Vertical Flight Society Awards

Howard Hughes Award 2018The Society's Awards Program was initiated in 1944 and over the years has paid tribute to the world's outstanding leaders in industry, government and academia. The number of awards presented annually has grown steadily, as has the prestige and importance associated with them. The Vertical Flight Society Awards Program acts as a catalyst for stimulating technological advances in vertical flight aircraft. The Annual Grand Awards Banquet is a highlight of the Society's Annual Forum & Technology Display.

Please consider nominating a colleague or organization for one of our awards. Hundreds of Vertical Flight Society members have been recognized over our 75+ year history. Nominations are due no later than Feb. 20, 2020.

Click on the links below to find out more about each award and for a list of past honored awardees!

Leonardo International Fellowship Award
The Leonardo International Fellowship Award is given for significant contributions to international vertical flight cooperation. Established in 1989, the award honors the memory of Paolo Bellavita, whose career at Gruppo Agusta was marked by his dedication to furthering international cooperation in the world of vertical flight. The honoree receives a scale replica of the award, a statue of Pegasus.
Awardees

François-Xavier Bagnoud Award
The François-Xavier Bagnoud Vertical Flight Award, created in 1992 and first known as the VFS Director’s Award, is given to an individual Society member who is 35 year old or younger for their career-to-date outstanding contributions to vertical flight technology. The Award honors the memory of a young helicopter engineer, Swiss citizen, author and rescue pilot who founded the VFS Student Chapter at the University of Michigan. At 20 years of age, he published a treatise on helicopter aerodynamics. Subsequently, he developed instrument flight rules (IFR) procedures for rotorcraft in Europe, and as a commercial pilot, he performed more than 300 helicopter rescue missions.
Awardees

Grover E. Bell Award
The Grover E. Bell Award is given for an outstanding research and experimentation contribution to the field of vertical flight development brought to fruition during the preceding 18 months. The Grover E. Bell Award was created by Larry Bell, founder of Bell Aircraft (now Bell Helicopter Textron) in 1957, in honor of his pioneering older brother, Grover E. Bell, who was killed in an aircraft crash in 1913. Eligible contributions include sub-systems as well as systems. The award consists of a 3-inch gold medal bearing the profiles of Lawrence and Grover Bell, a certificate, and a $250 honorarium.
Awardees

Frederick L. Feinberg Award
Since 1961, the Frederick L. Feinberg award has been presented to the pilot or crew of a vertical flight aircraft who demonstrated outstanding skills or achievement during the preceding 18 months. It honors the memory of an outstanding helicopter test pilot and an exemplary person. The award consists of a stipend ($200), the engraving of the recipient’s name on a plaque, and an individual plaque.
Awardees

Paul E. Haueter Award
The Paul E. Haueter Award was instituted in 1966 and is given for an outstanding technical contribution to the field of vertical take-off and landing aircraft development other than a helicopter or an operational vertical flight aircraft. The award honors an aeronautical engineer, devoted public servant, and VFS officer who was instrumental in fostering the early development of VTOL aircraft in the United States.
Awardees

Honorary Fellows
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 Vertical Flight Society and the vertical flight community during their career. The granting of Honorary Fellows is in perpetuity, and a certificate and life membership in the Society is given to each Honorary Fellow elected. No more than two such awards are given in any single year.
Awardees

Howard Hughes Award
The Howard Hughes Award is given for an outstanding improvement in fundamental vertical flight technology brought to fruition during the preceding 18 months. The award is intended to foster accomplishments in the basic science and technology disciplines of the vertical flight community, such as aerodynamics, dynamics, structures, propulsion, human factors, electronics, simulation, testing and systems integration. The award was established in 1977 by Hughes Helicopters to honor the memory of Howard Hughes and his pioneering accomplishments in aviation.
Awardees

Harry T. Jensen Award
Since 1986, the Society has given the Harry T. Jensen Award for an outstanding contribution to the improvement of vertical flight aircraft reliability, maintainability, and/or safety through improved design brought to fruition during the preceding year. Established by Sikorsky Aircraft, the award honors Harry Jensen’s contributions to enhance helicopter qualification, structural reliability and safety.
Awardees

Dr. Alexander Klemin Award
Created in 1951 by industry pioneer Frank Piasecki, the Klemin Award is the highest honor the VFS bestows on an individual for notable achievement in advancing the field of vertical flight aeronautics. The award honors the memory of an eminent aeronautical engineer, educator, author, and outstanding pioneer in rotary wing aeronautics.
Awardees

