Professor John Weyrauch Retires

Students, faculty and staff offer congratulations and best wishes to John Weyrauch upon his retirement after seven years of service as Industrial Professor of Design.  John received his BS and MS in Aeronautical and Astronautical engineering from the University of Illinois. Before joining our faculty John worked for McDonnell Douglas, Honeywell, Rockwell Collins, and Alliant Techsystems (ATK). He is also the founder of the aerospace consulting company, Weyrauch Engineering.

During his 40 year industrial career John’s major projects included:

  1. Design and development of advanced weapon systems
  2. Research in cockpit and control systems for commercial and military aircraft
  3. Development of guidance, navigation, and control systems for hypersonic vehicles including the National Aero-Space Plane and boost glide vehicles
  4. Development of miniature inertial navigation systems for high-G weapon applications
  5. Development of fault tolerant inertial navigation concepts and system implementations
  6. Design of the  digital entry guidance, navigation, and control system for the Space Shuttle Orbiter
  7. Design of engine and flight control systems for the Harpoon missile.

John’s primary teaching responsibilities were the two required senior capstone design courses.  In these courses AEM seniors designed, built, and flew or tested a variety of aerospace vehicles, components or systems.  John served as a mentor and role model. He spent many hours working with students on their resumes and providing advice on employment expectations. He also participated in outreach activities, presenting pre-college students with information on Aerospace Engineering as a potential career path.  John served as a Program Evaluator for ABET, the international organization which accredits engineering programs.

Emeritus Professor, William Garrard, who worked with John on the Senior Design Course commented:

“John made major improvements in the way we teach design by introducing a systems engineering approach.  Student were presented with a concept of operation and some general performance requirements for a vehicle or system and then were required to develop more detailed design specifications. This approach is common in industry but for most students this was a new way of approaching problems and greatly enhanced their abilities to think creatively.  John also emphasized the so called “soft skills” which are essential to an engineer’s success. These included oral, graphical, and written communications; teamwork; scheduling of tasks and personnel; decision making; ethics; and interpersonal skills. John also was instrumental in obtaining design projects from industry and made industrial involvement a key element in design education. Many of the student projects won prizes at competitions including the SAE Aero Design Challenge and the NASA sponsored RASC-AL Space Systems Design Contest. John was extremely popular with students. In addition to his work in the design course, he mentored student in a variety of ways including reviewing their resumes and providing insight into what to expect in their first jobs after graduation.  John was a fantastic colleague and he will be missed by all of us.”

Professor and Department Head, Perry Leo, added: “John has been a tremendous asset to AEM for not only through his work with the design class, but also with mentoring students and helping them find success after graduation.  Prior to his teaching roles, John was a leader of the AEM Professional Advisory Board, and helped make that group into the great resource it remains today.  John has always been a trusted friend and adviser to the Department and to me personally.  I wish him all the best on his retirement and I look forward to having a beer with him soon.”