Meet the Team

IMG_3266_2Doug Hunsaker – Faculty
E-mail | Publications | LinkedIn

Doug Hunsaker is an assistant professor in the department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering working on improving aircraft design and optimization methods. His research areas focus on computational methods ranging from potential flow to full RANS CFD for both 2D and 3D modeling and optimization. These research efforts are currently directed towards supporting the improved aircraft efficiency interests of NASA and the Air Force Research Lab as well as the rapid design and optimization needs of the emerging drone industry. Doug also has a strong interest in studying unsteady flows as they pertain to flapping flight.

Prior to joining the faculty at Utah State University, Doug worked for four years in industry, which included work at Scaled Composites on the Stratolaunch and SpaceShipTwo programs, as well as consulting work for multiple drone companies. He has done aerodynamic, design, or consulting work for Sandia National Labs, AeroVironment, Flying Sensors, the MAGICC Lab, Vayu, and other non-disclosable companies.

His teaching experience and interests include aerodynamics, flight dynamics, flight simulation, optimization, and statistics.

Post Doctorate Research Associate

Oisin TongOisin Tong

Oisin is a postdoctoral researcher in Computational Fluid Dynamics. Oisin graduated from Utah State University with his Ph.D and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and his B.Eng in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Limerick.


The strand grid method provides a unique approach to fully automated near-body mesh generation. We couple this meshing approach with the high-order flux correction method. Flux correction is a novel method of obtaining near fourth-order accuracy on strand grids. Unlike most high-order methods under investigation today, the flux correction method uses a node-centered finite volume method as a starting point to which truncation error-canceling terms are added to increase accuracy. The method requires no additional flux quadrature or second derivatives in the solution reconstruction like quadratic finite volume schemes. The primary goal of this work is to demonstrate improved near-body accuracy and efficiency for turbulent flows through high-order flux correction methods in three-dimensions.

PhD Students


Josh Hodson

Josh is currently pursuing a PhD degree in Mechanical and Aerospace engineering.  His primary research areas are computational fluid dynamics, turbulence modeling, and numerical algorithms.  His current research is focused on developing tools and methods for gradient-based optimization using algorithmic differentiation.

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Jackson Reid

Jackson is currently pursuing a PhD in Aerospace Engineering. While at Utah State, he was a captain and paddler of the Concrete Canoe team, played on the Men’s Volleyball Team, and conducted aerodynamic research for the USU SATS group.  He previously worked in the Nuclear Operations Directorate of the Aerospace Corporation.

Jeff Taylor
E-mail | LinkedIn

Jeffrey is a PhD candidate in the department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. His research focuses on multidisciplinary design and optimization of morphing-wing aircraft. He has worked with the Air Force Research Laboratory and is currently working with NASA to develop new aerostructural theories to predict optimum spanload distributions on morphing-wing aircraft and create low-order tools to rapidly identify morphing-wing designs that minimize aircraft fuel consumption.


Zach Montgomery

Zach is pursuing a PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. His research is focused on developing a model for propeller design by adapting a modern version of lifting-line theory. His classes have focused on Aerodynamics, Propulsion Systems, and Controls. He previously worked as a Systems Engineering Intern for KIHOMAC and as a Process Engineering Intern for TTM Technologies.

Master’s Students

Josh Brincklow
E-mail | LinkedIn

Josh is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with emphasis in aircraft design and optimization. His current research is on optimizing aileron position and size to minimize induced drag and promote proverse yaw with twist. To accomplish this he is developing advanced algorithms in high performance computing applications. He previously served at BYU on the annual University Rover Challenge team and researched the tubercle effect to decrease parasitic drag on wings. Additionally, Josh is a hobbyist in building general use & performance computers.


Ted Giblette

Ted is a senior in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering program at Utah State and pursuing a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering. He currently assists in research involving adaptive grid refinement and overset grid methods in computational fluid dynamics. He also participates on USU’s Design Build Fly team for AIAA’s annual Design Build Fly competition and designing a radio controlled aircraft.

Research and Lab Assistants

Ben Moulton
E-mail | LinkedIn

Ben is an undergraduate researcher in the USU AeroLab studying Mechanical Engineering with Aerospace Emphasis. He will pursue his Masters at USU in Aerospace Engineering. He currently researches the design, fabrication, and improvement of a Swept Variable Camber Compliant Wing. His interests include aircraft structures and propulsion systems.

Jaden Thurgood

Jaden is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He has worked as a controls intern for USU in the HVAC department and as a research assistant at Space Dynamics Laboratory conducting aerodynamic design and analysis for small drones and other airborne projects. He is currently working on manufacturing a morphing crescent wing for the Office of Naval Research. He is a private pilot and an outdoor enthusiast.

Cory Goates
E-mail | LinkedIn

Cory graduated with his Bachelor’s in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in 2019 from USU. He is currently working towards his Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in aerodynamics and controls. He first worked with the AeroLab as part of the Engineering Undergraduate Research Program, developing methods for optimizing electric UAV propulsion and writing the lastest version of Optix, the AeroLab’s in house optimization toolset. He is currently working on developing a new version of MachUp, a free-to-use aerodynamic design tool based on Phillips’ numerical lifting-line algorithm, with a focus on usability, seamless simulator integration, and multi-aircraft modelling capabilities.



Dalon Work

Dalon is currently pursuing a PhD degree in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering. His current research in Computational Fluid Dynamics is funded by the Office of Naval Research to better predict ship-aircraft interactions in a timely, scalable, and accurate manner. Dalon’s current project is in interfacing the high-order Flux Correction Solver on near-body strand grids with a high-order, adaptive Cartesian off-body grid. Dalon is interested in all things numerical and computational. He also enjoys teaching, and has taught the graduate-level Fluid Dynamics class, and a graduate-level course on High Performance Computing.


Devin Gibson
E-mail | LinkedIn

Devin is a senior in the Mechanical Engineering program at Utah State with a minor in Computer Science. He will be pursuing a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering emphasizing in Control Systems. He is currently involved in HackUSU and Utah State Baseball and previously worked as an ambassador for the College of Engineering.

Ryley Bresee

Ryley is a graduate student pursuing a Master’s Degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Along with this mechanical engineering studies, he spent two years with the Aviation Maintenance Department at USU, which in turn allowed him to get his A&P mechanics licenses. His masters degree is focused both on Aerodynamics and Controls. His work aims to further the accuracy of multi-rotor aircraft models as well as control algorithms for these kind of aircraft. His other interests involve family, basketball, golf, and RC aircraft.


Orrin Pope
E-mail | LinkedIn

Orrin is a graduate student pursuing a Master’s Degree in Mechanical and Aerospace engineering. He graduated with honors from Utah State University with a bachelors degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering. As an undergraduate he worked as an intern for Northrop Grumman, Autoliv, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, and Raytheon Missile Systems. He currently works as a graduate intern for Raytheon Missile Systems.

– What we believe –

Man was made to discover, create, and improve.

We are doing a disservice to the world if we do not use our talents and skills to benefit society and mankind.

This is the best time in history to be involved in aircraft design.

USU Alumni actively involved in Aerodynamics and CFD

Deryl Snyder – Vice President, Global Business Development at CD-adapco

Nick Alley – CEO at Area-I, Inc.

Sam Weiss – Design Engineer at Teal Drones.

Spencer Fugal – Aerodynamics Engineer at Aerion Corporation

Wayne Goodrich – Project Manager, Advanced Programs at Insitu

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