Press Release: VFS Announces 2019 Lichten Award Winners


Julie M. Gibbs

(703) 684-6777

Vertical Flight Society Announces 2019 Lichten Award Winners
Selected for Technical Excellence from First-Time Technical Paper Presenters


Fairfax, Virginia, April 4, 2019 — 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, May 15, 2019, during the Society’s 75th Annual Forum & Technology Display in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Mr. Benjamin León of Georgia Institute of Technology was selected as the overall Lichten Winner. His winning paper, “Ground and Flight Tests of a Cable-Driven Four-Bar Linkage Robotic Landing Gear for Rotorcraft,” will be presented at Forum 75 on Thurs. morning, May 16, during the Advanced Vertical Flight III session. Mr. León was also the winner of the VFS Southern US Region Lichten Competition. 

Mr. Farid Saemi from Texas A&M University was selected as the Lichten Runner-up for his paper, “Semi-Empirical Modeling of Group 1 UAS Electric Powertrains.” His paper will be presented during the Propulsion II technical session on Wed. May 15 and Farid will receive a runner-up certificate. He was the VFS Southwest US Region Lichten winner. 

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

  • Ms. Emily Fisler of University of Maryland, was the winner of the Southeast US Region with her paper, “Fundamental Characterization of Lithium Sulfur Batteries for eVTOL Aircraft.” Her paper will be presented during the Propulsion II session on Wed., May 15.

  • Ms. Brenda Natalia Perez Perez of Science and Technology Corporation, NASA Ames Research Center, was the Western US Region winner for her paper, “Forward Flight Rotor Performance at Martian Atmospheric Densities.” 

  • Mr. Patrick Reilly of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a Lockheed Martin Company, was the Northeast US Region winner for his paper, “Automated Helicopter Main Rotor Track and Balance.” 

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 Helicopter 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 22nd President of the Vertical Flight Society. 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 Helicopter, where he became the director of advance technology. 

More information about VFS’s 75th 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 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
2701 Prosperity Ave, Suite 210, Fairfax, Virginia 22031 USA
phone: 1-703-684-6777; fax: 1-703-739-9279
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