CAFE Foundation Banner
Home Electric Aircraft Green Flight Challenge RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS ABOUT CAFE

  The CAFE Board and Officers

The CAFE Foundation Board


Mike Fenn

Mike was drawn to aviation like a moth to a flame. When he was 7 years old he watched his dad land a U.S. Army Beechcraft. He knew then that he would learn to fly and be involved with airplanes for the rest of his life. He has always loved the smooth shapes and the sounds of airplanes.

Mike earned his private pilot certificate in 1983. He later found a 1949 Temco Swift in need of some tender loving care. Employing his skills as a machinist, he fabricated and assembled the pieces necessary to return the Swift to the air and enjoyed many happy hours flying.

For more than 20 years, Mike has participated at EAA Chapter 124 and served on its Board of Directors. He has designed and fabricated furnishings and accessories for the EAA chapter auditorium. Mike is also an active member of the Pacific Coast Air Museum. In the 1980s Mike was a regular volunteer at the CAFE 400 Races.

Mike employs his skills in drafting, machine work and mechanical design. He has developed specialized parts ranging from micro electronic components to large aircraft parts. Able to build almost anything, Mike enjoys the challenge of taking on new, innovative design projects.

Mike currently serves as the CAFE Board Chair.

Back to top



John Palmerlee

On July 2, 1972 John and his cousin Hart took their first flight in a small plane from a dirt airstrip on their family ranch near Oroville, California. The Wren 460 was a STOL modified Cessna 182, with controllable canards on the cowl and steerable stall fences on the wings – a real performer in its day. This eye- popper kicked off John's love of aviation with a twist for short field performance.

Intending to own his own airplane on a budget, John completed the Aviation Maintenance program at Sacramento City College and bought a Cessna 170A with a small inheritance. The A&P license paid off while he earned his Commercial license and instrument rating. The 170 proved itself in the "bush" during July 1980 by carrying salmon off Alaskan beaches. He earned enough for the trip, and returned with a profound respect for pilots flying in the far North.

A passion for "How things work" brought John to Sonoma State University, where he earned a B.S. in Applied Physics. His senior project was building a scale model noise barrier and source to verify traffic noise attenuation formulae. Following graduation, he worked in research and development for Sound Solutions Acoustical Consulting Services in Santa Rosa, California.

John has been programming computers and tinkering with electronics since High School, and spent 15 years as an independent software engineer. He recently took positions assisting electric vehicle startups in Sonoma County, CA. He belongs to EAA Chapter 124, where he serves as webmaster, and is active with the North Bay Electric Auto Association.

In 2011, John and his Daughter Ellen converted a pickup from gasoline to electric as her high school senior project. After attending two of CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposiums and volunteering at the 2011 Green Flight Challenge, John joined the CAFE Board to support their timely move to green, efficient flight.

John currently serves as the CAFE Foundation Secretary.

Back to top



Bruno Mombrinie

While Bruno graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, most of his time was spent in the AeroAstro Department. As a freshman, he helped build the Chrysalis human powered airplane. Later that summer he got to fly the plane several times. "The feeling of being so, so high (39ft) fly under my own power was beyond…I just wanted to burst…actually I was so out of breath from the effort, I could hardly mouth 'yippee!'"

In 1984, Bruno founded AVEC Scientific Design, which specializes in a line of disposables for operating rooms. He is also CEO of an investment group, Haleys Pump Company, which is developing a medical device for children with spinal cord injuries. It is awaiting FDA approval.

Bruno has always been fascinated in the design and realization of cutting edge technology projects. In 2002 he developed the Negative Mass two piece crankset, the worlds' lightest and stiffest bicycle crankset. In 2005, he was a member of the Lisa Vetterlein Team, setting the woman's human powered vehicle land speed record of 66.65 mph.

Bruno holds several patents and is always involved in some new project. Each summer, AVEC sponsors high school interns to tackle a project. The latest challenge is to develop a windmill-powered vehicle to break the sailing speed records on both land and sea.

Bruno is a member of the Sonoma County Woodworkers Association. He enjoys participating in the annual Bodega Bay Wooden Boat Challenge. He also enjoys vacations in the south of France and exploring tropical islands. He also won’t say no to a day of skiing, sailing, white water rafting or kicking back to watch a good movie.

Back to top


Jeff Hymer

The passion for aviation came at an early age for Jeff, growing up in an aviation family in Sebastopol, CA. In high school, he designed, built and flew several homemade hang gliders off the foothills of Northern California. At Arizona State University, he wrestled, studied aerospace technology and aircraft maintenance. Early in his career he flew for several freight companies, corporations, and one of his most exciting and fulfilling experiences was when he flew for the California Division of Forestry; staging fire fighters during state emergencies.

In 1983 he was offered a position with a major international airline, flying for 28 years before enjoying an early retirement from this amazing career.

