Chopra Selected as 2018 Nikolsky Lecturer

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Oct. 23, 2017
Valerie Sheehan

Dr. Inderjit Chopra Selected for Prestigious
2018 AHS Alexander A. Nikolsky Honorary Lectureship

Dr. Chopra hedshotFairfax, VA — AHS International — The Vertical Flight Technical Society — announced today that Dr. Inderjit Chopra — Alfred Gessow Professor in Aerospace Engineering, Distinguished University Professor, and Director of the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center at the University of Maryland — has been selected for the prestigious 2018 Alexander A. Nikolsky Honorary Lectureship. The Lectureship is awarded to “an individual who has a highly distinguished career in vertical flight aircraft research and development and is skilled at communicating technical knowledge and experience.”

Dr. Chopra was chosen in recognition for his contributions over a 40+ year career in the field of aeromechanics, as well as educating future generations of rotorcraft engineers, professors and industry leaders. He is internationally recognized for his achievements, and his contributions have resulted in major advances in rotorcraft aeromechanics, including: analyzing and designing composite rotor blades, the development of smart rotor systems with active flaps, human powered helicopters, planetary science aerial vehicles, innovative micro aerial vehicles and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). He will present the 38th Annual Nikolsky Honorary Lecture, “Small UAS and Delivery Drones: Challenges & Opportunities,” at the 74th Annual AHS International Forum and Technology Display on May 15, 2018. The Lecture will cover the state of the art of small UAS and delivery drones, identify technology gaps and key scientific barriers, and present future research needs for high payoff applications.

After first studying in India, Dr. Chopra received his Sc.D. (Aeronautics and Astronautics) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977. At MIT, he worked on dynamic analysis of wind turbines. In 1977, he joined the NASA Ames/Stanford University Joint Institute of Aeronautics & Acoustics, where he worked for four and half years on the development of aeroelastic analysis and testing of advanced helicopter rotor systems in the NASA full-scale wind tunnel. In 1981, he joined the University Maryland as a faculty member and has been working on numerous fundamental and applied problems related to aeromechanics of helicopters including aeroelastic stability, active vibration control, composite blades, rotor head health monitoring, aeroelastic optimization, smart structures, micro air vehicles, and comprehensive aeromechanics analyses.

Dr. Chopra has been the principal investigator of six major research programs: Army's "Rotary-Wing Center of Excellence" (1992-2006), Army's URI on "Smart-Structures Technology: Innovations and Applications to Rotorcraft Systems” (1992-97), Army's MURI on "Innovative Smart Technologies for Actively Controlled Jet-Smooth Rotorcraft" (1996-2001), Army’s MURI on “Micro Hovering Air Vehicles: Revolutionary Concepts and Navigational Advancements” (2004-09), Army’s CTA-MAST on “Center for Microsystem Mechanics” (2008-18), and Army/Navy/NASA’s “Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence (VLRCOE)” (2011-21).

Dr. Chopra authored the 920-page textbook, “Smart Structures Theory,” as well as more than 200 archival journal papers and 370 conference proceedings papers. He has been an associate editor of the Journal of the AHS (1987-91), Journal of Aircraft (1987-cont.), Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures (1997-2012) and International Journal of Micro Air Vehicles (2014-cont.). In addition, he has been a member of the editorial advisory board of five journals, VERTICA (1987-91), Smart Materials and Structures (1994-01), SADHANA (1991-95), Journal of Aircraft (2002-cont.) and International Journal of Aerospace Engineering (2007-09).

Dr. Chopra is an Honorary Fellow and Technical Fellow of AHS International, a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and a Fellow of Aeronautical Society of India. He was awarded the 1992 University of Maryland’s Distinguished Research Professorship, 1995 UMD's Presidential Award for Outstanding Service to the Schools, 2002 AIAA SDM Award, 2002 AHS Grover E. Bell Award, 2001 ASME Adaptive Structures and Material Systems Prize, 2002 A. J. Clark School of Engineering Faculty Outstanding Research Award, 2004 SPIE Smart Structures & Materials Lifetime Achievement Award, 2008 Indian Institute of Science Centenary Distinguished Alumni Award, 2009 AHS Alexander Klemin Award, 2011 American Helicopter Museum & Education Center’s Achievement Award, 2012 AHS Igor Sikorsky International Trophy and 2016 ASME Spirit of St. Louis Aviation Medal.

The Nikolsky Honorary Lecture will be delivered by Dr. Chopra on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. He will be honored at the Forum 74 Annual Grand Awards Banquet with the presentation of the Alexander A. Nikolsky medallion and certificate on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. A detailed written treatise expanding his lecture will be featured in the Journal of the American Helicopter Society, the world’s only scientific journal dedicated to vertical flight. Information on Prof. Alexander A. Nikolsky and prior Nikolsky Lectures are available at

The American Helicopter Society (AHS) International is the global technical society for engineers, scientists and others working on vertical flight technology. AHS brings together industry, academia and governments to tackle the toughest challenges in vertical flight. Since 1943, AHS has led technology, safety, advocacy, and other important initiatives, and has been the primary forum for interchange of information on vertical flight technology.

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