An interview with Eric Nguyen Van a PhD student at ISAE-SUPAERO working on the design and control of an electrical aircraft.
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An interview with Eric Nguyen Van a PhD student at ISAE-SUPAERO and ONERA working on the design and control of an electrical aircraft.
Q: Can you tell us about where you are coming from and what is your academic background before the PhD?
A: I come from Haute-Savoie, I studied mechanical engineering at EPFL and focused on aeronautics and aerospace during my studies.
Q: Why did you decide to enter a PhD program and why ISAE-SUPAERO?
A: After my studies, I wanted to work in aeronautics, with an interesting project and most of all continue to learn new competences. I found this thesis through ONERA’s website and it was allowing me to do all I wanted. Even if a PhD was not my first choice, I contacted my supervisors. We got along well and the subject really was fascinating so I decided to go ahead with it. I’m now a PhD student co-supervised by ISAE-SUPAERO and ONERA.
Q: Can you briefly explain the topic of your thesis?
A: I try to reduce aircraft drag by reducing the surfaces giving stability to the aircraft. An aircraft less stable is an aircraft that has less drag. In counter-part, it requires automatic stabilization systems. This is true except for the vertical tail, which is dimensioned to handle single engine failure. With the outbreaks of electric propulsion for aircraft, it is now possible to use differential thrust in order to reduce anyway the vertical tail. It is a completely new domain and my contribution is to assess this idea.
Q: How about life in Toulouse? Any recommendation to see, go there?
A: The good thing with Toulouse, it is that we can enjoy the bars and restaurants during the week and escape in the Pyrénées during the weekend ! Ski, hikes, climbing, paragliding, I can do everything that I miss when I’m far from mountains.
Q: What do you plan to do after your PhD thesis?
A: Continue in aeronautics, continue to learn new competences and why not take a new challenge ?
Ready to fly down with my paraglider on top of Massat in the Pyrénées.