Aerospace engineer, Dale Enns (who grew up in Sleepy Eye) was recently honored with a Honeywell Lifetime Achievement Award.
Editor’s note: A friend of Dale Enns shared this information with the Herald-Dispatch. Enns is my grade school classmate. He is the son of the late Adeline Enns. His wife Laurie (Wendinger) is also from Sleepy Eye.
Aerospace engineer, Dale Enns, grew up in Sleepy Eye—attending Sleepy Eye Elementary School with the class of 1973, and graduating from a Lutheran high school in Wisconsin. He went to work at Honeywell in 1979. He was recently honored with a Honeywell Lifetime Achievement Award.
Following are comments made by Aerospace Chief Technology Officer Joe Kenney when he presented the award at the Feb. 22 Honeywell Technology Awards Night in Phoenix.
As a kid growing up in a small town in Minnesota, Dale liked to take things apart and put them back together – just to see how they worked. That’s an inclination that many of us in this room shared, much to our parents’ dismay.
He developed an early interest in math and science and initially wanted to become a physicist. Then he discovered engineering – and we’re sure glad he did.
The ink was still fresh on Dale’s bachelor’s degree when he knocked on Honeywell’s door in 1979. His first assignment was working on flight controls for the F-16 fighter. It must have been a pretty good fit, because almost four decades and a couple of degrees later, Dale is still in the flight control business.
Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement. Dale truly is Honeywell’s resident expert on flight controls and, more than that, is recognized throughout the aerospace industry as one of the world’s foremost authorities in the field.
Dale has been instrumental in the evolution of flight controls from the theoretical to the practical. His innovations are applied every day in just about anything that flies, from airliners and helicopters to spacecraft and unmanned vehicles.
Dynamic inversion is one of the fundamental principles in flight control, having to do with the way variables are managed to control the motion of vehicles – like airplanes. It’s the most applied flight control theory in aviation – and Dale had more than a little to do with that.
He developed software called MACH – which stands for Multi-Application Control Honeywell. It’s a reusable algorithm that can be adapted for use on anything that moves – from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to the antenna on a weather radar system.
It’s estimated that MACH has saved Honeywell more than $50 million in design costs, has generated more than $1 billion in program and research project wins over the last 20 years and has enabled Honeywell to become the undisputed leader in flight control systems.
Honeywell thinks very highly of Dale – and so do our customers, who often ask for him by name. In 2003 he was asked to join the U.S. Air Force Scientific Advisory Board – a rare honor for a civilian. And a few years ago, Dale was responsible for preserving our relationship with Embraer by jumping in to solve a wing oscillation issue on the Embraer 145 Legacy aircraft.
Obviously, Dale has had many outstanding achievements during his Honeywell career. He continues to be inspired and energized by his work, which these days includes helping the Air Force Research Laboratory develop autonomous spacecraft controls and applying control laws to our RDR7000 radar antenna.
As a senior research fellow, Dale is a great mentor and teacher to the new generation of Honeywell engineers and has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota – spreading his knowledge and experience far and wide.
He’s known for his patience with colleagues who don’t know flight controls as well as he does – which is pretty much everyone. This probably explains his motto: “All things come to those who wait … as long as they work hard while they’re waiting.”