Farhan Gandhi named Hassan A. Hassan Distinguished Professor

A reception was held Friday to celebrate appointing the newly established Hassan A. Hassan Distinguished Professor at the NC State University Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. 

Farhan Gandhi, world-renowned for his research contributions to the field of eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft technologies, was selected for the prestigious position only after MAE spent several years searching for someone capable of filling the shoes of the professorship’s namesake. 

Hassan A. Hassan, late titan of the MAE department and legend in the field of aerospace engineering, helped to establish the professorship shortly before his passing in 2019 alongside his son Basil Hassan (BSAE ’88, MSAE ’90, and PhD AE ’93) and MAE Department Head Srinath Ekkad.

In 1962, Professor Hassan joined North Carolina State University as a full professor and spent 53 years at NC State before beginning his phased retirement in 2015. While at NC State, he was the major adviser to 34 doctoral students, he authored more than 200 publications, and has been recognized with numerous research awards; including the Alcoa Foundation Distinguished Engineering Research Award in 1987, the Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor in 1991, the NASA Public Service Medal in 1992, the R. J. Reynolds Co. Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research, and Extension in 1993, the AIAA Thermophysics Award in 1999, and the Alexander Holladay Medal For Excellence in 2004 – the highest honor bestowed on a faculty member by the NC State trustees.

Professor Hassan died at the age of 87 in 2019, but through his massive contributions to the field of Aerospace Engineering, and through his establishment of both the Dr. Hassan A. Hassan Distinguished Professorship, the Hassan A. Hassan Distinguished Lecture Series, and many more lasting contributions to the department, his legacy lives on.

Gandhi now plays an important role in carrying out that legacy in the MAE Department and at NC State University as a whole. According to Basil Hassan and Dr. Ekkad, the committee’s requirements for filling the professorship were as steep as Profesor Hassan’s mounting list of contributions to this institution – one such requirement being that the candidate had to be an AIAA Fellow – which with the addition of Gandhi, makes three faculty members who hold that position at MAE, including Ekkad and Angel Family Professor Jack Edwards.

Gandhi obtained his BTech in Aeronautical Engineering from IIT-Bombay in 1989, and his doctoral degree in Aerospace Engineering from The University of Maryland’s Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center in 1995. After 17 years on the Penn State Aerospace Faculty, he moved to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2012 as the Redfern Endowed Chair Professor in Aerospace Engineering.

With an academic career of more than 29 years, Gandhi has published around 360 technical papers in journals and major conference proceedings, and has advised 29 PhD students to graduation.  He currently leads a vibrant research group comprising of two research scientists and eight doctoral students.  On 12 occasions, Gandhi has been a plenary/keynote speaker at major technical conferences and has delivered prestigious named lectures such as the 2022 Royal Aeronautical Society’s Cierva Lecture in vertical lift, and the 2019 AIAA Adaptive Structures Lecture, among others.

In the area of multi-rotor eVTOL aircraft technologies, Gandhi’s group has conducted cutting edge research in the areas of multi-rotor/rotor-wing interactional aerodynamics, aeroacoustics, flight controls and eVTOL aircraft flying qualities, fault identification and fault tolerance, vibration reduction, eVTOL aircraft configuration design and analysis, and eVTOL aircraft flight testing.

Gandhi was joined by Ekkad and Basil Hassan along with some of MAE’s best and brightest Friday night to welcome his arrival into the department, and to honor Professor Hassan’s great legacy in the department and at NC State.

Also in attendance Friday was the new Dean of The College of Engineering, Jim Pfaendtner. 

Thank you to all those who came to celebrate this milestone at MAE, and congratulations to Farhan Gandhi, NC State University is thrilled to have you in the MAE Department and can’t wait to see what you Think and Do.