2023 Chapter Awards

The Board of the San Fransisco Bay Area Chapter recognized the recipients of the 2023 chapter awards at the annual Awards Banquet held on August 9, 2023 in Mountain View, CA. Recipients of the awards are selected annually, from nominations submitted by SFBAC VFS members, by a special advisory board. These awards are an opportunity for the local VFS Chapter to recognize the outstanding work and significant accomplishments achieved by the VTOL technical community.

Velkoff Award for Outstanding Paper

Norman et. al for their paper “Fundamental Test of a Hovering Rotor: Comprehensive Measurements for CFD Validation” presented at the Vertical Flight Society’s 79th Annual Forum & Technology Display. Their research improves understanding of rotor dynamics and aerodynamics including airfoil boundary layer transition, blade deflections, rotor wake geometry including unsteadiness, and the flow field 3D velocity field. 

Schroers Award for Outstanding Rotorcraft Research

NASA/Army HVAB Rotor Test Team for providing detailed test data of a 11-ft diameter, four-bladed rotor, using a variety of measurements. The HVAB test includes thermography, photogrammetry, shadowgraphy, and particle image velocimetry. This comprehensive rotor dataset will inform the next generation of high performance rotorcraft designs.

Franklin Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Powered Lift Field

Side by Side 7×10 Wind Tunnel Urban Air Mobility Team for their test campaign that experimentally assess optimum spacing between rotor systems for aerodynamic performance.

Outstanding Technical Support

Shirley Burek for her support of the Aeromechanics branch with every test program that has occurred in the past 10+ years. With Shirley’s support, the Aeromechanics branch has met project milestones and goals for challenging recent and planned test campaigns.

Outstanding Contribution to the AHS local Chapter

Carl Russell has served on the San Fransisco Bay Area Chapter’s board for over a decade in a variety of positions, including president. No matter the position, Carl has always offered to help other board members and give advice with the execution of their duties. He has assisted with and/or led the planning and execution of speaker seminars, community outreach events, the biennial technical specialist conference, the annual chapter awards banquet and much more.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Roger Strawn’s contributions to rotorcraft computational fluid dynamics (CFD) with the US Army over the last 38 years are indispensable to the development of rotorcraft. He pioneered the Full Potential Rotor, Adaptive Mesh Refinement, CFD/CSD coupling and other tools and capabilities that are essential for rotorcraft CFD performance and efficiency. Roger Strawn took leadership over Army’s Helios program in 2009. In that time, Helios pushed the boundaries of high-fidelity rotorcraft aeromechanics modeling and simulation.

Dr. Ron Du Val contributed to the development of rotorcraft flight dynamics technology in both the government and industry. Ron Du Val joined the Ames Research Center (ARC) where he worked with engineers at the Flight Simulator for Advanced Aircraft (FSAA) to adapt their real-time blade element simulation of the Rotor Systems Research Aircraft (RSRA) for use in off-line analysis. He then left NASA in 1982 to form Advanced Rotorcraft Technology, Inc. (ART). ART’s simulation software products, FLIGHTLAB and Rotorcraft Comprehensive Analysis System (RCAS), have become Industry standards for simulation support of rotorcraft engineering and training applications. 

2020-2022 Chapter Awards

The Board of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the Vertical Flight Society is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 Chapter Awards, covering the award periods of 2020, 2021, and 2022. Recipients of the awards are selected annually, from nominations submitted by SFBAC VFS members, by a special advisory board. These awards are an opportunity for the local VFS Chapter to recognize the outstanding work and significant accomplishments achieved by the VTOL technical community. Winners will be honored at an Awards Banquet to be held on August 18, 2022 in Mountain View, CA. The winners are as follows (team award leads in parentheses):

Velkoff Award for Outstanding Technical Paper

2020 – Beatrice Roget, Jay Sitaraman, Ryan Blumenstein, Hossein Saberi, and Mina Taheri – for their paper titled “Advanced Rotorcraft Aeromechanics Simulations Using HPCMP CREATE (TM)-AV Helios” presented at the VFS 75th Annual Forum

2021 – Tom Berger, Mark Tischler, and Joe Horn – for their paper titled “Outer-Loop Control Design and Simulation Handling Qualities Assessment for a Coaxial Compound Helicopter and Tiltrotor” presented at the VFS 76th Annual Forum

