Engineering Sciences Section News – September 2015


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the articles contained in the Academy News are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Academy.

Source:  Michelle R. Hoffman, MS, Section Secretary

Mark Pozzi is a Fellow of the Engineering Sciences Section. Since 1981, he has been an independent research scientist, forensic consultant, and test engineer with Sandia Safety Sciences in Edgewood, NM. Currently, Mark also works at Titan Aerospace as an airframe test engineer and serves as their Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) lead.

Titan Aerospace, which was acquired by Google® in 2014, is working on development of high-altitude, solar-powered aircraft that could one day provide internet access from the stratosphere. At Titan, Mark applies his test expertise and experience as a commercial pilot to the research, development, and manufacturing of High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) solar-powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) (see Figure 1.) This includes testing of extremely lightweight prototype composite airframe structures and materials, solar energy storage, and aircraft launch systems. As the EH&S lead, Mark is also responsible for safety assessments, accident investigations, emergency response plans, fire protection engineering, injury prevention, and safety training.

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Figure 1:  Image of Titan HALE solar-powered UAV reprinted from http://www.businessinsider.com/google-buys-drone-company-titan-aerospace-2014-4

For more than three decades, Mark has contributed to the field of transportation research, safety testing, and defect investigations through his work for the Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Defense (DOD), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the private sector. This work includes investigations and analyses that span static, sled, crash, and stability tests of bicycles, motorcycles, ATVs, electric and conventional passenger vehicles, medium and heavy trucks, buses, trains, ejection seats, aircraft, and spacecraft. Mark’s research and testing has validated many advanced safety designs such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Research Safety Vehicle (RSV). He is also involved in safety testing and development of prototype and racing vehicles, including likely the first crashworthy electric car capable of inter-state travel. For the Department of Energy (DOE), he conducted the most extensive crash and durability testing of electric vehicles ever undertaken. He has also been involved in safety design and fabrication of professional open wheel and stock cars and off-road racing vehicles.

His crash testing and research has uncovered many vehicle safety defects and directly led to multiple DOT recalls of defective vehicles and components. This includes the Ford® Pinto® and other vehicle fuel systems, several seat belt designs which failed to remain latched or lock up properly during collisions, dangerous airbags, and numerous structural crashworthiness failures of vehicle roofs, doors, bumpers, and other occupant compartment structures. He has performed pioneering research on the safety of vehicle seats, head restraints, and seat belts. He was involved in baseline research that led to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 214D. He has done extensive research on child safety in vehicles, particularly in rear, side, and rollover impacts. He designed and conducted extensive stability and rollover testing on the Jeep® CJ-5® broadcast on CBS’s® 60 Minutes (see Figure 2). Additionally, he has performed significant work in the field of fire protection engineering and occupational, sport, and product safety. Mark’s impact is evident based on his publications in peer-reviewed technical literature, international presentations, contributions to television news programs, film documentaries, and instruction provided at universities and professional schools nationwide.

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Figure 2.  Mr. Pozzi (on left) during a 1980 Jeep CJ-5 Rollover Test.