Cool Team

Our Cool Team of workshop leaders have been involved with the aviation and aerospace industry for many years.  They all share a passion for education and teaching the next generation of mechanical and aerospace engineers, designers and technicians.  




Prof. Andrew Neely - National Director Cool Aeronautics

Professor School of Engineering and Information Technology and the Director of International Student Recruitmentand Exchange UNSW Canberra.

Professor Neely leads a research group developing experimental and numerical techniques to model and measure the interactions between the flow-field aerothermodynamics and the thermal-structural response of high-speed flight vehicles and propulsion systems. 

He has a passion for STEM outreach and leads the Cool Aeronautics program in Australia for the RAeS, in conjunction with the AIAA, UNSW, Nova Systems and a growing list of partners.


Olga Hansen - National Co-ordinator Cool Aeronautics      



Canberra Branch

Dr. Bianca Capra - Lecturer UNSW Canberra

Dr. Capra is a passionate and enthusiastic mechanical and aerospace engineer working to train and inspire future generations of innovative engineers. Dr. Capra is excited about all things engineering, with experience in topics ranging from high speed atmospheric and interplanetary flight to generating proactical solutions to reduce the energy use of our built environment. Her second great passion is education of our future STEM leaders, and she has over 11 years' experience in the higher education sector and currently lecturers in aerospace engineering at UNSW Canberra.


Sydney Branch

Matthew Coutts

Matthew is passionate about introducing the next generation to the wonderful world of aviation. He hopes to spark an interest similar to his own, which begun at a very young age when he first travelled overseas. Matthew holds a Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering (Hons) from the University of Sydney and has spent time working in commercial aviation at the Qantas Group for over 6 years.


Brisbane Branch

Mal Benfer - Director Rota Point Consulting

Mal is an Aerospace Engineer with over 35 years experience leading teams in Aviation and the Aerospace Industry in Australia, Europe and the USA. He currently provides consulting support to the Aerospace Industry through his own company, Rota Point Consulting. Mal previously worked at Airbus in Australia as Vice President Capability, and he was also in the Royal Australian Air Force where he spent most of his career supporting the F-111.

The influence of drones on the future of aviation is one of Mal's passions together with STEM Education.


Stratos Patsikatheodorou - Aerospace Engineer MIEAust MRAeS

Stratos is currently working as an Avionics Engineer for Northrop Grumman Australia – Technology Services. In his current role, he provides day-to-day engineering technical solutions for the Air-to-Air Refuelling System on the RAAF KC-30A MRTT.


His previous work in the aviation industry includes Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Avionics) for Qantas Airways in Brisbane, Airline Ramp Services for Aero-Care Flight Support at Melbourne Airport as well as investigating UAV systems as a Research Assistant at QUT’s Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation (ARCAA) in Brisbane. 

Stratos has also previously been employed as a Student Educator at the Victorian Space Science Education Centre (Melbourne). He brings his passion for learning new things and sharing knowledge with students and the wider public to the Cool Aeronautics Team.  


Adelaide Branch

Peter Docking - Aviation Industry Advisor, Fellow RAes.

From an early age, Peter Docking developed a strong interest in aviation and throughout his school years, designed, built and flew model aircraft with varying degrees of success.  On completion of secondary school, Peter commenced flight training at Parafield airport and went on to qualify for his Private and Commercial Pilot Licences with a flying school south of Adelaide at Strathalbyn airfield. Peter has extensive experience in flight training, aviation regulation and management of flight operations. Now, he is bringing that passion and interest in avaition to the next generation of aviators.


Melbourne Branch

Sophie Dawson


Perth Branch

Henry Thai - Engineering Student Curtin University WA

Henry is a passionate advocate for the aerospace arts and sciences, and hopes to inspire the next generation to join this rewarding and fascinating discipline. 

Currently studying engineering at Curtin University, he is involved with Curtin's Space Science and Technology Centre, has worked for the Department of Transport on autonomous vehicle policy, and is the current Vice-Chair of the RAeS Perth branch.


Matteo Vinci