2022 – Mani Ramasamy, Rohit Jain, and Tom Norman – for their paper titled “Does Scatter Matter? Improved Understanding of UH-60A Wind Tunnel Rotor measurements Using Data-Driven Clustering and CREATETM-AV Helios” presented at the VFS 77th Annual Forum

Schroers Award for Outstanding Rotorcraft Research

2020 – Mars Helicopter Development Team (Larry Young) – for the significant contributions of the NASA Ames Aeromechanics team to the Mars 2020 Mission Mars Helicopter

2021 – Alex Stoll – for his many contributions to the successful development of the Joby eVTOL air taxi

2022 – ARTIC VMS Simulation Test Team (Tom Berger and Emily Lewis) – for successful planning and execution of two full-motion rotorcraft air vehicle simulations in the NASA Vertical Motion Simulator to evaluate the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) and Future Attack and Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) for reduced pilot workload

Franklin Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Powered-Lift Field:

2020 – NASA/Army Multirotor Testbed Wind Tunnel Test Team (Carl Russell) – for the successful 2019 MTB test program in the 7- by 10-Foot Wind Tunnel

2021 – NFAC Aerodynamic & Acoustic Rotoprop Test Team (Joe Sacco and Natasha Schatzman) – for the successful completion of the AART test in the 40- by 80-ft Wind Tunnel in Fall 2020

2022 – UAM Quadcopter Handling Qualities VMS Test Team (Carlos Malpica) – for the successful completion of the UAM Quadcopter Handling Qualities Test in the Vertical Motion Simulator in 2021

Award for Outstanding Technical Support:

2020 – Catherine Dow – for technical editing of numerous NASA Special Publications, Technical Memoranda, and Contractor Reports published over the past 10 years by NASA and Army rotorcraft researchers

2021 – TDD-A/DSE Automation Team (Sukhdev Sandhu), and Meridith Segall – for their outstanding IT support enabling continued productivity during mandatory telework for Army and NASA employees

2022 – Farid Haddad – for his significant contributions to the Rotor Optimization for the Advancement of Mars eXploration (ROAMX) team and decades of support of Air Force, Army, and NASA rotorcraft research at NASA Ames.

Award for Outstanding Contribution to the VFS Local Chapter

2020 – Natasha Schatzman – for her service to the SF Bay Area Chapter in every possible role, including the president. She has exemplified exceptional service to the Chapter and to the community it serves.

2021 – Kenneth Mort – for his NASA SP titled “The World’s Largest Wind Tunnels: Their History, Contributions to Aeronautics, and Importance to Flight – A History of the NASA Ames 40- by 80-Foot and 80- by 120-Foot Wind Tunnels,” which documented the research milestones of many past and current VFS SFBAC members

2022 –SFBAC Transformative Vertical Flight 2022 Leadership Team (Colin Theodore, Buvana Jayaraman, Carl Russell, Meredith Segall) – for the successful execution of the Transformative Vertical Flight 2022 Conference in January 2022

Lifetime Achievement Award

2020 – Chris Blanken – Mr. Blanken served the nation as an Army rotorcraft researcher leading the Army to be at the forefront of rotary wing handling qualities and flight control.

2021 – Mark Potsdam – Mr. Potsdam served the nation as an Army rotorcraft researcher with a long history of applying high-fidelity computational aeromechanics modeling and simulation tools to complex, moving body, aeroelastic rotorcraft configurations.

2022 – Mark Tischler – Dr. Tischler served the nation as an Army rotorcraft researcher for over 40 years. He is the world recognized expert in aircraft and rotorcraft handling qualities and flight control research.

2019 Chapter Awards

Recipients of the awards are selected annually, from nominations submitted by SFBAC VFS members, by a special advisory board chaired by the past chapter president. These awards are an opportunity to recognize the outstanding work and significant accomplishments achieved by rotorcraft researchers in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Velkoff Award for Outstanding Technical Paper

Witold Koning, Wayne Johnson, and Håvard Grip, for their paper titled “Improved Mars Helicopter Aerodynamic Rotor Model for Comprehensive Analysis,” presented at the 44th European Rotorcraft Forum, Delft, the Netherlands, 18-31 September, 2018.

