Press Release: Vertical Flight Society Announces 2022 Lichten Award Winners




Julie M. Gibbs

(703) 684-6777

Vertical Flight Society Announces 2022 Lichten Award Winners 
Selected for Technical Excellence from First-Time Technical Paper Presenters

Fairfax, Virginia, April 6, 2022 — 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 Breakfast on Thursday, May 12, 2022, during the Society’s 78th Annual Forum & Technology Display in Fort Worth, Texas, USA. 

2022 Lichten Award WinnersMr. Timothy Schmidt from Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, was selected as the overall Lichten Winner. His winning paper, “Automated Optical Rotor Blade Tip Clearance Tracking Using Artificial Intelligence Algorithms,” will be presented at Forum 78 on Wednesday afternoon, May 11, during the Test & Evaluation I session. Mr. Schmidt was also the winner of the VFS Southern US Region Lichten Competition. 

Mr. Federico Pellegrino from Leonardo Helicopters was selected as the Lichten Runner-up for his paper, “High-Fidelity Modelling of Actuation Systems for Nonlinear Aeroservolastic Analysis of Tiltrotor.” His paper will be presented during the Dynamics I technical session on Wednesday morning, May 11th and Mr. Pellegrino will receive a runner-up certificate. He was the VFS Europe/Africa Region Lichten winner. 

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

  • Mr. Stuart Vardy of Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Co., was the winner of the Northeast US Region with his paper, “Desktop Virtual Reality Design.”
  • Mr. Daniel J. Jaep of Pennsylvania State University was the Mideast US Region winner for his paper, “Acoustic Emission Damage Detection for Bonded Metal-Elastomer Components.” 
  • Mr. Ramsay Ramsey of Texas A&M University was the Southwest US Region winner for his paper, “Design, Development, and Flight Testing of a 50-Pound Quad Cyclocopter.” His paper will be presented during the Forum 78 Aircraft Design II session on Wednesday, May 11.

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 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 78th 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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