Dr. Thombi Layukallo
The Advanced Marine Vehicles Research Center, Surya University, Indonesia
Dr. Thombi Layukallo was born in 1966 in Jakarta, Indonesia. He obtained his bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from Texas A&M University, USA. Upon his return to his home country in 1989, he immediately joined Indonesia's national airplane program and was instrumental in conducting the wind tunnel tests for the N250 regional turboprop aircraft.
In 1996 he continued his education in Japan, obtaining his master's degree in 1999 and doctorate in 2002. He returned to his native country and immediately got involved in government's research in the wing-in-ground-effect technology. It was during this period that he found passion in marine technologies.
Dr. Layukallo resigned from his government post in 2005 and started getting involved in boat manufacturing industries. He later formed an engineering consulting company, through which he managed the construction of an ocean current power turbine and then led the construction project of a new research vessel for one of Indonesia's government institutions. During the research vessel project, he also had the rare opportunity of developing a manned research submersible, which is capable of operating at 400-meter below the ocean surface.
In recent years, Dr. Layukallo has found new passion in sharing his experiences with Indonesia's youngsters. He became a guest teacher at local schools to teach high-school students the subject of physics and how it is implemented in real life. In 2012, he embarked on a self-funded project to construct a flying hovercraft. He will use this flying hovercraft to reach out to unfortunate teenagers who dropped out of school, give these teenagers the chance to experience the wonders of flying and, by doing so, motivate them to turn their dreams into reality.
In 2013 he took the assignment from the newly established research-based Surya University in Indonesia to head the Advanced Marine Vehicles Research Center. While continuing his work on the flying hovercraft, he remains active in teaching the subject at physics at a local school, where he is also starting a rocketry program for teenagers. He sees the UNISEC program as a very excellent means to bring space and aviation technologies available to youngsters.