Kenneth R Chirkis

Adjunct Assistant Professor
Department of Graduate Studies
College of Aeronautics

Office Hours

7am to 5pm (Pacific Time) M-F

Areas of Expertise

Systems Engineering, System Safety Engineering, Hazard Analysis, Hazard Testing, Risk Assessment, Occupational Safety, Software Safety, Human Factors, Aviation Psychology, Aircraft-Weapon System Integration, Unmanned Systems Safety
Kenneth R Chirkis

I hold a Doctoral Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Business from Northcentral University, 2013, as well as my M.S. Aeronautical Science, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, 2002 and B.S. Professional Aeronautics, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, 2001.  I am currently the Department Head of the Systems Engineering Department at the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, California.  Previously I was the Division Head of the System Safety Engineering Division at the Naval Air Warfare Center in China Lake, California. I have worked in the System Safety engineering discipline for both the Government as well as private industry. I have over forty years of system safety/ major weapon system acquisition experience working on most of the Navy’s aircraft/ conventional weapon/target system programs with specific expertise in the areas of fuzes, energetic materials and insensitive munitions. I am a Fellow of the International System Safety Society (ISSC) and a Senior Member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). I have received the International System Safety Society awards as Educator of the Year in 2007, Manager of the Year in 2008 and Fellow in 2018.  I also received the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award in 2017 for my work supporting the Navy in Weapon Safety Engineering for the Naval Air Systems Command.  I am a Principal Member of the U.S. Navy’s Weapon System Explosives Safety Review Board (WSESRB) and an Adjunct Professor for the China Lake Worldwide Campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, instructing graduate and undergraduate aviation safety courses. I have been teaching continuously for Embry-Riddle since 2002. I enjoy golf, basketball and bowling in my spare time.  My wife and I live in the High Desert of California (near the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains) in Ridgecrest, California. Our daughter is a Staff Sergeant in the USAF in North Carolina. 

  • M.A.S. - Master of Aeronautical Science in Aviation Aerospace Safety Systems, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • B.S. - Bachelor of Science in Professional Aeronautics: Aviation Safety, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

  • MSAS 621: Avia/Aero Safety Program Mgmt
  • MSAS 611: Avia/Aerosp System Safety
  • ASCI 491: Oper'l Apps in Aeronautics

ASCI 611 Aviation/Aerospace System Safety (Graduate)
ASCI 612 Aviation/Aerospace Industrial Safety Management (Graduate)

MSAS 621 Aviation and Aerospace Safety Program Management (Graduate)

ASCI 634 Aviation Psychology (Graduate)

ASCI 643 Management of Research and Development in Aviation and Aerospace (Graduate)

ASCI 603 Aircraft and Spacecraft Development (Graduate)

ASCI 604 Human Factors in Aviation and Aerospace (Graduate) 

ASCI 202 Introduction to Aeronautical Science (Undergraduate)

ASCI 491 Operational Applications in Aeronautics (Undergraduate Capstone Course)
SFTY 409 Aviation Safety (Undergraduate)
SFTY 440 System Safety Management (Undergraduate)
SFTY 345 Safety Program Management (Undergraduate)
SFTY 462 Health, Safety and Aviation Law (Undergraduate)

SFTY 311 Fundamentals of Occupational Safety  (Undergraduate)

SFTY 320 Human Factors in Aviation Safety (Undergraduate)

Safety Considerations with Kalman Filters, Anthony S. Cantone, Kenneth R. Chirkis, - Presented to the International System Safety Society Conference, Phoenix, AZ, 2018

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Survivability and Safety,  David Hall, Mike Ray, Ron Ketcham, Ron Dexter, Ken Chirkis  - Presented to the AUVSI Unmanned Systems North America Conference, San Diego, CA, 2008

Safe-Escape Analysis System Safety Engineering Study, Kenneth Chirkis,  Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division, China Lake, California, 93555  and David H. Hall, SURVICE Engineering Company, Ridgecrest, California, 93555Presented to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Missile Sciences Conference Held in Monterey, California on November 2008 

Insensitive Munitions Threat Hazard Assessment Methodology, Ken Chirkis, Jerry Mathre, Jerry Banister , NAWCWD China Lake, CA , Presented to the Joint Army-Navy NASA Air Force (JANNAF) Propulsion Hazards Meeting, Monterey CA., November 1996

41 Years of System Safety Engineering Experience with the Federal Government and Industry (34 Federal Civilian and 7 Private Sector).

Department Head of the Systems Engineering Department at the Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake, CA  1987-Present
Branch Head and Division Head of the System Safety Engineering Branch at the Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake, CA.

Principal Member of the Navy's Weapon System Explosives Safety Review Board (WSESRB) for 16 Years.

International System Safety Society Fellow- 2018.

Embry-Riddle Worldwide Professor teaching continually since 2002.

Director of Academics for ERAU China Lake Campus 2013-2014

  • Fellow in the International System Safety Society 
  • Senior Member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
  • Member of the DoD Acquisition Professional Community.  - 2004
  • DAWIA LEVEL III Certification (Systems Planning, Resources Development, and Engineering) – 10/1997
  • DAWIA LEVEL III Certification (Quality Assurance) – 06/1994
  • Graduate Aviation/Aerospace Safety Systems Specialization Certification – 05/2002
  • Undergraduate Aviation/Aerospace Safety Certification-Embry Riddle Aeronautical University – 07/2000
  • UCLA Technical Management Program, 40 hrs – 09/2003
  • President of the Sierra High Desert Chapter of the System Safety Society – 1998/99
  • President of the High Desert Engineering Association (hIDEA), a consortium of all local professional engineering societies in the China Lake/Ridgecrest area) – September 2000-February 2002
  • Chairman of the NAWCWD China Lake Ammunition Safety Committee
  • Member of the NAWCWD China Lake Munition Reaction Evaluation Board (MREB)
  • Member of the NAWCWD Ordnance Safety Device Board (OSDB)
  • Member of the Naval Energetics Enterprise Ordnance Support System and Insensitive Munitions Subgroups 

  • Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award for Significant Contributions to System Safety Engineering and Leadership within the United States Navy- 2017
  • University of Southern California- Viterbi School of Engineering Special Award for Contributions to DoD System and Software Safety – February 2019 Presented by Professor Tom Anthony, Director of USC Aviation Safety and Security Programs
  • International System Safety Society- Received FELLOW Membership Grade- August 2018
  • 30- Year Length of Service Award for Federal Service – October 2017
  • 2016 Secretary of the Navy Safety In Acquisition Excellence Award- 2017
  • Educator of the Year-International System Safety Society-2007 (Baltimore, MD ISSC Conference)
  • Safety Manager of the Year-International System Safety Society-2008 (Vancouver BC, Canada ISSC Conference)
  • Received the NAWCWD China Lake Michelson Laboratory Honorary Award for Excellence in Leadership – 06/2006
  • Received the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division Research and Engineering Competency Excellence Award – 10/2001
    (This award was given in recognition of my national and international expertise in the area of System Safety Engineering, hazard analysis, hazard assessment testing, risk assessment and Insensitive Munitions)
  • Employee of Month–Product Assurance Division – 05/1990 
  • Graduated with Distinction from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Masters of Aeronautical Science Program (4.0 GPA)
  • Graduated Magna Cum Laude from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Minor in Aviation Safety, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University – 2001