United States Air Force Academy

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Major Dell Olmstead

Assistant Professor of Aeronautics

Department of Aeronautics

Official Photo of Major Olmstead
Contact Information

(719) 333-1187



Maj Olmstead commissioned in 2005 through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona. He has served for 13 years as a developmental engineer supporting acquisitions in the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) in addition to his graduate school and teaching assignments. He specializes in supersonic and hypersonic flow to include scramjet combustion. Prior to his current position he was the Chief of Special Projects at the Advanced Development Directorate of SMC at Kirtland AFB, NM. He was assigned to the Department of Aeronautics again in 2018 where he serves as an Assistant Professor of Aeronautics, specializing in aerodynamics and propulsion.


PhD, Engineering, University of New Mexico, New Mexico (2015)

M.S, Aeronautical Engineering, Air Force Institute of Technology, WPA.FB, Ohio (2009)

B.S., Aerospace Engineering, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Arizona (2005)

Professional Experience

May 2005-Jun 2009, Hypersonic Propulsion Systems Engineer and Deputy Branch Chief, Air Force Research Laboratory, WPAFB, Ohio

August 2015-Jul 2018, Chief of Mission Development and Special Projects, SMC Advanced Systems Directorate, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico

Honors & Awards

Defense Meritorious Service Medal

Air Force Commendation Medal

Research and Scholarly Interests

Hypersonics, propulsion, supersonic mixing and transition to turbulence


Olmstead, Dell, “Oblique Shock Wave Effects on Impulsively Accelerated Heavy Gas Column,” Ph.D. Dissertation, University of New Mexico, 2015

Olmstead, Dell, “Cavity Coupled Aeroramp Injector Combustion Study”, Masters Thesis, 2009

Olmstead, Dell; Wayne, Patrick; Simons, Dylan; Monje, I. Trueba; Yoo, J.H; Kumar, Sanjay; Truman, C. Randall; Vorobieff, Peter, “Shock-driven transition to turbulence; emergence of power-law scaling,” arXiv:1701.00032 [physics.flu-dyn], 2016

Olmstead, Dell; Truman, C. Randall; Wayne, Patrick; Vorobieff, Peter, “Effects of Inclination on a Shock-accelerated Heavy Gas Column,” Computational Methods in Multiphase Flow VIII, Pg. Vol 89171-180, 2015

Olmstead, Dell; Gruber, Mark; Collatz, MacKenzie; Branam, Richard; Lin, Kuo-Cheng, “Cavity Coupled Aeroramp Injector Combustion Study,” AIAA Paper 2009-5227, 2009

Olmstead, Dell; Wilkin, Heidi, “The Advanced Combined-Cycle Integrated Inlet Test Program, A Computational Assessment,” JANNAF APS Paper, 2008

Thorn, Caitlin; Olmstead, Dell; Tucker, K. Colin, “An Improved Nozzle Performance Laboratory Using Schlieren Flow Visualization,” 51st AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference, AIAA Propoulsion and Energy Forum, AIAA 2015-4118, 2015

Wayne, Patrick; Olmstead, Dell; Vorobieff, Peter; Truman, C. Randall; Kimar, Sanjay, “Oblique Shock Interaction with a Cylinderical Density Interface,” Computational Methods In Multiphase Flow VIII, Vol 89, Pg. 161-169, 2015

Collatz, MacKenzie; Gruber, Mark; Olmstead, Dell; Branam, Richard; Lin, Kuo-Cheng; Tam, Chung-Jen, “Dual Cavity Scramjet Operability and Performance Study,” AIAA Paper 2009-5030, 2009

Lin, Kuo-Cheng; Tam, Chung-Jen; Jackson, Kevin; Kennedy, Paul; Williams, Skip; Olmstead, Dell; Collatz, MacKenzie, “Fueling Study on Operability Enhancement,” AIAA Paper 2009-5116, 2009