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Bernardo Malfitano

Bernardo is an aeronautical engineer. He performs analyses, studies, and sometimes tests, around proposed features and configurations for future airplanes and improvements to current airplanes. (This determines the optimal shapes, materials, locations, and manufacturing processes for new airplane parts, so as to minimize drag, weight, cost, and risk).

Until recently, Bernardo worked in the Airplane Configuration group within the Product Strategy & Future Airplane Development organization of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. However, Bernardo had always been curious about what it would be like to work for a small company, where "everyone does everything", where there is more room for creativity, where engineers also do hands-on work like prototyping and test-flying new components, and where problems are often solved by going back to first principles rather than by following a pre-established series of steps. So now, he is one of only ~8 engineers at Van's Aircraft, helping to develop and improve airplanes that are designed to be as fun to fly as possible, rather than optimized for profitability.

For the previous 10+ years, Bernardo worked as a structures engineer / researcher, specializing in fatigue testing, analysis models, and maintenance planning. Bernardo was one of Boeing's experts on "airplane aging" issues, and taught new Boeing engineers how to do fatigue analysis and how to plan airplane maintenance. He designed, ran, and documented fatigue tests on components from the 787-9, KC-46, 737MAX, and 777X while those airplanes were being designed, and on technologies and materials that have not yet been implemented on commercial airplane structure, such as new kinds of 3D-printed titanium.

Bernardo has a BS from Stanford University and an MS from Columbia University, both in Mechanical Engineering. Most of his academic career focused on aerodynamics and propulsion: i.e. many hours designing and running experiments in the wind tunnel and in the engines lab. He also has academic and professional experience working on control systems for UAVs and spacecraft.

In his spare time, Bernardo is a private pilot, has co-owned multiple RV-6s (which he has flown to Oshkosh) and enjoys flying aerobatics. He also occasionally works as an aviation journalist, and has been interviewed on TV shows as an aeronautics expert. Bernardo has built and flown all kinds of model aircraft including rockets, gliders, quadcopters, and flying wings.

His full resumé is here.

You can email Bernardo here.





Copyright 2020 Ⓒ Bernardo Malfitano
Photo of red RV-6 Ⓒ Pablo Fernicola
Photo of 787 and blue RV-6A Ⓒ Jason Fortenbacher