Aerospace major Shubhank Gyawali aims for the skies

Posted: May 10, 2021
Image of Shubhank Gyawali with a UAS standing outside of ARC; airport in the background
Shubhank Gyawali | submitted

Third-year aerospace engineering student Shubhank Gyawali has his eyes on the sky. As an undergraduate he’s involved in experiential research in the field of vertical flight. Now, his mission has just been boosted by a scholarship from the Vertical Flight Society.

Gyawali was awarded the $3500 Friedrich Straub Memorial Scholarship, joining 26 other undergraduate and graduate students recognized by the society this year for their achievements in vertical flight initiatives. The award was presented virtually at the VFS Grand Awards Ceremony on May 5.

“I am pleased and grateful to receive the award alongside such an exceptional group of students from all over the world,” said Gyawali, who is a student research assistant at The Ohio State University Aerospace Research Center (ARC).

“This scholarship has helped me get acquainted with the Vertical flight society and its members. I plan to use the funds to advance my research, and it will help me create a foundation from which I can further develop myself personally, socially and professionally.”

Looking upwards

Gyawali is passionate about vertical flight and its potential applications.

“I believe vertical flight will be the future of transportation,” he said. “Our world revolves around evolution and efficiency. In our pursuit of a fast-paced society, a new method of travel in urban cities is essential.”

His trajectory towards developing next generation transportation began in his native Nepal, stayed with him while at Ohio State’s Lima campus and has propelled forward during his two years at the Columbus Campus.

“With technological advancements, I am certain vertical flights will help us redefine our methods of traveling. More importantly, it will bring people closer," he shared.

Gyawali is involved in multiple vertical flight initiatives on campus. Perhaps his most rewarding is working in ARC’s Aerodynamic Flow Control and Advanced Diagnostics (AFCAD) Research Group. There, advised by Professor Jim Gregory and Research Scientist Matt McCrink, he’s completing his undergraduate thesis project focused on control algorithms for emerging advanced air mobility vehicle designs.

The next stop on Gyawali’s journey is graduate school, then a career in vertical flight. “The long-term goal would be [to] live a life that ensures the next generation has better resources and opportunities than we had,” he shared.

Short term, he’s hopeful that his recent scholarship will encourage others interested in vertical flight to apply for future Vertical Flight Society awards and scholarships.

His advice for other Ohio State students interested in vertical flight?

“Just enjoy it and try to get involved in related clubs or research in campus,” he said. “There are many others who share the same interests and we all can learn from each other.”