2016 AHS Awards Recipients

AHS Press Release


Valerie Sheehan

AHS International Announces 2016 Recipients of its Prestigious Awards

Fairfax, VA, March 15, 2016 — AHS International – The Vertical Flight Technical Society – today announced the 2016 recipients of its prestigious awards program, which has, since its establishment in 1944, 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 18, 2016, during AHS International’s 72nd Annual Forum and Technology Display in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA.

“The vertical flight technical community produces incredible advances every single day,” said AHS Executive Director Mike Hirschberg. “The AHS International Awards Program recognizes the most significant accomplishments around the world, whether by engineers and scientists developing new technologies, innovative companies, or pilots using vertical flight aircraft to save lives or demonstrate new capabilities. Those being recognized this year are truly remarkable.”

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 AHS International and the vertical flight community during their career. Recipients receive lifetime membership in the Society. The AHS bylaws limit the award of Honorary Fellows to no more than two individuals per year. The 2016 Honorary Fellows are:

  • Dr. Arvind Kumar Sinha is Director of Engineering, Helicopter Systems Division, Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group, Department of Defence, Australia. He has had an extensive, successful career in support of military helicopters. Both in India and Australia, Dr Sinha has been exceptional in his passion and commitment to making aircraft more effective and safer. Dr. Sinha has served as the President of the AHS Australia Chapter, the principal organizer of numerous AHS and other technical conferences, and Director of the Asia-Australia Region on the AHS International Board of Directors. A former Professor and Director of Aerospace and Aviation Research Centre at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, he holds two undergraduate and three postgraduate degrees, and a PhD in aerospace engineering. He has been in active military service as an engineering officer and combatant paratrooper over two decades.

  • Steven D. Weiner is the Chief Engineer for the Sikorsky-Boeing Joint Multi-Role Rotorcraft (JMR) and Chief Engineer of Innovations at Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company. He has been an active AHS member since 1976 has provided significant leadership in the design, build and test of many of the highest performance helicopters ever flown. Among numerous other accomplishments, Weiner personally lead the technical activity that successfully demonstrated the 252 kt (467 km/hr), Collier Award-winning X2 Technology Demonstrator, and was instrumental on the development of technologies for the RAH-66 Comanche. He holds two masters degrees and eight patents related to Fantail anti-torque systems and X2 Technology.

The AHS Technical Fellow Awards are granted to Society members whose career-based accomplishments towards the goals and objectives of the vertical flight technical community constitute an outstanding technical achievement. This year’s recipients are as follows:

  • Prof. Olivier A. Bauchau, Igor Sikorsky Professor of Rotorcraft, University of Maryland

  • Dr. Gloria K. Yamauchi, Aerospace Engineer, NASA

  • Mr. Daniel I. Newman, Senior Technical Fellow in Aircraft Configuration Development, The Boeing Company

  • Mr. Christopher L. Blanken, Lead, Vehicle Management and Control (VMC) Technical Area, US Army Aviation Development Directorate (ADD)-Aeroflightdynamics Directorate (AFDD)

The AgustaWestland International Fellowship Award recognizes significant contributions to international vertical flight cooperation. This year’s winner is the UK Search and Rescue (SAR) Team. In April 2015, Bristow Helicopters Ltd began conducting SAR missions on behalf of the United Kingdom’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA). The UK SAR helicopter service employs a new fleet of specially commissioned Sikorsky S-92 and AgustaWestland AW139 and AW189 SAR aircraft, and is responsible for all maritime and inland search and rescue. This entire effort has involved an extensive international team to design, develop and equip the aircraft, train the crews, and create and manage the logistics and operations systems.

The Grover E. Bell Award is given for an outstanding research and experimentation contribution to the field of vertical flight development. This year’s recipient is Sikorsky S-97 Raider Team. The successful first flight on May 22, 2015, demonstrated the viability of designing, tooling, manufacturing, assembling, and testing the industry-funded prototype rotorcraft.

This year’s recipient of the Howard Hughes Award, given in recognition of an outstanding improvement in fundamental helicopter technology brought to fruition in the previous year, is the Boeing-US Army Multi-Role Rotor–Adaptive Performance (MRRAP). The three-year program matured and demonstrated a new active rotor design that would provide significant performance benefits for current and future rotorcraft. This new morphing rotor system significantly increases rotorcraft hover and cruise performance while simultaneously reducing vibration and noise.

The Harry T. Jensen Award is given for an outstanding contribution to the improvement of reliability, maintainability, safety or logistics support through improved design or technical achievement. This year’s award is given for the Sikorsky S-92. With nearly one million fleet hours of operation, its accident rate is less than 1/10 of the US Civil Multi-Turbine engine helicopter accident rate. This unprecedented rotorcraft safety record is due to: stringent transport category helicopter safety requirements developed by US and international regulatory authorities, groundbreaking safety features incorporated into the type design, an extraordinary commitment to safety by operators, and continued safety enhancements and fleet support by Sikorsky.

The Robert L. Pinckney Award is given in recognition of notable achievement in manufacturing research and development for vertical flight aircraft or components. This year’s recipient is the V-280 Wing Development Team, comprised of Bell Helicopter, Kaman Composite Structures, KUKA Systems, Leading Edge Aerospace and Aviation, and the US Army’s Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC). From innovative product design to next generation composite materials and fabrication processes, the VΓÇÉ280 wing design results in greater than 50% nonrecurring savings and 57% recurring savings over legacy tilt rotor wings with a raw material utilization improvement of 25%.

