Robyn Harmon

  • Mechanical Engineer at AAI Corporation

Member Morpheus Lab, 2006-2008 (Emeritus)

About Robyn

Robyn Harmon joined Morpheus as a University of Maryland graduate student in the Fall of 2006. She received her bachelors in Mechanical and Aerospace engineering in January 2006 from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Originally from Hamilton, Ohio, her interests evolved to settle on engineering after taking a spin through architecture and astrophysics. In addition to engineering she enjoys riding her horse Clyde and engaging in many outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and rock climbing.

Robyn’s engineering background includes many hands on projects and work experiences. She led the Cornell’s Moonbuggy team to a second place finish in the NASA Moonbuggy competition at Marshall Space Flight Center in 2004 and became an avid welder and machinist during the project. Robyn spent nine months as a co-op at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB in California in Fall 2004 and Summer 2005. There she was placed on a variety of projects that included working with F-18s, F-15s, and several UAVs. Her senior design project at Cornell was related to low Reynolds number aerodynamics for small UAV’s, and led to her joining the Morpheus Lab.

Graduate Research

Title: Aerodynamic Modeling of a Flapping Membrane Wing using Motion Tracking Experiments

The ornithopters used by Team Morpheus experience dramatic shape change of the flapping membrane wing throughout a complete flapping cycle which make it challenging to model aerodynamically. To solve this problem a Vicon motion tracking system was used to quantize the wing shape throughout a flapping cycle while lift and thrust were measured using a strain gauge transducer. Using the shape data, a blade element approximation of the wing was established with accurate descriptions of the local stroke angle, pitch, flapping velocity and membrane shape along the wing span. Both membrane aerodynamics and unsteady aerodynamic theory were applied to generate a predictive aerodynamic model that could be compared with measured lift and thrust data. Current results show good correlation between the model and measurements, and the research is being finalized into a Masters Thesis document.


  • M.S. Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, University of Maryland, 2008
  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Cornell University, 2006