News Notes

By Dale Atkinson


After 40 years of Federal service,

long-time subject-matter expert (SME) and survivability community leader Greg Czarnecki has retired. Mr. Czarnecki’s Government career began in 1972 with enlistment in the Navy, where he served as an Operations Specialist aboard the USS Courtney (DE 1021) and later the USS McCloy (DE 1038). Upon comple- tion of his active duty obligation, he transitioned to the Navy Reserve for 2 years and then to the Ohio Army National Guard. In 1993, he retired from the military with 21 years of combined active, reserve, and guard service.

Concurrent with his military service, Mr. Czarnecki earned a B.S. degree in engineering from the University of Dayton in 1980 and began his civilian career in aircraft survivability with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH. In 1992, he earned an M.S. degree in materials engineering from the University of Dayton and soon thereaf- ter completed his Ph.D. coursework. In 1999, Mr. Czarnecki and the aircraft survivability mission transferred to the 96th Test Wing and eventually to the Arnold Engineering Development Center.

As a 36-year member of the Aerospace Survivability and Safety Office, Mr. Czarnecki promoted the develop- ment, advancement, application, maturity, and credibility of modeling and testing methodologies for aircraft survivability. Early in his career, he applied emerging nonlinear finite element (FE) methods to predict antiaircraft artillery damage effects on F-4, A-7, and F-15 aircraft structures. In the late 1980s, he coupled his FE and test experience with evolving structural optimization routines to perform a fly-off of composite materials under consideration for the Advanced Tactical Fighter. Materials proving to have greatest damage resistance were later adopted for application on the F-22.

In addition, Mr. Czarnecki organized and cohosted a Hydrodynamic Ram Workshop in the early 1990s that matured, verified, and validated ram modeling procedures. After the turn of the century, he collaborated with General Electric and RHAMM Technologies to couple an FE model of a Man-Portable Air Defense System (MANPADS) missile with that of a large aircraft engine. This effort marked the first time that a dynamic, rotating engine model was reconfigured to credibly consider damage caused by a MANPADS impact. It also yielded an engine-MANPADS modeling procedure applicable to other engagement conditions and engine types.

Separate from his FE endeavors, in the early 1990s Mr. Czarnecki led an in-house impact physics initiative that investigated complex dynamic behav- ioral characteristics of composite materials. His own research (culminat- ing in his master’s thesis) involved the discovery and quantification of shear and stress-wave damage sequences within impacted composite laminates. Mr. Czarnecki continued to work with senior researchers and doctoral students to advance the knowledge base associated with impact physics of composites. His contributions advanced instrumentation technologies, identified impact energy absorption mechanisms, and produced an economical method of predicting the threshold penetration velocity.

As a Joint Aircraft Survivability Program (JASP) member since 1984 and the JASP Structures and Materials Committee Chairman since 1998, Mr. Czarnecki coordinated with Army and Navy representatives to promote ballistic-, ram-, and laser-toughened composite structures. His investiga- tions included assessment of asymmetric ram and open-air pressure fields generated by high-explosive munitions; development of a hydrody- namic ram simulator and determination of ram-resistant skin-spar joints; and evaluation of ballistic, fire, and laser damage effects on composites. All of these efforts transitioned to model improvements, serving aircraft acquisi- tion program offices and Live Fire Test and Evaluation.

Responding to a 1997 Office of the Secretary of Defense query concerning what could be done to limit aircraft vulnerability to the MANPADS threat, Mr. Czarnecki joined with JASP leadership to survey the state-of-the-art and recommend solutions. He helped organize and chair the first National MANPADS Workshop, which assessed the magnitude of aircraft-MANPADS incidents, the ability to perform MANPADS vulnerability assessments and damage predictions, and what might be done to limit aircraft vulner- ability to the MANPADS threat. He and other JASP members then led the charge to assess and improve aircraft survivability by assessing MANPADS blast and fragmentation, advancing aircraft-MANPADS modeling method- ologies, and identifying a JASP course of action for further assessment of MANPADS issues.

In 2001, Mr. Czarnecki and a tri-Service modeling and simulation (M&S) team took a first look at the ability of M&S to credibly achieve MANPADS hit-point predictions. In 2005, he and JASP supported a Joint Test and Evaluation project that developed near-term aircraft survivability solutions using optimal combinations of susceptibility