Herb Schlickenmaier

A Washington-area native, Herb Schlickenmaier brings his unique experience to all of his customers. While attending the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, in the early 1970s, pursuing his undergraduate work in Aerospace Engineering, Herb actively engaged his passion for all things aviation and aeronautics. His professional career was formed in the Civil Service, beginning with the FAA in the 1970s through the 1980s, growing with NASA in the 1990s through 2008. In 2008, Herb began working in the private sector.

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Time at the FAA

Herb worked with the FAA experimental center, the National Aviation Facilities Experimental Center (NAFEC, now known as the William J Hughes Technical Center, at Atlantic City International Airport, NJ), the NASA Langley Research Center and the NASA Ames Research Center. His work included the first all-weather landing system, the first civil application of head-up displays, the first examination of master caution-warning systems in aircraft, the introduction of digital avionics and the transition from analog (unceremoniously called “steam gauges”), and beginning the process of supporting the new field of digital, aircraft simulator capability, which would eventually become advanced training devices. As part of this eclectic research support to certification needs and requirements, Herb was also part of accident and incident studies. Some of the most difficult started with the Eastern Airlines Flight 66 accident into JFK International Airport in 1975. It was determined to have been a windshear accident, and a team was pulled together to address it. Much technology was addressed, and most of it was ground-based, such as Low-Level Windshear Alert System (a series of anemometers surrounding the airport to detect a frontal passage), some radar work was begun that culminated in the Terminal Doppler Weather Radar. Windshear related accidents quelled for a bit, until 1983 and Pan Am 759 departing from New Orleans International Airport. Based on the analysis, Herb was asked to be an expert witness for the FAA to the NTSB accident hearing to discuss research activities that addressed windshear. In 1988, Delta Airlines flight 191 was approaching DFW and crashed. Windshear was the leading cause of transport category accidents, and solutions were demanded. Herb was again asked to be the expert witness for the FAA discussing research initiatives to address windshear. At this time, Herb was working as a special project lead for the FAA Administrator’s Windshear Program Manager. The program manager had a simple approach: develop a windshear training aid for pilots, build advanced technology for aircraft detection and avoidance, then support ground-based technology, and support both hazard characterization. It was an amazing confluence of industry, building the training aid, NASA working with the FAA to build the advanced aircraft technology, and the radar industry building the ground-based technology. Most important was a cross-team of NASA, National Center for Atmospheric Research, the MIT Lincoln Laboratories, combining their expertise to develop the hazard characterization. After the successful completion of each of the parts of this national windshear program, the windshear safety issue was successfully addressed.