ly cancelled 2707 supersonic transport. Arrangements
department’s new syllabus and curriculum based on
were made with Boeing for donation of one of the
conceiving, designing, implementing and operating
mockups, which was flown from the manufacturer to
aerospace and related engineering systems. “I wish we
Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, MA aboard an
had more of that when I was there. But we always
Air National Guard C-130 and then trucked to MIT.
found a way. We had no flight deck, so we built one.
“We had to knock down a cinderblock wall in
We had no soaring club, so we started one. No one
Building 35 to get it in,” says Imrich. Together with
told us things couldn’t be done or that they might be
grad student Bob Anderson, and Division of
hard, so we just did it.”
Sponsored Research staff member Mark Connelly he
Imrich says both the education he received and the
combined an old Adage graphics computer with some salvaged CRTs to transform the mockup into a homemade 707 simulator.
people he met during his years with MIT have played an instrumental role his career. “MIT gave me the solid engineering technical foundation I needed. And,
While the story is a pleasant tale of youthful pluck,
I continue to interact with former classmates and fac-
Imrich points out that it is more than that because the
ulty on issues of common interest.” Imrich stays in
simulator provided useful research outcomes for the
close contact with the Aero-Astro Department, often
aeronautical world. He was the first of several stu-
agreeing to participate on committees and review
dents who used the simulator for their theses.
boards. He also is occasionally found back in the class-
Imrich’s project used the machine to examine com-
room, speaking to students about his career.
puterized air traffic display, then in its infancy, and the
Imrich considers himself fortunate for having come of
forerunner of today’s universal traffic alert and collision-avoidance system.
age in the early part of what he calls “the modern jet era,” placing him in a position to experience a variety
“I strongly support the department’s new dedication
of firsts in aircraft developments and safety improve-
to the ‘hands-on’ approach,” says Imrich referring to
ments. His post-MIT career started with an active-
curriculum changes in the last few years that stress
duty stint in the U.S. Air Force, where he was
design and workshop-based projects as well as the
involved in groundbreaking work on windshear
learning of engineering science. He’s a big fan of the
avoidance, an expertise that drew the attention of the
Alumni Profile: Thomas Imrich
Annual Report 2003-2004