Vertical Flight Society Announces Individual Recipients of its 75th Annual Awards

Vertical Flight Society Announces Individual Recipients of its 75th Annual Awards

11-Apr-2019 Source: VFS

The Vertical Flight Society announced the individual recipients of its prestigious awards program for 2019. Since its establishment in 1944, the Society’s awards program has paid tribute to the outstanding leaders of vertical flight and served as a catalyst for stimulating technological advances. This year’s winners will be recognized at the Grand Awards Banquet on Wednesday, May 15, 2019, during the Vertical Flight Society’s 75th Annual Forum & Technology Display in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (

“The Society’s first awards were granted in 1944 to Igor I. Sikorsky and Colonel H. Franklin Gregory. For three-quarters of a century, we have recognized the giants of vertical flight in industry, academia and government,” said VFS Executive Director Mike Hirschberg. “This year’s winners highlight impressive advances in vertical flight, including engineers and scientists developing groundbreaking new capabilities and technologies.”

Dr. David A. Peters, McDonnel Douglas Professor of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, is this year’s honored recipient of the Dr. Alexander Klemin Award, the highest honor that VFS bestows on an individual for notable achievement in advancing the field of vertical flight aeronautics. Peters is world-renowned for his work in inflow theory and rotorcraft aerodynamics, and has contributed significantly to the rotorcraft community as an educator and researcher.

The title of Honorary Fellow is granted to highly distinguished Society members who have made exceptional leadership, innovative or other meritorious contributions that have significantly advanced VFS and the vertical flight community during their career. The 2019 Honorary Fellows are:

Prof. Peretz Friedmann, François­-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan. In a career that spans 47 years, Friedmann has made outstanding and lasting seminal contributions to understanding rotary­wing aeroelasticity, on-blade control of vibration and noise, optimum design of low vibration helicopter rotors, rotorcraft aeromechanics and unsteady aerodynamics, as well as longtime support of VFS.
William Welsh, Technical Fellow, Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company. Welsh was recognized for more than three decades of leadership in advancing the state of the art in the active control of noise and vibration in helicopters, for his leadership in mentoring the next generation of vertical flight engineers, and consistent and energetic support of VFS.
The title of Technical Fellow is granted to Society members whose career-based accomplishments towards the goals and objectives of the vertical flight technical community constitute an outstanding technical achievement. The 2019 Technical Fellows are:

Dr. Brahmananda Panda, Technical Fellow, The Boeing Company, for advancing the state-of-art multidisciplinary rotorcraft analysis tools during his 25 year career at Boeing.
Mark Potsdam, Aerospace Engineer, US Army Aviation Development Directorate, who has made numerous, substantial contributions to the development and application of computational aerodynamics to rotorcraft problems.
Dr. Hossein Saberi, Executive Vice President, Advanced Rotorcraft Technology, Inc., who is an internationally-recognized authority on rotorcraft aerodynamics, structural dynamics and flight control, whose contributions have significantly advanced the state of the art in rotorcraft technology.
Darryl Toni, Senior Fellow, Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, whose leadership in the development of advanced composite helicopter airframe structures resulted in the flight demonstration and production of the majority of Sikorsky designs of this type over the last three decades.
The Society’s Paul E. Haueter Award is given for an outstanding technical contribution to the field of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft development other than a helicopter or an operational vertical flight aircraft. The 2019 Haueter Award is being awarded to Dr. Benjamin Tigner of Karem Aircraft, Inc. for his contributions to and leadership in the development of the optimum speed tiltrotor for military and civil applications, including all-electric urban air mobility applications.

This year’s François-Xavier Bagnoud Award is given to an individual Society member under the age of 35 for their career-to-date outstanding contributions to vertical flight technology. This year’s winner is Edward W. Brouwers of The Boeing Company. Brouwers has led Boeing’s effort to develop integrated flight technology tools to enable multi-disciplinary development for both passive and active rotors, and is a recognized expert in rotorcraft icing.

The Frederick L. Feinberg Award is presented to the pilot or crew of a vertical flight aircraft who demonstrated outstanding skills or achievement during the preceding year. This year’s award is given to Bill Fell, Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company. As the primary test pilot for X2 Technology aircraft, Fell has been instrumental in driving the development of both the S-97 Raider and SB>1 Defiant.

The John J. Schneider Historical Achievement Award is given in recognition of distinguished achievement by an individual in encouraging appreciation of, and enhancing access to, the history and legacy of vertical flight aircraft. This year’s recipient is Robert Petite, pilot, fire-fighting air attack officer, author and one of the world’s foremost helicopter industry historians. He has been continuously publishing books and articles about the history of the helicopter industry and its pioneers for the past 25 years.

The Vertical Flight Society previously announced that Nicholas D. Lappos — Senior Fellow Emeritus of Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company — was selected for the 39th Annual Alexander A. Nikolsky Honorary Lectureship; this award will also be presented at the VFS Annual Awards Banquet. Lappos’s lecture is entitled, “Design Advantages of an Integrated Cyber-Physical Aircraft.”

The Vertical Flight Society separately announced the winners of its group awards for 2019.

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