Jeff has an ATP license with over 24,000 hours of flight time in 128 different types and models of aircraft. He is type rated in the A-320, DC-9/MD-80, Convair 580, and Convair 440. Obtaining an A&P rating out of college, he has built and rebuilt over 30 single, multi-engine and warbird aircraft.

Jeff has been promoting Aerospace personally by volunteering at EAA Oshkosh for over 12 years, working in flight line operations and the vintage flight line. Additionally, he has been a CAFE volunteer since 2007 working with the acclaimed, NASA Personal Air Vehicle Challenge, and the inspiring, NASA/Google Green Flight Challenge. In 2010 he was asked to participate in the NASA sponsored Aviation Unleashed conference in Langley, VA., planning the future architecture of aviation and aerospace.

Jeff has developed 30 new consumer products and acquired 10 patents, and created an aircraft company that focuses on developing and building lightweight, high-speed VTOL Aircraft.

Currently he is involved with the NASA On Demand Mobility (ODM) project, focusing on Simplified Vehicle Operations (SVO), a very exciting and futuristic plan for the global aerospace community!

Back to top


The CAFE Foundation Director and Advisors



Yolanka Wulff

Yolanka Wulff has over two decades of experience in the creative and collaborative development, implementation and management of mission-driven programs. As an attorney and consultant, Yolanka provides legal and business services and advice in areas that include program development and implementation; stakeholder facilitations and presentations; strategic planning and roadmapping; legal and regulatory compliance; organizational capacity building, growth and transition; entity formation and maintenance; corporate and nonprofit governance; and contracts and other business transactions.

Yolanka has worked in the aviation industry for a number of years, during which time she has developed and implemented programs to promote sustainable aviation, with a primary focus on electric flight. These programs include the Electric Aircraft Symposium, Aviation Green Alliance, the Electric Aircraft Development Alliance, the Electric Flight Symposium, and the Lindbergh Prizes for Electric Flight and for Quietest Aircraft. She has worked with industry, government, academia and nonprofits, on policy, standards and regulations, industry development, market challenges, communications, and public education. Yolanka brings a unique perspective to the industry, recognizing that success requires addressing technical, regulatory and market issues. She is a member of the ASTM Workgroup developing standards for electric aircraft motors.

Back to top


Johanna M. Dempsey

Jo became captivated by the sound of big radial engines in flight at an early age as a United Air Lines brat. She began attending Reno Air Races in 1980 where the sights and sounds compelled her to seek her own niche in the aviation world. Earning her pilot certificates from private through commercial multi-engine and on to instrument flight instructor, Jo flew professionally as a flight instructor for many years. Along the way she purchased, restored and flew a North American T-28C with the help of the Pacific Coast Air Museum (PCAM). For years Jo produced PCAM’s newsletter.

Jo received her bachelor's degree in geology with an emphasis in cartography and remote sensing for California State University, East Bay. She completed graduate work in geology at San Jose State University, and she received her teaching credentials in physical science, math, and geography at Sonoma State University.

As a member of the local EAA Chapter 124, Jo served on the Board of Directors and edited their newsletter. Here she met and flew with CAFE board members and was asked to join their ranks in 1997.

The enthusiasm, creativity, innovation and synergy that encompass CAFE continue to be a delight to Jo. She carries this energy into the classroom where she has taught aeronautics at Santa Rosa Junior College and where she currently teaches high school physical science and math. And although Jo does not race, she photographed the Reno Air Races from pylon 6 for many years.

Back to top


Stephen P. Williams

Ever since he was young, Steve has been interested in science. In high school he studied electronics and helped build and run the school's television studio. At College of Marin he studied engineering and worked in the computer center. In his spare time he started computing "pi" into the thousands of decimal places, and he memorized "pi" to the first fifty digits. Steve studied computer science at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo where he developed a talent for programming as he continued to compute "pi."

At National Controls Steve worked as an engineer designing electronic scales. One of his designs was capable of resolving a weight to one part in a million. This experience proved useful years later in the design of the Barograph that Steve built for Rutan’s Voyager World Flight. After two major design improvements and successful testing in the NASA Ames Research wind tunnel, the Barograph became the highly sensitive instrument CAFE still uses for flight testing and research.

At Hewlett Packard Steve worked as an engineer developing a number of electronic instrument and system designs, including a large spectrum monitoring system. Steve was a principal designer of HP's MSIB bus which allows instruments to communicate with each other. And Steve continued to compute "pi." In fact it was at HP that he achieved one million decimal places for "pi" Steve finally decided that was enough!

Steve developed the formulas which were the basis for the mathematical design and analysis done by CAFE. In 1993 he developed the formula used to score the CAFE Triaviathon. He developed all the software and hardware CAFE has used for research and analysis.

Back to top




Home Electric Aircraft Green Flight Challenge Research & Publications Privacy Policy About CAFE
Copyright © 2020 CAFE Foundation