Dr. Michael Winter began his engineering career by investigating mysteries – paradoxes, unexplained phenomena. Now, 35 years later, he has an innate ability to take complex concepts at a fundamental level – such as how to build better jet engines – and demystify them for anyone.
Dr. Winter’s extensive knowledge, experience and contributions to the aviation industry – including more than 40 patents and more than 50 published technical articles – are well-known within Pratt & Whitney and beyond . Recently Dr. Winter was inducted as a Fellow into the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the world’s largest aerospace professional society. He is also being inducted into the Connecticut Academy of Sciences and Engineering (CASE). Dr. Winter is being recognized for advancing Pratt & Whitney’s knowledge of aerospace combustion processes and bringing model-based control to a variety of aerospace systems.
He is a self-described “lab rat” with a doctorate degree in applied physics and plenty of experience finding ways to bring the speed and thrust that give flight to some of the world’s largest, fastest and most complex aircraft. Over the course of his career, Dr. Winter has honed the ability to focus in on the principal technical behavior going on in advanced systems and then conducted key tests that help identify and understand them - and he’s done so both in the laboratory and leadership positions. Based on his observations of what’s taking place underneath the surface of our advanced technologies, Dr. Winter has been able to use our people and labs to garner a deeper understanding of why and how these things are taking place.
“I’ve had an atypical career trajectory, being a senior executive a number of times and a senior Fellow a number of times, and leading international organizations,” said Dr. Winter, who now leads Pratt & Whitney’s technology portfolio as a principal fellow of Advanced Technology. “All of the challenges I’ve faced here are interesting, and I’ve had such amazing experiences with the company.”
Now, he and his colleagues at Pratt & Whitney are bringing their years of expertise to bear on one of the industry’s biggest challenges: making engines more environmentally sustainable.
“Global climate change is non-negotiable,” said Dr. Winter. “The data are clear: If we don’t take direct action there will be future dire consequences to our planet and to our company.”
Dr. Winter, a longtime advocate of building more fuel-efficient engines, is part of a team that works with industry and government agencies to obtain funding for new projects and scientific research. Demand for that innovation is coming from the market as well as from environmental concerns, he said.
Shifting to more fuel-efficient, climate-friendly technologies “is both a growth opportunity and a business imperative,” said Dr. Winter. “It’s always been important. We need to make our engines more sustainable. Our customers are asking for it, and it’s the right thing to do.”
“Pratt & Whitney has always prided itself in leading architectural shifts in engine technology, ever since the WASP engine, the twin spool that enabled the commercial jet age, to the GTF,” said Dr. Winter. “This is our legacy.”
As he reflects on his career with Pratt & Whitney and all that he’s accomplished in the last 35 years, Dr. Winter also expresses his optimism and excitement for what’s to come.
“The future is bright for Pratt & Whitney and Raytheon Technologies. Everyone should be proud of what we do here,” said Dr. Winter. “Jet engines are such fascinating machines to work on, I get excited just thinking about the hard problems it presents every day.”