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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


AeroAstro Annual 1  

Annual Report 2003-2004

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