Press Release: 2023 VFS Individual Award Winners

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Valerie Sheehan

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Vertical Flight Society Announces 
2023 Individual Recipients of Its Prestigious Awards

Nine vertical flight leaders recognized for their invaluable contributions

Fairfax, VA, March 21, 2023 — The Vertical Flight Society (VFS) today announces the individual recipients of its prestigious 2023 awards. For nearly 80 years, the VFS 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 79th Annual Grand Awards Banquet on Thursday, May 18, 2023, during the Society’s 79th Annual Forum & Technology Display in West Palm Beach, Florida ( 

“The Society’s first awards were granted in 1944, when Igor I. Sikorsky and Col. H. Franklin Gregory were granted Honorary Fellowships,” said VFS Executive Director Mike Hirschberg. “This year’s awards similar recognize the world’s leading engineers and scientists who have developed groundbreaking new capabilities and technologies.”

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 the Society and the vertical flight community during their career. The 2023 Honorary Fellows are:

  • Robert Hood, Principal Consultant, QUARTEK Engineering Services. Over nearly a half-century, Hood has made countless contributions to the rotorcraft community and aerospace sector at large, to the VFS Australia Chapter, to the education of next-generation rotorcraft engineers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and as technical chair for a number of VFS Australian-Pacific conferences.
  • Tomasz Krysinski, Vice President, Research and Innovation, Airbus Helicopters. For his technical excellence and visionary leadership over 35 years in the development of advanced rotorcraft, including today’s Racer compound helicopter, as well as authoring two books, 18 VFS and European Rotorcraft Forum (ERF) technical papers and 12 patents, mentoring generations of new engineering leaders (including 26 PhD students), and, most recently, leading the VFS Board of Directors.

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 2023 Technical Fellows are: 

  • Oliver Dieterich, Senior Expert Rotorcraft Dynamics, Airbus Helicopters. For his exceptional contributions to the field of applied helicopter dynamics and vibrations, computational and experimental dynamics, and aeromechanics.
  • Prof. Joseph F. Horn, Professor of Aerospace Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University. For 30 years of sustained excellence and leadership in research, teaching and service to the vertical flight community, specifically in the areas of flight controls, simulation, handling qualities and aeromechanics.
  • Dr. Rajneesh Singh, Team Lead, US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Army Research Laboratory. For his body of work in advancing the vertical flight sciences with research contributions in computational aeromechanics, strategic leadership for expanding collaborations, assembling teams for transformative research, and mentoring the future workforce.
  • Dr. Berend G. van der Wall, Senior Expert Rotorcraft, DLR—The German Aerospace Center. For advancing rotary-wing technology through technical leadership and research, and progressing comprehensive simulation code capabilities, while pushing forward the understanding of unsteady airfoil aerodynamics, blade vortex interaction (BVI), the effect of higher harmonic control on BVI and vibration, using experimental and analytical approaches.

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 Arthur W. Linden, the former Boeing-Sikorsky Comanche Program Director. In addition to a long career at Sikorsky, advancing vertical flight and publishing technical and historical papers, Linden was recognized for the seminal historical book, The RAH-66 Comanche Helicopter: Technical Accomplishments, Program Frustration, published last year after nearly a decade of work in conceptualizing, organizing and writing the story of this extraordinary machine, the most advanced helicopter of its day. 

The annual François-Xavier Bagnoud Award is given to a Society member, who is 35 years old or younger, for outstanding career-to-date contributions to vertical flight technology. This year’s award recipient is Dr. Natasha Schatzman, Research Aerospace Engineer, Flight Vehicle Acoustics, NASA Ames Research Center. Schatzman was recognized for outstanding vertical lift research (internationally recognized in rotorcraft acoustics and full-scale wind tunnel acoustics testing), for extensive contributions to the VFS technical community and local VFS San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, and for outstanding mentorship in the rotorcraft field.

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 2023 Haueter Award is being awarded to Alex Stoll, Joby Aviation’s first full-time employee, who was tragically killed in a car accident in February. A pioneer of electric flight and low-noise propulsion, Stoll developed a comprehensive system optimization model that resulted in the Joby electric VTOL air taxi designs. Stoll was a co-inventor on 21 patents, a co-author of numerous technical papers, and an active officer of the VFS San Francisco Bay Area Chapter. 

The Vertical Flight Society was founded as the American Helicopter Society in 1943 by the pioneers of the helicopter industry, who believed that technological cooperation and collaboration were essential to advancing vertical flight. VFS is the global non-profit society for engineers, scientists and others working on vertical flight technology. For more than 80 years, the Society has led technology, safety, advocacy and other important initiatives, and has been the primary forum for interchange of information on vertical flight technology. Descriptions of the awards and past recipients are available at

This press release is also available as a pdf.

The Vertical Flight Society
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