Robert Van Dyken

Adjunct Assistant Professor
School of Engineering
College of Aviation

Name: Robert (Bob) Van Dyken

Phone: Home: 406-738-4299; Cell: 719-651-3927


Bio: I have been blessed to be part of a wide variety of challenging and interesting life experiences.

As a naval aviator, I was an A-4 flyer in the Blacksheep squadron and as an advanced jet flight instructor (TA-4J), I was the squadron safety officer with over two years of accident free flying.

For over 10 years, I was a flight test coordinator for the joint Navy and Air Force combat supremacy project at the China Lake Weapons Center. The team’s efforts led to the development of the AIM-9X weapon (Sidewinder follow-on) by Raytheon which is now operational in the fleet.

For seven years, I taught aerodynamics and mathematics courses and performed plasma dynamics research at the Air Force Academy. I was responsible for developing new online materials for the aero-fluid mechanics class. I continued to teach math and physics classes at the local community college in the evenings after day work.

At Adam Aircraft, I was a member of the flight test team working to certify propeller and small jet aircraft per FAA requirements. I led a team to redesign the wing leading edge (slat shape) to give the aircraft predictable and repeatable stall handling characteristics.

As a science and technology principal investigator, I directed and managed an Office of Naval Research program to develop components for next generation advanced strike weapons. An advanced missile radome composed of new materials is in development.

My hobbies include bicycling, hiking and any sports that involve round balls, especially basketball and golf.

PhD, Aeronautical Engineering, Naval Postgraduate School, 1997 
MS, Mechanical Engineering (Fluids), Cal State University, Northridge, 1988 
BS, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Montana State University, 1971

Aviation Safety School Graduate, Naval Postgraduate School, 1978
Aeronautical ratings: CFII, ATP

  • Ph.D. - Doctor of Philosophy in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, Naval Postgraduate School
  • M.S. - Master of Science in Engineering, California State University-Northridge
  • B.S. - Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Montana State University


PO Box 221 · Raynesford, MT 59469

406-738-4299 or 719-651-3927 ·


Researcher and problem solver capable of evaluating situations, gathering and analyzing data and implementing changes that improve performance and efficiency while ensuring high levels of safety and meeting government / industry regulations.   Engineer with advanced degrees in mechanical and aeronautical engineering.   Proven success in project management and team leadership.  Proficiency in managing projects. Educator skilled in mentoring students and clearly able to communicate complex technical information to colleagues and undergraduates.

Areas of Expertise

Problem Analysis & Resolution · Data Analysis · Communication · Organizational Skills · Team Leadership · Research · Processes & Procedures · Technology Investigation · Project Management · Aviation Engineering · Regulatory Compliance · Quality & Safety Assurance · Cross-Functional Collaboration · Military Projects · Classroom Instruction · Course Development



  • Managed a $10M multi-phase research project for the Office of Naval Research.
  • Developed a matrix for successful flight flutter tests for a propeller aircraft in its developmental stages.
  • Facilitated the redesign of a key piece of a propeller aircraft under development.
  • Directed the process of acquiring Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 23 certification for a propeller aircraft’s flight to an altitude of 25,000 feet.
  • Generated and analyzed weight and balance calculations, recommending alternative ballast placement for aircraft tests to the edges of the flight envelop.


  • Selected to teach at the United States Air Force Academy as a Visiting Scholar of Aeronautics (1 year planned, but stayed for 7 years).
  • Nominated “Instructor of the Month” several times by the U.S. Air Force Academy.
  • Upgraded the highly regarded aero fluids mechanics course at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
  • Mentored U.S. Air Force Academy cadets in aero research projects.
  • Conducted research and presented results in technical papers and at conferences.
  • Selected by College Board and ETS contractor to grade AP Physics exams for a week in Kansas City (199 evaluators, grading over 160,000 exams).


Adjunct Professor, Raynesford, Montana · 2012-Present

Teach math (Algebra, Calculus, and Differential Equations), physics and aerodynamics at the university and community college level both in face to face and online settings. Developed and taught first algebra and engineering level physics courses at the local community college.  Also, ordered and setup Vernier equipped experimental labs to give hands-on experience for learners to enhance, reinforce and apply the theory and principles of physics discussed in the classroom.

NAVAIR, DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, Ridgecrest, California · 2008-2012

Company with 4,000 civilian employees and 500 military personnel that researches, develops, tests and engineers military weapons systems and supports naval technology systems.

Principal Investigator

Oversaw a $10M 5-year project for the Office on Navy Research. Established requirements for new weapon system components. Receive and analyze bids, cost estimates and scheduling. Evaluate vendor progress. Lead the technology review team in selecting vendors.

ADAM AIRCRAFT, Denver, Colorado · 2005-2008

Builder of twin engine propeller and jet-powered light aircraft.

Aerospace Engineer

Conducted engineering analysis and issued flight test work orders. Performed and analyzed flight tests. Directed a team to conduct flight flutter tests to ensure that propeller aircraft met FAA regulations. Facilitated the project to redesign the wing leading edge so that the aircraft had predictable and recoverable stall characteristics.

UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colorado Springs, Colorado · 1998-2005

Military college that provides instruction on how to become U.S. Air Force officers and leaders.

Assistant Professor

Served as a visiting scholar of aeronautics, teaching courses in such subjects as thermodynamics, aerodynamics, mathematics, aircraft design and CFD. Conducted research in plasma dynamics flow control.


Ph.D. in Aeronautical Engineering

Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Cal State University Northridge, Northridge, California

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana


Naval Aviator, Captain, U.S. Navy Reserve, Retired

Recipient of the Navy Achievement Medal

Certified Flight Instructor, Aviation Safety School,

Naval War College Training


American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)


Microsoft Office (Excel expertise), CFD, Fortran, Online instruction