Captain William J. Kossler, USCG Award
The Kossler Award, established in 1951, is given for the greatest achievement in the practical application or operation of a vertical flight aircraft, the value of which has been demonstrated by actual service during the preceding year. The award honors the memory of a US Coast Guard airman, aeronautical engineer, and early advocate of helicopters in search and rescue operations.
Awardees

Alexander A. Nikolsky Honorary Lectureship
Given to an individual who has a highly distinguished career in vertical flight aircraft research and development, and is skilled at communicating their technical knowledge and experience, for whom a summary of their original work represents a valuable reference publication.
Awardees

Robert L. Pinckney Award
The Robert L. Pinckney Award is given for a notable achievement in manufacturing research and development for vertical flight aircraft or components brought to fruition in the preceding year. The Award was created by Boeing in 1995 to honor the memory of Robert L. Pinckney, an eminent manufacturing engineer.
Awardees

John J. Schneider Historical Achievement Award
Established in 2003, in the memory of vertical flight historian/designer John J. Schneider, this award is given to an individual for distinguished achievement in encouraging appreciation of, and enhancing access to, the history and legacy of vertical flight aviation. The selection of the award recipient is based upon a significant achievement or sustained record of accomplishment in the documentation, preservation, analysis and illumination of historically significant events, prominent pioneers and/or technologies, designs and uses of vertical flight aircraft. The award recipient will receive a scale model of Leonardo da Vinci's "Aerial Screw" on an inscribed mount, and a book selected from the titles available through the VFS Online Store.
Awardees

Igor I. Sikorsky International Trophy
The Igor I. Sikorsky International Trophy, created by Sikorsky Aircraft in 1961, honors the memory of a true pioneer in aeronautics, an extraordinary engineer, designer, entrepreneur, and occasional test pilot, responsible for transforming the helicopter from the realm of the experimental to the reality of the production line. The award is given to the company or consortium that designs and builds a helicopter establishing an official world record during the preceding year in the official E-1 categories prescribed by the rules of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.
Awardees

Supplier Excellence Award
Created in 1995, the VFS Supplier Excellence Award is given to a supplier who, through the quality, innovativeness and cost-effective technology of its products, has made a notable contribution to improving the state of the art of vertical flight aircraft.
Awardees

Technical Fellows
VFS Technical Fellowships are granted to Society members whose career-based technical accomplishments significantly advance the interests of the vertical flight community.
Awardees

Vertical Flight Heritage Site
Given to recognize and preserve noteworthy and significant contributions made in both the theory and practice of helicopter and other VTOL aircraft technology. This award promotes the rich history of the vertical lift industry to the public.
Awardees

Chapter Member Increase Contest
First place is awarded to the VFS chapter with the greatest net growth at the end of the contest period (from April 1 to March 31). The winning Chapter receives a plaque or certificate presented at the VFS Annual Awards Banquet.
Awardees

Chapter Percent Increase Contest
First place is awarded to the VFS chapter with the greatest percent increase at the end of the contest period (from April 1 to March 31). The winning chapter receives a plaque or certificate presented at the VFS Annual Awards Banquet.
Awardees

Every Member-Get-A-Member Contest
First place is awarded to the VFS chapter whose members sponsor the most new members during the contest period (from April 1 to March 31). The chapter will receive one credit for each chapter member who sponsors a new member. The winning chapter receives a plaque or certificate presented at the VFS Annual Awards Banquet.
Awardees

Individual Member Sponsor Contest
Sponsor a minimum of 20 new members before April 1st to be eligible to win the Individual Member Sponsor Contest Award. The winner receives a trip to the Annual Forum, including airfare, hotel accommodations, registration and tickets to all social functions (including a spouse or partner).
Awardees

Alfred Gessow Award
Given to the Best Paper at VFS Annual Forum.
Guidelines
Awardees

Robert L. Lichten Award
Established to provide an incentive to VFS members, who have not previously presented the results of their work at a technical forum, to begin presenting their work at local and regional VFS meetings.
Procedures and Eligibility Statement
Eligibility Statement
Awardees

Vertical Flight Foundation Scholarship Recipients
The number of asterisks next to a name indicates multiple awards: * Two-time recipient ** Three-time recipient *** Four-time recipient **** Five-time recipient
Scholarship recipients
Guidelines

Student Design Competition
The Vertical Flight Society in cooperation with the five major rotorcraft manufacturers, conducts an annual design competition in an effort to promote student interest in vertical flight.
Awardees

VFS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition
Awarded to the first team to demonstrate a successful controlled flight of a human powered helicopter, won by AeroVelo in July 2013. Please read the official press release for complete details on this landmark event. Visit the Human Powered Helicopter web page to learn more.
Awardees