Dr. David Lanning Jr.
He was the Prescott Campus Researcher of the Year, 2005-2006 as well as recipient of many other awards and honors. Dr. Lanning is currently a member of the Pacific Southwest Board of Directors for the American Society for Engineering Education. He also serves as a reviewer for several technical journals. Dr. Lanning has a record of externally funded research and his work has been published in numerous venues.
Relating aircraft and spacecraft to everyday problems such as fatigue and fractures is where Dr. David Lanning excels. Dr. Lanning started his continuing research upon graduation from The Ohio State University in 1990, with a B.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering. The circumstances of the economy led Dr. Lanning to continue his education at the University of Akron in Ohio to acquire his Masters in Mechanical Engineering through an assistantship in research and teaching.
Dr. Lanning’s versatile skills in aerospace and mechanical engineering led him back to Ohio State to expand upon his previous work by applying statistical and computational methods to the problems of fatigue and fracture. In 1997, Dr. Lanning’s career found him working at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in close relationship with the materials lab on base.
“I spent two years working on what was called the high-cycle fatigue program for the U.S. Air Force. It was a well-funded program looking at issues of fatigue and fracture.” He focuses on studying structures with cracks and other damage, and determines the remaining life of the damaged structure, important to understanding how to get aircraft safely back to the ground. Dr. Lanning’s work can lead to decisions on whether or not the damage is possible to fix.
Dr. Lanning’s explanatory nature and knowledgeable background led him to Embry-Riddle. “I saw a notice on one of the hiring boards at Ohio State back when I was a student there and that’s when I learned about them. I interviewed with them while I was finishing my Ph.D. I found I liked the campus and so I flew out. I liked the campus and Arizona environment and I kept it in mind.” Dr. Lanning’s interest in the school remained peaked and contacted the school again, two years later, to seek a position.
Dr. Lanning has been in the College of Engineering at Embry-Riddle since 1999. “I’m in the department of aerospace and mechanical engineering and I teach some of structures and materials. I’ve taught almost all the structures and materials courses that we have offered here.”
In addition to teaching, Dr. Lanning supports students with their own research projects in the materials and structures labs at ERAU, as funded by various grants. “In our department, we tend to have students that really are interested in aerospace. They decide this is the career path for them; they tend to have a real passion for aviation and space. That’s what makes teaching a little bit easier. We generally know that they are interested in it. We give them the tools to get them where they want to go.”
One of the most recent tools offered is a new class, Aerospace Engineering Failure, which includes engineering education-orientated research. Dr. Lanning, in cooperation with Dr. Wahyu Lestari, offers this course as a technical elective and is making advancements using laboratory emphasis and failure analyses.