Press Release: Vertical Flight Society Announces 2020 Lichten Award Winners




Julie M. Gibbs

(703) 684-6777

Vertical Flight Society Announces 2020 Lichten Award Winners 
Selected for Technical Excellence from First-Time Technical Paper Presenters

Fairfax, Virginia, April 10, 2020 — The Vertical Flight Society today announced the winners of its prestigious Robert L. Lichten technical award. The overall winner will be recognized at the Grand Awards Banquet on Wednesday, October 7, 2020, during the Society’s 76th Annual Forum & Technology Display in Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA.

Ms. Chloe Johnson of University of Texas at Austin was selected as the overall Lichten Winner. Her winning paper, “Experimental Measurements and Low-Order Modeling of Stacked Rotor Performance in Hover,” will be presented at Forum 76 on Wednesday afternoon, October 7, during the Advanced Vertical Flight II session. Ms. Johnson was also the winner of the VFS Southwest US Region Lichten Competition.

Mr. Mrinalgouda Patil from University of Maryland was selected as the Lichten Runner-up for his paper, “A Scalable Time-Parallel Solution of Periodic Rotor Dynamics in X3D.” His paper will be presented during the Dynamics I technical session on Tuesday October 6th and Mr. Patil will receive a runner-up certificate. He was the VFS Southeast US Region Lichten winner.  

The other regional winners, who were finalists for the competition, were as follows:

  • Mr. Kevin Rao Li of The Boeing Company was the winner of the Mideast US Region with his paper, “Implementation of Topology Optimization to Gearbox Housing Design.”

  • Mr. Brendan Smith of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was the Northeast US Region winner for his paper, “A Comparison Multicopter Noise Characteristics with Increasing Number of Rotors.” His paper will be presented during the Forum 76 Acoustics II session on Thursday, October 8.

  • Mr. Andres Sandoval of The Boeing Company was the Western US Region winner for his paper, “Improvements to a Helicopter Gun System Controller Using Active Damping and Ramp Rates for the Bending Corrections.” 

The Robert L. Lichten Award was established in 1976 to encourage VFS members who have not previously presented the results of their work at a technical meeting to begin to do so through presentations at local and regional VFS meetings. Each of the ten regions around the world is eligible to select a regional winner to enter into the international competition, from which an overall winner and runner up are selected. The overall Lichten Award Winner is invited to present his/her technical paper at the Forum and receives complimentary travel to and lodging at the Forum, as well as a $500 honorarium, sponsored by Bell Textron, Inc. The runner-up is also invited to present at the Forum and receives a certificate and complimentary Forum registration.

The Lichten Award honors the memory of Robert L. Lichten, an outstanding rotary-wing engineer and the 22nd VFS President (1965-1966). Lichten was a skilled and dedicated innovator who spent much of his career championing early tiltwing and tiltrotor concepts. He was considered the “Pioneer of Tilt Rotor Technology” for his work at Bell, where he became the director of advanced technology.

More information about VFS’s 76th Annual Forum & Technology Display is available at

Founded as the American Helicopter Society in 1943, the Vertical Flight Society is the global non-profit society for engineers, scientists and others working on vertical flight technology. For more than 75 years, the Society has led technical, safety, advocacy and other important initiatives, and has been the primary forum for interchange of information on vertical flight technology.

This press release is also available as a pdf.

The Vertical Flight Society
2700 Prosperity Avenue, Ste. 275, Fairfax, VA 22031, USA
phone: 1-703-684-6777; fax: 1-703-739-9279
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