Robert J. Butler

Robert J. Butler, Ph.D., P.E.

Principal

Practice Group Director

Automotive Practice Group

Dr. Robert Butler is a Principal and Practice Group Director, responsible for providing strategic and technical leadership for the firm, and overseeing the direction and day-to-day operations of our growing Commercial Vehicles practice.  He joined ESi after serving more than twenty years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, where he served as lead Air Force Engineer for the F120 jet engine, program manager for the C-17 jet engine program, and engineering professor. 

At ESi, Dr. Butler brings sought after expertise in vehicle and aircraft accident investigation and reconstruction gained from nearly two decades in the field, extensive knowledge of mechanical/aeronautical systems, and comprehensive training in accident reconstruction at Northwestern University, the University of North Florida, and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).  His accident reconstruction methodology incorporates state-of-the-art data collection, computer simulation, and software analysis tools.

Motor Vehicles

Dr. Butler has analyzed a wide range of single and multiple vehicle accidents involving commercial vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, racecars, pedestrians, human factors, limited visibility, and mechanical design issues.  His deep understanding of vehicle dynamics allows him to analyze all contributing factors in an accident and accurately determine cause as well as operator and environmental factors which may have contributed to an accident.

Dr. Butler is co-inventor of a laser liquid-crystal measuring method which was granted a U.S. patent.  He is also a certified commercial vehicle brake inspector.

Aviation and Aeronautics

Dr. Butler also has extensive expertise and training in investigating aircraft accidents. His experience includes accidents involving both commercial and private aircraft, mid-air and ground collisions, and mechanical failures. He also has significant expertise in aerodynamics, heat transfer, fluid dynamics, wind tunnels, and experimental testing. 

Prior to joining ESi, Dr. Butler taught Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering courses at the USAF Academy and the USAF Test Pilot School. Relevant topics include fluid dynamics, aerodynamics (subsonic, supersonic, and hypersonic), aeronautics, heat transfer, thermodynamics, and engineering design.  He also served as Professor of Aerospace Studies and Commander at the University of South Florida in Tampa.  Dr. Butler earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering researching jet engine turbine blade heat transfer. 

Over the course of his career, Dr. Butler has authored more than twenty technical papers, reports, and articles, and presented on a wide variety of technical, leadership, and educational topics.  Dr. Butler is also an accomplished amateur racecar driver, mechanic, and high performance driving instructor.

Publications

  • Simulations of Heavy Truck Rollovers and Sleeper Restraint System Effectiveness, SAE International, September 2014
  • Commercial Vehicle Skid Distance Testing and Analysis, SAE International, April 2013
  • Using GPS and Accelerometer Data to Reconstruct Aircraft Flight Parameters, AIAA - 2008-7032, August 2008
  • Using GPS-based Data Acquisition to Evaluate Vehicle and Driver Performance, AIAA-2008-1146, January 2008
  • Analysis of a Hoverwing in Ground Effect, AIAA-2008-0431, January 2008
  • Using GPS-based Data Acquisition in Forensic Accident Reconstruction, Collision - International Compendium of Crash Research, October 2007
  • Evaluation of a General Aviation Flight Data Recorder, AIAA 2007-6365, August 2007
  • Analysis of Occupant Kinemtacis During a Commercial Vehicle/Passenger Vehicle Crash Test, Institute of Police Technology and Mangement, April 2007
  • The Effect of Tubulence Intensity and Length Scale on Low-Pressure Turbine Blade Aerodynamics, International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow, January 2001
  • The Effect of Gearing on Racetrack Vehicle Acceleration - Track Gearing, NSX Club of America, January 2001
  • See CV for further publications

ESi's expertise spans dozens of industries and specializations organized across several practice groups, each staffed by dozens of in-house experts with the technical knowledge, hands-on expertise, and courtroom experience required to execute projects for and with our clients from start to finish.

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