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 NASA

Herb was selected as the RTOP Program Manager for Aeronautics Controls and Guidance in the NASA Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology in 1991. An “RTOP” was the Research Technology Operating Plan. The OAST was organized around Aeronautics Technology and Space Technology. Aeronautics technology focused on aeronautics-vehicle categories, such as Subsonic and Rotorcraft, Supersonic, Fighter-Attack and Hypersonics. There was also a final non-vehicle category that focused on theory within a discipline. Space technology had its own organization, as well. And then there were the “discipline divisions,” which maintained the aeronautics and space technology disciplines, such as propulsion, structures, controls and guidance, aerodynamics, and flight research. And rather than subjugating one group to the other, OAST actually managed as a true matrix organization, with the Technology Divisions doing the up-and-out strategic management and the discipline division supporting the down-and-in research management. When done correctly, it was a marvel to watch.

In this environment, Herb was responsible for aeronautics controls and guidance for subsonic vehicles (which included the airborne windshear that he started in the FAA, as well as new effort that looked at an air traffic automation system that integrated the Center and Terminal planning using time-based separation, as well as human-centered aircraft automation, among others), supersonic vehicles (which focused almost exclusively on synthetic vision systems for the proposed High-Speed Civil Transport, as well as some sensors work), Fighter-Attack (predominantly focused on vectored thrust to support high angle-of-attack, highly agile vehicles), and Hypersonics (that focused on controls and guidance with the flight testing of the National Aero-Space Plane — the NASP — and the Rockwell X-30). Along with the vehicle efforts, Control Theory was another focus area that was supported at NASA Langley and NASA Ames in their respective Controls Branches.

During the early years, Herb was responsible for bringing NASA together with the FAA for the subsonic efforts in Airborne Windshear and the Center-TRACON Automation System (CTAS).

While still at FAA, Herb participated with the FAA Administrator and the Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety, in the matter of four airlines that were seeking an exemption to the new FAA regulation 121.358, “Low-altitude windshear system equipment requirements,” in order to allow these four airlines to await the availability of the new NASA-FAA forward-looking airborne windshear technology that the avionics manufacturers were pursuing. The exemption 5256 to FAR 121.358, asked to delay the implementation of the current technology in lieu of having the forward-looking technology. The catch would be that if an airline failed to meet the requirements, they would be required to install the current technology, along with a penalty. Herb invited the NASA Langley team to participate. After the FAA Administrator asked his questions, and saw the progress that the project had accomplished, he took the exemption in hand, and signed it on the spot. This turned the FAA-NASA project from a “technology push” effort into a “technology pull” program with the stroke of a pen.