The Advanced Engineering Technology Conference® was originally conceived to provide an independent and unbiased forum for the exchange of the latest engine technology.The AETC® was started in 1989 by the founder and then owner of SuperFlow.
The AETC® was originally held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, until it was moved to its current location in 2005 to precede the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) show held in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The conference continues to be a must-attend event for engine builders, racers, engineers, salesmen, media and gearheads of all backgrounds and interests.
Over the years various formats have been used. The current program features several speakers per day over a span of two days.
Networking has become the key to the success of the AETC® – the shoulder-to-shoulder camaraderie is priceless, and the opportunities are endless.
In recent years, members of the automotive press were encouraged to attend, which increased media coverage for the event and provided access to the real movers and shakers of engine technology.
Throughout its history, there have been speakers and attendees from all aspects of the automotive performance industry and all over the world.
Over the years, the AETC® has awarded several Lifetime Achievement Awards to recognize individuals who have dedicated their lives to the industry. The very first LAA was given to Don Sullivan from Ford who originally designed the Ford Flathead and at 85 years old still worked at Ford SVO at the time he attended the AETC®.
Others notables recognized by the AETC® include;
- Zora Arkus-Duntov – Chevrolet engineer and inventor of the Corvette
- Harvey Crane – founder of Crane Cams
- Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins – father of Pro Stock
- Ed Iskenderian – founder of Isky Cams
- Tom Hoover – 426 Hemi design team leader
- Jay Eitel – inventor of the “cherry picker” and other devices
- Neal Williams – founder of SuperFlow
- Joe Mondello – legendary head porter
- Dr. Dean Hill – engineering educator and fuel guru
- Harold Bettes – AETC® mouthpiece, consultant and author
Another example of a landmark event involved Zora Arkus-Duntov. In an amazing keynote address, Arkus-Duntov, father of the Corvette, was interviewed by engineer Jim McFarland concerning his career at Chevrolet.
In fitting tribute, the local Corvette club picked up Zora and his wife at the airport and drove him to the AETC® in a Corvette convoy. It was a priceless moment that was forever etched into the history of the AETC®.
Landmark engineering news has been presented first to AETC® attendees on several occasions. The announcement of the now famous LS Chevrolet engine series was presented by Ron Sperry, who discussed the design goals of the iconic pushrod engine.
The reintroduction of the Chrysler NASCAR engine was also staged at the AETC® before the project was completed and before magazines were shown this information.
Many NASCAR, IRL and LeMans racers, as well as state-of-the-art Pro Stock engine technology, have been launched from the AETC® platform. One presenter was offered a job from a name NASCAR racing team solely on the basis of his presentation at the AETC®.
During another conference, an in-depth presentation of the entire Formula 1 engine design process was outlined, including a discussion of a 20,000 rpm pneumatic valve train system.
Mainstream engines may see headlines, but innovative thought may carry the most effective benefits for future engineering development. On one occasion, some engineers from Switzerland presented information on a tiny engine that they had developed in less than a year.
The four-cylinder DOHC turbocharged engine made 250 hp (1000 hp per liter), and was a little longer than a dollar bill. Their video of the engine during testing was incredible, as it spun up to 16,000 rpm in each gear.
The engine was an engineering exercise developed for a sidecar racer in Europe. The Swiss group developed some four valve heads for the Chevy Small Block engine as a result of their work on the tiny engine.
The makeup of AETC® attendees is very diverse and ranges from people that have an interest in motorsports and engines to professional race team personnel, engineering educators and hobbyists, as well as original equipment designers and engine builders.
Educational levels for attendees range from high school graduates to PhDs, all with the common denominator of having interest in improving the overall performance of their engines. The presentations are typically a rich mix of both theoretical and practical applications with adequate time allowed for questions and answers.
There are even opportunities for attendees to participate in panel discussions.
AETC® topics have been varied over the years and have included mileage, fuels, combustion efficiency, valve train stability, ring sealing and gaskets, just to name a few.
The motorsports knowledge and experience of the attendees include many unique venues of competition and development. Marine, Bonneville land speed racing, oval track, motorcycle, aviation, and drag racing (boats and cars) are all represented with a great number of new ideas on engine improvements being exchanged.
The Advanced Engineering Technology Conference® is an event that must be fully experienced by an individual to appreciate its full benefit. The AETC® is an industry platform that continues to provide engineers and avid gearheads opportunities beyond the normal scope of business.