The Society’s Paul E. Haueter Award is presented each year for significant contributions to the development of vertical take-off and landing aircraft (VTOL) other than helicopters. The 2016 Haueter Award is being awarded to Mike Nyalko, Col (Ret.), US Marine Corps. Nyalko contributed to advancing the state of the art in vertical flight through his role as the USMC project test pilot for the AV-8B Harrier II during the developmental flight test program in the early 1980s; as the Director of the joint DARPA/Navy Advanced Short Takeoff/Vertical Landing (ASTOVL) Advanced Development Program Office in the early 1990s and then the first Director of Systems Engineering for the Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) / Joint Strike Fighter Program (JSF) Program.

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 Dr. Moble Benedict. His career to date spans vertical flight research, first as a graduate student and as a research scientist at the University Maryland, and currently as an Assistant Professor at the Texas A&M University. He is one of the pioneers in micro air vehicle technology, viz., aeromechanics design, autonomous controls and micro-sensors/actuators. His research has produced over 40 papers presented at leading conferences and 24 articles in key archival journals.

Dr. William Warmbrodt, Chief of the Aeromechanics Branch at NASA Ames Research Center, is this year's honored recipient of the Dr. Alexander Klemin Award, the highest honor the AHS bestows on an individual for notable achievement in advancing the field of vertical flight aeronautics. Dr. Warmbrodt has spent his career, over 35 years, dedicated to improving understanding of aeromechanics of rotorcraft both from an analytical and experimental perspective. In addition to his technical contributions, an important part of his legacy will be the more than 500 college and high school interns he has brought into the NASA Aeromechanics Branch in the last decade, mentoring many of them personally, and having a tremendous impact on the future of all of them.

The Society’s Captain William J. Kossler, USCG Award is given for the greatest achievement in the practical application or operation of vertical flight aircraft, the value of which has been demonstrated by actual service during the preceding year. This year, the Kossler Award is being presented to the Crew of United States Coast Guard Helicopter 6027 for their heroic efforts on the night of October 1, 2015, successfully savings the lives of 12 sailors, at night and in the middle of the Category 4 Hurricane Joaquin, battling 50+ kt (93 km/hr) winds, turbulence, thick clouds, heavy thunderstorms and 15-ft (4.5 m) seas. The crew went out three times — even after damage to their MH-60 Jayhawk required an aircraft change — over seven hours, in order to rescue every crewmember of the M/V Minouche.

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 Troy Caudill, Bell 525 Chief Experimental Test Pilot. In addition to flight testing the world’s first fly-by-wire commercial helicopter, Caudill was deeply involved in establishing the helicopter’s design requirements during initial development, testing the 525’s redundancy management architecture, assisted with certification plans, and coordinating 525 training for additional pilot staff as more aircraft are flying.

The Triumph Group is this year’s recipient of the AHS Supplier Excellence Award. This 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. Triumph Group, Inc., headquartered in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, is a global leader in manufacturing and overhauling aerospace structures, systems and components. Triumph was particularly lauded for “its outstanding performance on development programs at Sikorsky, specifically the design and build of the S-97 RAIDER™ landing gear and the build of the S-97 RAIDER™ transmission.”

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 Dr. Bruce H. Charnov, Associate Professor Emeritus, Hofstra University, a world-renowned expert in the history of rotary-wing aircraft with a specialization in Autogiros and gyroplanes.

The Vertical Flight Heritage Sites Program is intended to recognize and help preserve locations with the most noteworthy and significant contributions made in both the theory and practice of helicopter and other VTOL aircraft technology. This year, two sites were selected for their historic significance.

  • Leonardo da Vinci’s Studio, first known VTOL design (c. 1487) — Milan, Italy

    While working for the Ludovico il Moro Duke of Milan, Leonardo da Vinci produced the concept of a flying machine capable of vertical take-off and landing using a rotating wing, the Helix Aerial Screw, which is generally considered to be the first proposal for a helicopter.

  • Kingsley Flats, first VTOL flight in US (1908) — Hammondsport, New York, USA

    On May 22, 1908, the experimental helicopter of John Newton Williams, powered by an engine designed and built by Glenn Hammond Curtiss, lifted a person in vertical flight for the first time in the United States. This site, known as Kingsley Flats, hosted the work of Alexander Graham Bell’s Aerial Experiment Association in the support of the Williams’ Helicopter experiments and testing from January to May 1908, resulting in this aeronautical first.

AHS International previously announced in October 2015 that Mr. Tom L. Wood was selected for the 2016 Alexander A. Nikolsky Honorary Lectureship; this award will also be presented at the AHS Annual Awards Banquet.

The American Helicopter Society (AHS) International is the world’s premier vertical flight technical society. Since its inception in 1943, AHS has been a major force in the advancement of vertical flight. It provides global leadership for scientific, technical, educational and legislative initiatives that advance the state of the art of vertical flight. Descriptions of each of the awards and past recipients are available on the Society’s website at www.vtol.org/awards.

This press release is also available as a PDF.

AHS International – The Vertical Flight Technical Society
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