BLS Featured CLSO: Denny Rossbach
Tell us about yourself
I am a systems engineer, but I have worked with, and on lasers and laser systems since 1968. I have a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico, a M.S. in Space Physics from the Air Force Institute of Technology, and BPh in (Engineering) Physics from The University of Minnesota.
I was a crew member and responsible for aligning the laser on the Airborne Laser Laboratory which destroyed air-to-air missiles in flight in the early 1980’s and have worked on most of the Directed Energy High Power systems:
Advanced Tactical Laser – Ground Test-Director and I&T Lead
The Airborne Laser (ABL) – AVIT System test Plan Author, Pre-test Simulation, LSO
Relocatable High Energy Laser System – I&T and LSO
High Energy Laser Mobility Demonstrator – LSO and Systems Safety
Man Portable High Energy Laser System – LSO and Field Test
I also worked on a number of solid state laser systems and optical designs including Adaptive Optics for European VLT and the first commercial communications fiber laser. These systems have ranged from kilowatt to megawatt class. I recently retired from Boeing where I was the Directed Energy Systems LSO and where over 100 Class 3B and Class 4 lasers were used. I am now consulting for two small businesses in the local area. My first Laser Eye Exam was in 1968 before high speed film was used and I helped demonstrate that the original government exam was potentially damaging from the flash-lamp exposures.
What challenges have you encountered?
I have never been on an effort where personnel were seriously injured or where their vision was damaged with the lasers we have used. It has occasionally been challenging to maintain a safety-oriented outlook when system schedules were at risk.
How has becoming certified benefited you in your career?
My certification immediately involved me with Boeing enterprise-level responsibilities. I was moved to Boeing Test and Evaluation, included in a number of process manage`ment teams, consulted by dozens of Boeing sites, both in the US and overseas regarding lasers, laser safety, flight test, and import-export issues. I was assigned as LSO for several flight test programs and invited to help rewrite the company guides and training for laser safety. I attended ILSC in Florida and met many other LSOs and MLSOs across a variety of industries. My certification was key in allowing me to convince Boeing to be a sponsor during the 2015 ILSC. Over time, I have joined the Z136.1, Z136.6 and TSC-5 subcommittees and find that activity very rewarding. Don’t hesitate, get certified!