Rocky Hill, CT – Michael Francis, PhD, will deliver this year’s keynote address at the 43rd Annual Meeting and Dinner of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE), Thursday May 24, 2018, at the Red Lion Cromwell Hotel. CASE member Francis recently retired as Senior Fellow and Chief of Advanced Programs for United Technologies Research Center (UTRC), capping an illustrious career as an aerospace executive and technologist with positions in government, industry and academia, including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Department of Defense, the US Air Force Academy, Lockheed Martin, and General Atomics. Alan Epstein, CASE Member and vice president of technology and environment for Pratt & Whitney, described Francis as “… a leader and innovator, someone who pushed new concepts and made things happen.”
Best known for his work in unmanned air systems development while at the DARPA, Francis is recognized for significant contributions to the science and technologies of aeronautics through his leadership in the flight research of high performance manned and unmanned aircraft. Most recently, at UTRC he created and led its initiative in Autonomous and Intelligent Systems. From 2011 until 2015, he served in the dual role of Program Executive, Optionally Piloted and Autonomous Systems at Sikorsky Aircraft where he structured and guided the Sikorsky’s R&D program that ultimately led to the MATRIXTM autonomous technology suite and Sikorsky’s Autonomy Research Aircraft (SARA). Francis subsequently helped shape UTRC’s initiative in intelligent robotics and led other projects, including aircraft propulsion-enabled control.
Dr. Francis holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Aerospace Engineering Sciences from the University of Colorado, as well as an honorary Doctor of Science from that Institution. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He has served on major university aerospace engineering advisory boards, and currently serves on the NASA Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. He has authored or co-authored more than 40 open literature publications. Francis became a licensed private pilot in 1964.
Major awards include the AIAA Wright Brothers Lectureship; Smithsonian Air & Space Museum Trophy; the German Aerospace Society (DGLR) “Ehrennadel der Deutschen Luftfahrt” Medal; the AIAA Distinguished Service Award; the AIAA Hap Arnold Award for Aeronautical Program Management; the Israel Society of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Von Karman Memorial Lecture; and the Aviation Week & Space Technology Aerospace Laurels Award.