Press Release: Dr. Wayne Johnson is Awarded the 2010 AHS Alexander A. Nikolsky Honorary Lectureship

November 23, 2009
L. Kim Smith

Dr. Wayne Johnson is Awarded the 2010 AHS Alexander A. Nikolsky Honorary Lectureship

Alexandria, VA -- AHS Executive Director M. E. Rhett Flater announced today that Dr. Wayne Johnson has been selected to receive the Alexander A. Nikolsky Honorary Lectureship.  The Lecture will be delivered at the 66th AHS Annual Forum and Technology Display at the Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, AZ on Wednesday, May 11, 2010 at 4:00 p.m.

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 their technical knowledge and experience.”  In winning the award, Dr. Johnson joins the ranks of previous distinguished Nikolsky recipients including Dr. David Peters, Dr. Ken Rosen, Troy Gaffey, Dr. Richard M. Carlson, Professor Howard C. Curtiss, Jr., Dr. Daniel P. Schrage, David Jenney, Evan Fradenburgh, Kenneth I. Grina, Robert R. Lynn, Rene Mouille, Professor Alfred Gessow, Bartram Kelley, Robert Huston, Bruno Lovera and Professor Barnes McCormick, Jr.

Dr. Johnson was nominated based on his long and distinguished career and numerous outstanding contributions to rotorcraft fundamental research.  He has developed the Comprehensive Analytical Model for Rotorcraft Aerodynamics and Dynamics (CAMRAD, CAMRAD/JA, CAMRAD II) computer program that for close to 30 years has been pivotal to government, industry and academia in their rotorcraft design and analysis capabilities.  These comprehensive analyses have been installed at more than 40 major sites, including helicopter companies, government laboratories, and universities around the world.  Dr. Johnson has been a leading contributor in rotorcraft aeromechanics theory, analysis, and testing and he has been instrumental in the design and development of advanced configurations such as the tiltrotor.  He is also the author of the seminal 1128-page text book on helicopter engineering “Helicopter Theory.”  With both U.S. and foreign sales, this book has had four printings by Princeton University Press with the Dover edition published in 1994.  This text has been the staple of countless senior year and graduate rotary wing aerospace engineering students at all major universities around the world.  Recently, he also developed the design tool NASA Design and Analysis for Rotorcraft (NDARC).

Dr. Johnson is an internationally recognized expert on rotorcraft and is often called upon to support major national activities such as the DoD’s Joint Heavy Lift, the Tiltrotor Aeromechanics Assessment for the U.S. Navy, the NASA Heavy-Lift Rotorcraft Systems Investigation, and DARPA’s Helicopter Quieting Program.

Dr. Johnson has spent his entire career in rotorcraft research.  After graduating with his ScD from MIT in 1970, he worked for the U.S. Army Aeromechanics Laboratory at NASA Ames Research Center and became a NASA supervisor in 1981.  He conducted and supervised the execution of full-scale tests in the NASA Ames 40- by 80- Foot Wind Tunnel.  In 1986, he launched Johnson Aeronautics where he continued to develop and apply rotorcraft comprehensive analyses.  Since 1998 he has worked at the Aeromechanics Branch of NASA Ames Research Center.  Dr. Johnson has published approximately 100 papers and reports on aerodynamics, aeroelasticity, dynamics, noise, control, handling qualities, and tiltrotors.  His productivity is striking because he also includes time to mentor and collaborate with many other engineers.  While he is still very much an active researcher in the field of rotorcraft, his extensive contributions have already had a significant, and permanent, influence on the worldwide rotorcraft community.

Dr. Johnson’s many awards include:  Commander’s Award for Civilian Service, Aeromechanics Laboratory, U.S. Army; NASA Medal for Exceptional Engineering Achievement; in 1982 he was awarded the AHS Grover E. Bell Award; Arthur S. Flemming Award of 1984 from the District of Columbia Downtown Jaycees; the H. Julian Allen Award of NASA Ames Research Center; the AIAA Pendray Aerospace Literature Award; AIAA Fellow; AHS Technical Fellow; and the SAE Arch T. Colwell Merit Award. 

Dr. Johnson’s lecture will be honored at FORUM 66 with the presentation of a certificate and a medallion.  His lecture is titled, “Milestones in Rotorcraft Aeromechanics.”  A written version of his lecture will be featured in an edition of the Journal of the American Helicopter Society.

AHS International – The Vertical Flight Society is a professional, technical society founded in 1943 that represents the interests of the worldwide vertical flight industry.

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Past award recipients