David Voracek, Center Chief Technologist, Dryden Flight Research Center
David Voracek has worked at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center since 1987. He is currently the NASA Dryden Center Chief Technologist. He received his degree in Aerospace Engineering from Iowa State in 1986, Masters of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Northrop University in Los Angeles CA in 1991, and a Master’s of Science in Systems Architecture and Engineering from USC in 2008.
He started as a research engineer in structural dynamics working on flight research programs such as F-16XL, X-29, and High Alpha Research Vehicle doing ground vibration testing and flight flutter testing. His research included flight flutter techniques, active structural damping, and piezoelectric systems tests. In 1995, David was the chief engineer for the F/A-18 Systems Research Aircraft. He worked with the technologists from NASA and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to integrate their experiments to the aircraft, coordinate the technical engineering staff, and give technical briefings. The technology included EMA and EHA systems, fiber optic engine sensors, Integrated Structural Antenna, and structural excitation systems. David’s duties included being a mission controller and flight test engineer for the flights. David accumulated 25 hours as a flight test engineer in the backseat of the F/A-18 aircraft during his time as the SRA Chief Engineer.
From 1998 to 2002, David was assigned as the chief engineer for the Active Aeroelastic Wing Project (X-53). This was a joint AFRL, Boeing, and NASA project. David led the formulation team that developed the research objectives and requirements for the flight project. He led the technology and engineering staff from the requirements development and through the flight characterization of the aircraft. He set the ground work for the control law requirements and helped develop the verification process for the flight controls. David worked five years in the Business Development office working with other government agencies and industry in formulation of technology development programs. David was the manager of the $1M Dryden Flight Research and Productivity Tools project. This project was a competitive technology development IRAD program at Dryden.
In 2008 he was appointed the Deputy Director for Research and Engineering where he helped to supervise a 143 person Directorate and managed the Research budget. In April 2010, David took a temporary assignment to NASA HQ to help in the formulation of the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist. In November 2010, David was appointed the NASA Dryden Center Chief Technologist.