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T.J.

AM Vehicle Development Dep./Vehicle Group/Integration Team

At the forefront of a once-in-a-century revolution in aviation, Dr T.J. joined SkyDrive as an Aerodynamics Specialist in the Vehicle Development Group. Here, he works on the eVTOL’s aerodynamic shape and rotor design, using CFD and wind tunnel tests. Before that, he graduated from Tohoku University, with a PhD in Optimisation and Machine Learning for Aircraft Design in 2022. He previously worked at Airbus Group Innovations as an Aeromechanics Engineer on a variety of projects focussed on rapid analysis of future aircraft wings. He has experience with conceptual and detail design, but is constantly expanding his knowledge in alignment with SkyDrive’s motto “Beyond Borders”!

T.J. Interview

Introduction

In an exclusive interview, T.J. takes us on a journey through his aerospace career at SkyDrive, the forefront electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) company from Japan. Hailing from the UK with Hong Kong ancestry, his passion for aviation took root during a special visit to a B747 flight deck. From there, he embarked on a brilliant aerospace career that led him to SkyDrive.

Background

His aerospace journey began at Sheffield University in the UK, where he pursued his undergraduate studies in aerospace engineering. Realizing his true passion for aircraft design, he further honed his skills with a master’s degree in Aerospace Vehicle Design at Cranfield University. After this, he joined Airbus Group Innovations as an aeromechanics engineer where he worked on technologies for next-generation aircraft.

Role at SkyDrive
Seeking to expand his knowledge with a Ph.D., he chose Tohoku University in Japan, known for its robust computational aircraft design optimization department. Despite initial concerns about a traditional Japanese work environment, he found SkyDrive to be a multinational, integrated team with an open and friendly culture. As an aerodynamicist, his daily focus involves utilizing Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and other design methodologies to optimize the eVTOL and rotor design. He collaborates seamlessly with experimental aerodynamicists crunching wind tunnel data to generate aero databases for simulation, and works with performance and flight characteristics engineers to understand and refine the aircraft’s design mission and targets. He also enjoys working with the structural designers to define the eVOTL’s outer shape.

Challenges and Success Stories
Initially, he was apprehensive about SkyDrive’s size but was pleasantly surprised by the inquisitiveness and rapid learning curve of his colleagues, contributing to a vibrant international team. He found that his teammates were friendly and supportive, and that he could collaborate effectively and also borrow from their diverse base of knowledge. Language barriers were mitigated by his Ph.D. in Japan and seven years of residency, enhancing his daily professional communication.

Goals and Future Plans

Looking ahead, he aspires to expand his knowledge and advance within SkyDrive, eyeing roles like chief engineer or conceptual designer, where he can contribute to driving the definition of next-generation vehicles. He envisions SkyDrive’s continued growth, establishing itself as a global leader in Advanced Air Mobility (AAM).

Personal Life
Outside of work, he and his wife explore Japan’s natural beauty through hiking, skiing, and coastal adventures. They appreciate the richness of Japanese culture, often visiting picturesque temples nestled in the mountains. He also enjoys the company of friendships developed with the dynamic and friendly characters at SkyDrive, often creating events and opportunities to travel Japan and sample the unique variety of tasty delicacies and activities.

Message to Future Colleagues
He extends a compelling invitation to those eager to shape the future of Urban Air Mobility (UAM). He encourages potential colleagues to embrace the unique opportunity at SkyDrive, contributing to groundbreaking technology that defines the future of the eVTOL industry. SkyDrive, according to him, is the perfect platform to redefine and shape the trajectory of the young and fast-growing industry of UAM.