The Sir Barnes Wallis Medal (Awarded in recognition of an exceptional and innovative contribution to aviation) – Nicholas Lappos
During 40 years of work in the US aerospace industry Nicholas (Nick) Lappos has made an immense contribution, as a test pilot and as an engineer, to the development and application of advanced technologies for aircraft, particularly rotorcraft. During this time, he has accrued over 7,500 flight hours in helicopters, including over 2,500 in experimental or engineering test flying. He has contributed both as an experimental test pilot and in a variety of project engineer, project management and strategic management roles with US aerospace companies. In so doing he has been instrumental in identifying, developing and testing a wide variety of advanced technologies which, when introduced to company products, have made a major contribution to the expansion of civil and military helicopter capabilities on an international scale.
Nick joined the US Army in 1968, training as a helicopter pilot on AH-1 Hueycobra and serving in Vietnam where he was awarded the US Bronze Star and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry.He left the Army and after graduating with a BSc in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1973, joined Sikorsky as a Flight Test Engineer, before being appointed as Experimental Test Pilot. In the following 27 years of flight testing he had a number of important project development roles on CH-53, UH-60 Black Hawk, and RAH-66 Comanche platforms. However his main development task was as Project Pilot for the S-76 civil helicopter; he carried out the first flight, led development and certification flying and was closely identified with this programme throughout the world.
His combination of test pilot skills and engineering training allowed him to make a substantial contribution to a number of world-leading projects. These included Sikorsky’s co-axial, rigid rotor, Advancing Blade Concept high speed aerodynamic research platform, the Shadow fly-by-wire flight control research programme and the Fantail embedded fenestron rotor research project. His ground-breaking work on the theoretical understanding of helicopter manoeuvrability and agility lead to the award of a Technical Fellowship from the American Helicopter Society.
Nick amassed 17 patents for inventions in helicopter engineering, including advanced engine and flight controls offering greater flight safety in degraded visual flight conditions and high manoeuvring states. Many of these concepts were tested in the fly-by-wire flight controls of the RAH-66 Comanche, and are now part of the standard suite of digital control techniques used in rotorcraft. In 2002 he became Programme Manager for the S-92 helicopter and under his leadership, the programme was awarded the prestigious Robert J. Collier Trophy for the most outstanding achievement in US Aeronautics.
In 2005 he moved to Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, serving as Vice President of Government Programmes, and was responsible for the successful integration of advanced radar and sensor technology onto the Gulfstream G-5 aircraft. He then joined Bell Helicopter Textron in 2008 first as Senior VP Research Development and Rapid Prototyping and later as Chief Technology Officer. Many of the advanced features of the Bell 525 Relentless medium helicopterwere developed and proven during his tenure.
He returned to Sikorsky in 2011 as Senior Technical Fellow for Advanced Technology, identifying the advanced technologies essential to the development of new company products and capabilities. He is Chairman of the United States Vertical Lift Consortium, which is chartered to help the US Department of Defense steer the development of the next generation of rotorcraft, known as the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) initiative.
About the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators.
The Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators was established in 1929. It is based in London but has an internationally based membership of professional and private pilots.
The principal activities of the Guild are centred on developing action and activities to ensure that aircraft are piloted and navigated safely by aviators who are highly competent, self-reliant, dependable and respected.
The Guild supports the education and training of pilots and navigators from the initial training of the young pilot to the specialist training of the highest levels. Through its charitable activities, education and training, technical committee work, aircrew selection, scholarships and sponsorships, advice and recognition of the achievements of fellow aviators worldwide, the Guild keeps itself at the forefront of the aviation world.
HeliHub.com understands the award will be formally presented at the Guild’s annual Trophies and Awards Banquet to be held in the Great Hall of London’s historic Guildhall on the 23rd October. The Banquet will be attended by His Royal Highness Prince Andrew Duke of York, Grand Master of the Guild.
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