibilities of both project leaders and individual team members—how both groups contribute to the problem, and how they can work individually and collectively to ensure that any given project stays on budget and is completed on schedule. No matter where you work, project management best practices can be applied to nearly any project, at any level.

View the recorded webinar

Instructor: C.P. (Case) van Dam

February 24, 2016

Active control of flow over wings, tails, and rotors is receiving significant attention in Europe and the United States. The goal of flow control is to improve airplane cruise and takeoff & landing performance, lower emissions and aeroacoustic noise, improve passenger comfort and to mitigate fatigue and/or extreme loading. This webinar will present an overview of the field of active flow control. Recent experimental results obtained with active lift control techniques will be highlighted.

View this webinar to learn:

  • About different flow control techniques
  • How active aerodynamic control is considered to mitigate fluctuations in lift due to gusts and other flow variations
  • Ways to study this problem computationally as well as experimentally

Who will benefit from viewing this webinar:

  • Aeronautical engineers
  • Controls and aerodynamics engineers in wind power
  • Rotorcraft engineers
  • Educators
  • Students focused on research in aerodynamics and/or fluid mechanics

View the recorded webinar

Instructor: Willem A.J. Anemaat

January 27, 2016

Often during preliminary airplane design, trim is not analyzed soon enough, and is one of the bigger issues during flight testing. If tail and control surfaces end up being too small or in the wrong location, and this is not discovered until the flight testing phase, major delays in certification, production and airplane sales can result.

Airplane designers and stability and control engineers will benefit from this webinar, along with industry professionals who want to become better versed in this topic.

View this webinar to learn:

  • What is trim, and how you can alter a design to make sure the airplane is trimmable
  • How trim differs in conventional tail aft, canard and three-surface aircraft
  • How trim affects tail and canard design at forward and aft centers of gravity
  • How trim relates to take-off rotation

View the recorded webinar

History of Airplane Design

Recordings of Dr. Roskam's webinars are available below for viewing.

History of Airplane Design Webinars

Dr. Jan Roskam led numerous webinars on airplane design during his years with the Aerospace Short Course Program. Sadly, Dr. Roskam passed away in 2022, but recordings of his webinars are still available to view for free using the links below. Each one-hour webinar focuses on specific companies and their contributions to the commercial, military and transport aircraft industries. Learn from a legend in aircraft design how some of today's best known companies got started, persevered or went bankrupt, merged or made it on their own. 

History of Airplane Design

Jan Roskam

July 20, 2022

Join Dr. Jan Roskam, founder of the KU Aerospace Short Course Program and Professor Emeritus of the KU School of Engineering, as he relates how airplane design history contains many examples of design mistakes which, sadly, resulted in fatalities. Examples to be discussed are: the Martin 202, De Havilland Comet I, Vickers Vanguard and several others.

View Airplane Design Lessons Learned the Hard Way


Jan Roskam

May 18, 2022

Dr. Jan Roskam discusses how the Wichita aircraft industry began and blossomed into Cessna, Beech, Stearman/Boeing, Learjet and Bombardier. Wichita, correctly, called itself the Air Capitol of the world. Nothing lasts forever and in 2022 only Textron (with Cessna and Beech as brand names) and Spirit Aerosystems (which used to be Boeing) are left.

View Beginning, Rise and Decline of the Wichita, KS Aircraft Industry

Jan Roskam

April 20, 2022

In part two of his Overview of Unusual Configurations series, Dr. Roskam discusses how designers may select an unusual configuration to out-perform an existing configuration or to improve some aspect of handling qualities, thereby improving safety. Amongst these examples are: Blohm & Voss Bv-141, Piaggio P-180 Avanti, Cessna 337, Rutan VariViggen, Rutan Varieze, Rutan Defiant, Rutan Catbird, Rutan Boomerang and several others.

View History of Airplane Design: Overview of Unusual Configurations, Part 2

Jan Roskam

March 16, 2022

In Part One of his Overview of Unusual Configurations series, Dr. Roskam discusses how designers may select an unusual configuration to meet a novel mission requirement.  Amongst these examples are: McDonnell XF-85 Goblin, NASA AD-1, Rutan Solitaire, Rutan Voyager, Rutan Proteus, Rutan Whiteknight, Rutan Spaceship One and several others. 

View History of Airplane Design: Overview of Unusual Configurations, Part 1

Jan Roskam

October 20, 2021

In part two of this two-part series, Dr. Roskam profiles additional airplane manufacturers, including Shorts, Saunders-Roe, Britten-Norman, Armstrong-Whitworth, Cirrus, Diamond, PZL and Pipistrel.

