History of the Institute

History of the ILR at RWTH Aachen University:


The Chair of Aeronautical Engineering was founded at RWTH in 1954 by Professor Dr.-Ing. A. W. Quick. After the Second World War in 1946, Professor Quick was assigned to work in France (with the engine manufacturer Snecma) and afterwards in 1954 he came to Aachen.

During his time in Aachen, Professor Quick was a board member of the German Research Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DVL)) from 1954 to 1969 and was President from 1966 to 1969.

Originally, the chair was located in the so-called 'Königshügel Villa', which today is the guesthouse of the RWTH. In 1964 the Chair of Aeronautical Engineering was renamed to Chair of Aerospace Engineering, being part of the newly formed Institute of Aerospace Engineering (Lehrstuhl und Institut für Luft- und Raumfahrt (ILR)). In the same year the current building at Wüllnerstraße 7 was completed. The photo below shows this building after a thorough internal and external renovation carried out in the Nineties.


In October of 1974 Professor Quick received emeritus status and Professor Dr.-Ing. R. Staufenbiel became the head of the ILR. Professor Staufenbiel came from VFW/Fokker in Bremen where he was Department Director for Research and Development.

The ILR's research areas during his tenure include: ground effect aircraft, airplane and helicopter noise, vortical flows in aviation, fundamentals of space plane design.


1994 Professor Staufenbiel received emeritus status and in August of that year Professor Dr.-Ing. D. Jacob took over as head of the institute.


In 1969 Professor Dr.-Ing. D. Jacob earned his doctorate's degree from The University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) in the USA. The ILR and UTSI have cooperated closely on scientific projects since 1965, a relationship based on the friendship between Professor A. W. Quick and Professor B. H. Goethert, the founding director of the UTSI. Professor Jacob worked at Dornier in Friedrichshafen for 25 years where he was Director of Flight Physics and Flight Tests. In addition to the aforementioned research areas, experimental and theoretical research into aircraft wake vortices became another important field of research for the ILR. In August 2004 Professor Jacob retired, at which time the ILR's experienced senior engineer Dr.-Ing. G. Neuwerth took over as provisional head of the institute.


In February 2006 Professor Dipl.-Ing. R. Henke came to Aachen to assume the position as head of the ILR.

For over 20 years he worked at the multinational company Airbus SAS where in 2001 he became Director of Technology Projects. He was a member of the Airbus Research and Technology Management Team and in 2002 took over as head of the Interdisciplinary Technology Programmes unit. In addition to his extensive experience in the industry, Professor Henke also led the international technology platform AWIATOR, which is sponsored by the European Union, as well as a program for innovative high-lift configurations.

In November 2010 Prof. Henke was appointed member of the executive board of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsche Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, DLR) responsible for the aeronautics branch.

In December 2011 Prof. Dr.-Ing. Eike Stumpf became the new Head of Institute. At the same time the ILR was renamed as "Institute of Aerospace Systems".

For over 14 years Professor Stumpf was member of staff of the German Aerospace Center. After his PhD in the field of vortex dynamics, some responsibilities in the executive board of the DLR and the Airbus Future Project Office he contributed to establishing the DLR Institute for Air-Transportation Systems in Hamburg. There he was associate director and head of the department "System Analysis Air-Transportation".