By: Thorne Wolfenbarger
Embry-Riddle Prescott introduced multiple new faculty members to the school for the 2018 Fall semester, including Johann Dorfling, who joined ERAU as a new CATIA teacher.
Originally Dorfling is from South Africa, but he moved to Kentucky to finish his high school years.
He attended University of Kentucky for his undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering and moved on to graduate school where he attended Wichita State for a doctorate in Aerospace Engineering.
After graduate school Dorfling decided to take “a year off and travel through South America with [his] wife,” before settling down in Mexico to teach in Guadalajara.
After a year in Mexico, Dorfling moved to San Antonio, Texas, to teach mechanical engineering at Trinity University.
Dorfling decided to come to ERAU for the opportunity to be around students and faculty who are passionate about aerospace and plane design.
Dorfling stated, “I really love aircraft, so I thought it would be a good fit.”
He chose Embry-Riddle specifically because “Embry-Riddle is aerospace focused. Actually, two things: aeronautics focused and teaching focused. I love to teach, so I wanted that to be a big part of my job as a professor.”
Although he only teaches CATIA for the time being, Dorfling hopes to incorporate many of his other interests into ERAU curriculum eventually.
At the top of his list are courses in helicopter dynamics, propellor dynamics, and design classes, which all suit his interest in aerospace design.
In addition, these higher-level classes would give him a chance to interact with more upperclassmen and find students interested in his research.
Given Embry-Riddle’s support for faculty research, Dorfling states, “I have recently been getting into morphing structures… It’s one of the next big things in aircraft.”
He has been investigating how using variable camber wings instead of control surfaces could significantly reduce drag and allow for optimal flight at multiple speeds.
Morphing structures are an up-and-coming field of research that removes the need for things like deflecting ailerons which introduce more drag into flight.
In addition to the morphing structures, Dorfling says his research is in “aerodynamics and more specifically propeller dynamics,” and hopes that he can find students willing to conduct research with him in the future.
Dorfling is specifically interested in wind turbines and would enjoy investigating them in addition to teaching classes related to them.
Recreationally, the Prescott area suits Dorfling and his wife extremely well. He comments on how “it reminds [him] of the weather of the town [he] grew up in in South Africa.”
The excellent weather allows Dorfling to pursue his many pastimes, including hiking, rock climbing, and camping, although he does wish that there was more of a Squash presence in the area.
Dorfling often flies when he gets the chance to do so. He has his fixed wing license and, like many aerospace enthusiasts, loves flying planes.
While he has not gotten the chance to do so while in Prescott, he looks forward to taking flight soon.