View Airplane Manufacturers Mix Part II webinar

Jan Roskam

September 15, 2021

In part one of this two-part series, Dr. Jan Roskam discusses a variety of airplane manufacturers, including SAAB, Embraer, Blohm & Voss, Fieseler, Mooney and Aero Commander.

View Airplane Manufacturers Mix Part 1 webinar

Jan Roskam

June 16, 2021

Dr. Jan Roskam offers a detailed account of the Japanese airplane manufacturers, including Kawanishi, Kawasaki, Mitsubishi, Nakajima and Kyushu.

View Japanese Airplane Manufacturers webinar

Jan Roskam

May 12, 2021

In part two of this two-part series, Dr. Roskam expands on his discussion of Russian airplane manufacturers, including Tupolev, Sukhoi and Antonov.

View Russian Airplane Manufacturers Part 2 webinar

Jan Roskam

April 21, 2021

In part one of this two-part webinar series, Dr. Jan Roskam profiles Russian airplane manufacturers, including Ilyushin, MIG, Yakolev and Berlev.

View Russian Airplane Manufacturers Part 1 webinar

Jan Roskam

November 4, 2020

Dr. Jan Roskam profiles the English Airplane Manufacturers, including Miles, Westland, Fairey, Percival, Gloster and Blackburn.

View the recorded webinar

Jan Roskam

October 7, 2020

Dr. Jan Roskam profiles the English Airplane Manufacturers, including AVRoe, Vickers, Handley-Page, Hawker and Bristol.

View the recorded webinar

Jan Roskam

August 12, 2020

Dr. Jan Roskam profiles the French Airplane Manufacturers, including Nord, Breguet, Fouga, Sud, Moran-Saulnier, Bloch and Dassault..

View the recorded webinar

Jan Roskam

May 13, 2020

Dr. Jan Roskam profiles the Italian Airplane Manufacturers, including Aermacchi, SIAI-Marchetti, Piaggio, Fiat, Ambrosini and Caproni.

View the recorded webinar

Jan Roskam

February 19, 2020

Dr. Jan Roskam discusses the history of the German airplane manufacturers, including Junkers, Messerschmitt, Heinkel, Focke-Wulf, Arado and Dornier.

View the recorded webinar

Jan Roskam

November 13, 2019

Cessna built more airplanes than any company in the world. Beech innovated the popular King Air series. Piper developed the J-3 Cub and derivatives, and later the Comanche, Cherokee, Cherokee Seneca, Arrow and Navajo cabin class airplanes. Join Dr. Jan Roskam as he discusses the history of each of these companies, and profiles many of their popular airplanes.

View the recorded webinar

Dr. Jan Roskam will provide an overview of two of the industry's pioneering companies: Lockheed and Martin. He will discuss each company's contributions to the development of both military and commercial airplanes, from Lockheed's Skunk Works and their miracle airplanes to Martin's firsts, feats and failures.

Attend this webinar to learn more about:

  • How Lockheed translated their commercial success to aid the war effort.
  • The Lockheed 049 Constellation, which was later developed into the 1049 Super Constellation.
  • The Lockheed airplane program has been in continuous production since 1954.
  • Innovative airplanes built by Martin before they merged with Lockheed, including the MB-2 biplane bomber, the first all metal bomber, amphibious airplanes and the post-WWII XB-51 jet bomber.

View the recorded webinar

Jan Roskam

May 15, 2019

McDonnell Aircraft Corporation (of St. Louis, Missouri) specialized in jet fighter design and development, and was best known for its carrier-based aircraft. In 1967, the company merged with Douglas to form McDonnell Douglas Corporation. In 1997, it was merged into The Boeing Company. Boeing (now over a century old!) developed many famous bombing and transport airplanes. Its game-changing B-47 became the granddaddy of modern jet transports.

View the recorded webinar

Jan Roskam

June 12, 2019

The De Havilland Company (of Hatfield, England) was a vertically integrated, worldwide enterprise designing and building airplanes, engines (piston and jet), propellers and systems. Well-known examples of their commercial and military airplanes include the Dragon Rapide, Vampire, Venom, Sea-Vixen, Comet, Trident and Model 146. The historical importance of the less-known Albatross and Flamingo commercial transports will also be discussed.

Douglas (of Santa Monica, Long Beach and El Segundo, California) also created many commercial and military airplanes. Dr. Roskam will discuss the commercial examples the DC-1, -2 and -3, which were arguably the first successful modern transports using aluminum semi-monocoque construction, NACA engine cowls, retractable landing gear and a streamlined configuration. He will also cover the DC-8, 9 and 10 jet transports. For military examples, the WWII Dauntless dive bomber, Boston and Havoc (bomber/attack), as well as the Skynight, Skyray and Skyhawk jet fighters will be discussed.

View the recorded webinar


Do you have questions about our webinars? Please contact us at or 913-897-8457.