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AEM spotlight:

AEM alumnus honored with Outstanding Achivement Award


Photo courtesy: MIT Aero/Astro
Eugene E. Covert

Dr. Eugene E. Covert, an alumnus of the Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics department, will receive a prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota on May 4, 2007.

Outstanding Achievement Awards are conferred to University alumni and alumna who have attained “unusual distinction” and demonstrated “outstanding achievement and leadership” in their respective field and community.
Dr. Covert certainly fits both categories.

Covert is a world-renowned aeronautical engineer who has received several prestigious awards, including the Daniel Guggenheim Medal. and is a fellow of the National Academy of Engineering. The  Daniel Guggenheim Medal is arguably the most distinguished award in the aerospace field.  Some of its recipients include Orville Wright, William Boeing and Charles Lindbergh.

Dr. Covert graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BAEM in 1946 and a Masters in Aeronautical Engineering in 1948.   He received a doctorate from at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1958.

Covert's career includes activities spanning the areas of research, teaching, and public service. His aeronautics career began in 1946 at the Naval Air Modification Unit's Pilotless Aircraft Division where he worked on projects leading to the Sparrow missile. In the 1950s he conducted tests on numerous aircraft types, including the famed F-4 Phantom, at the MIT Naval Supersonic Wind Tunnel. His interest in the problems of supporting aircraft models in wind tunnels led him to develop the world's first practical wind tunnel magnetic suspension system.

In the late 1970s, Covert served as chief scientist of the U.S. Air Force.
Robert Seamens, a former Professor and former Dean of the School of Engineering at MIT, served as Secretary of the Air Force with Covert.
“The Air Force had its share of technical issues related to its aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft during his tenure, and it was reassuring to know he was on deck at all times,” Seamens said of Covert. “His participation at meetings and on travel helped me to focus on the key problems; at the same time he often broke the tension of the moment with his incisive sense of humor.”

Later, Covert worked at NASA as a consultant on the Space Shuttle main engine and a member of the commission that examined the Challenger accident.

Michael Griffin, who leads NASA as its Administrator, said Covert and his expertise have “served NASA greatly” during his time on several committees, as well as during times of crisis, like the Challenger accident.
“His position on our investigation boards has ensured sound, reasonable analyses and conclusions,” he said. “As a student of space history, I consider Dr. Covert to be an engineer's engineer whose legacy is unsurpassed.”
William Garrard, AEM Professor, Director of the Minnesota Space Grant and former Department Head, echoed Griffin’s sentiments.
“The Department and the University of Minnesota are extremely proud of Dr. Covert’s many notable accomplishments.  As a recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award, he joins a very distinguished group of our alumni who have made enormous contributions to the aerospace field,” he said.

Last Modified: Tuesday, 24-Jul-2007 10:10:27 CDT -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation