Ken Ryan is the Principal Investigator (PI) for Project LARS. A former H-60 helicopter test pilot and combat mission commander, Ken has experienced firsthand the limits inherent in contemporary shaft-centric power trains. From rotor droop on hot-day desert maneuvers to maintenance downtime for powertrain parts large and small, he and pilots of his generation accepted limitations as the price to pay for the privilege to hover. As an operational planner, he saw humanitarian relief operations stymied for lack of heavy lift VTOL options and viable combat options rejected for lack of confidence in the VTOL solution. In his days as a Pentagon Requirements Officer for U.S. Navy Helicopters, Ken imagined tactical VTOL vehicles without a center-shaft drive but saw no such product in the DoD acquisition pipeline. Post retirement, he sought and found tip-drive technology that could replace mechanical processes as a baseline VTOL design. Ken founded KRyanCreative, LLC in April 2013 as an innovative small business designed to CREATE new works of art, DISCOVER better ways to achieve greatness and CHANGE the way we view problem solving. Ken completed 30-years of Naval Service in August of 2011 and moved to the Charleston, SC area to start his innovative small business focused on creative arts, sustainable engineering and inspired education. He is currently working grant proposals for small business innovation research, in addition to completing several works of fiction. His distinguished military career included assignments as a senior staff advisor to Flag and General Officers, Commanding Officer of a tactical helicopter squadron, and an Assistant Professor at a senior service college. He is a Naval Aviator with 18-years in the cockpit, and over 3600-hours of mishap free flying. He is a graduate of U.S. Naval Test Pilot School and a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards).