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For Onur Bilgen, the opportunity to come to Old Dominion University was invaluable.

The assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering couldn't pass up an opportunity to work so closely with the NASA Langley Research Center and the National Institute of Aerospace, both located in Hampton.

"I would like to continue to contribute and rebuild the aerospace legacy here," said Bilgen, who relocated to this area from Swansea University in the United Kingdom last summer.

He'll get a start this summer. Bilgen has received a grant through the Summer Research Fellowship Program of ODU's Office of Research to design, model and test the first solid-state aircraft - a craft that, to the naked eye, would appear as if it was made out of a single piece of material.

"A fully solid-state aircraft has not been demonstrated due to the highly coupled and complex nature of such system," Bilgen said. "Such a vehicle has been the dream of academics, engineers and hobbyists in the field of aircraft design, including NASA, and of mine as well."

Engineers have developed semi-solid-state vehicles; however, the next challenge is to produce a vehicle that is solid-state in every sub-system, including control surfaces, propulsion and navigation.

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Published on: March 1, 2013