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USAFA & Baylor University Partnership

Updated: Oct 21, 2022

Inventors Dr. Ken VanTreuren and Dr. Charles Wisniewski represent the twin pillars of Athule’s foundation – Baylor University and the Air Force Academy.


Their alliance began the relationship that made Athule’s STTR Award a reality. Both men allow Athule access to unique skills, talents, and resources within different organizations such as the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative’s Industry, Research and Education Cores or I-REd cores.


These industry-facing service centers offer access to facilities equipped with state-of-the-art resources such as materials testing, characterization core, and Engineering & Business consulting services.


Athule also has access to the resources, expert faculty, staff, and students at Baylor University, an accredited R1 institution. Similarly, the Air Force Academy provides essential industry knowledge and talents of current cadets to engage in Athule’s efforts.


Athule was awarded its own department of defense (DoD) contract with the Air Force based on the merit of the technology in July 2022. The goal over the next few months is to transition Athule’s capabilities and increase the technology readiness level to a phase II SBIR – “readiness in an operational environment”. This process entails $750,000 devoted to another full 12 months of R&D and 3 additional months of final testing and reports.


It is both a responsibility and necessity to participate in R&D opportunities such as these for the interests of higher education academia, the nation’s defense, and the future generation of scholars, engineers, and aerospace contributors to align interests and goals towards one vision.


Athule is the embodiment of this vision and shows the merits of collaboration and the contributions of many can come to fruition in the form of a powerful organization. Propeller design, engineering services, testing and validation, and manufacturing are among the capabilities and services Athule can provide. The evolution of Aerospace begins here.



Ken & Chuck


The inventors of Athule’s quiet and efficient propeller, Dr. Ken VanTreuren and Dr. Charles Wisniewski met over 10 years ago and decided that together, they would embark on the mutual passion project that would later evolve into Athule.


Dr. Ken VanTreuren earned his MS in Aeronautical Engineering at Princeton University in 19778 and his Ph.D. in Engineering Science from the University of Oxford in 1994. He worked as an associate professor at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs before coming to Roger’s Engineering School at Baylor University. He teaches upper-level courses such as fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and the analysis and design of propulsion systems.


Throughout his time as a Baylor professor, VanTreuren maintained his connections and relationships with the Air Force Academy. He also maintained his interest in aerospace research. One connection, Dr. Charles Wisniewski, was a contract professor at the Air Force Academy.


Dr. Wisniewski earned his MS and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Mexico and began his esteemed career in the Air Force Academy in 2003. From Researcher to Department Head of Aeronautics to Professor, it is clear to see Wisniewski’s passion for what he does.


Around 10 years ago, Drs. VanTreuren and Wisniewski began a collaborative research project together focusing on propellers. Each summer they would convene to conduct research, write papers on their findings, and continue to refine what would become their quiet and efficient propeller design with the help of Baylor graduate students and Air Force Academy cadets.

Through diligence, friendship, and their combined talents – Dr. VanTreuren and Dr. Wisniewski were able to create a new era of propeller technology that is innovative, highly agile, ultra-quiet, and efficient.


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