Schroers Award for Outstanding Rotorcraft Research

Brian Fujizawa, for his significant efforts keeping flight research front and center in Army Aviation S&T in returning the UH-60A flight research aircraft to not just flight status, but flight research status, all while on extended travel to Virginia.

Franklin Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Powered-Lift Field

The 699/Tiltrotor Test Rig Test Team, for safely and successfully conducting the full envelope evaluation of the first civil tiltrotor system that will enter commercial usage by 2020. This test was also the first use of the Tiltrotor Test Rig and served as a checkout and operational verification test of the completely new $30M national test capability for future generation tiltrotor aircraft.

Award for Outstanding Contribution to the VFS Local Chapter

Robert Ormiston and Irving Statler, for their incredible efforts in creating and editing the NASA Special Publication, “Figures of Merit – Remembrances of Those Who Built an Army-NASA Collaboration and a New Age of Rotary-Wing Technology, 1965 – 1985.” The first-person narratives of these memoirs are voices of the first few decades of SFBAC members, many of whom cite the activities of the AHS and the opportunities for learning, networking, and career enhancement and recognition the AHS provided.

Award for Outstanding Technical Support

Christopher Hartley, who for nearly 10 years supported the Tiltrotor Test Rig Development project and led the Air Force AEDC participation in the development of the TTR. He oversaw a multitude of integration, acceptance, and checkout activities from model prep, to tunnel installation and checkout. He then led the test team in executing the longest wind tunnel entry in the history of the 40- by 80-Foot Wind Tunnel with the successful completion of the 699/TTR wind tunnel test.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Wally Acree is recognized for his 40+ year career serving the nation as a NASA rotorcraft researcher. Wally’s contributions began with the XV-15 Tiltrotor Research Aircraft flight demonstration and Advanced Technology Blades Programs. He then was involved with a multitude of technology programs, including the MDHC Canard Rotor Wing, JVX OSRF, JMR tiltrotor, the Langley Research Center TDT WRATS model, and the TDT TRAST model. Finally, for the past decade, Wally has led the engineering development and checkout of the Tiltrotor Test Rig as TTR Technical Director. Thanks largely to Wally’s efforts, the TTR will enable future experimental research on the fundamental aeromechanics of tiltrotor systems and on the designs of advanced tiltrotors for decades to come.

2018 Chapter Awards

Recipients of the awards are selected annually, from nominations submitted by SFBAC VFS members, by a special advisory board chaired by the past chapter president. These awards are an opportunity to recognize the outstanding work and significant accomplishments achieved by rotorcraft researchers in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Velkoff Award for Outstanding Technical Paper

Wayne Johnson, Chris Silva, and Eduardo Solis, for their paper titled “Concept Vehicles for VTOL Air Taxi Operations,” presented at the AHS Technical Meeting on Aeromechanics Design for Vertical Lift, San Francisco, CA, January 16-18, 2018.

Vinod Lakshminarayan, Jay Sitaraman, Beatrice Roget, and Andrew Wissink, for their paper titled “Simulation of Complex Geometries Using Automatically Generated Strand Meshes,” presented at the AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, Kissimmee, Florida, January 8-11, 2018.

Schroers Award for Outstanding Rotorcraft Research

Wayne Johnson, for his development of NDARC, NASA Design and Analysis of Rotorcraft. NDARC is used extensively by both NASA and Army rotorcraft researchers. In addition, over 100 users from academia, industry, startups, and inventors have made it the international standard for rotorcraft synthesis and sizing.

Franklin Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Powered-Lift Field

Larry Young, for inventing, demonstrating, and assessing new technologies leading to a Mars Helicopter development project. As an innovator and creative futurist, Larry invented the means to enable development of the Mars Helicopter Mars 2020 Mission proposal led by JPL, which on May 11 was given the official green light by NASA Headquarters.

Award for Outstanding Contribution to the VFS Local Chapter

The AHS SFBAC Conference arrangements team, consisting of Meridith Segall, Geoffrey Ament, Michelle Dominguez, Kristen Kallstrom, Barry Lakinsmith, Cory Loob, Ethan Romander, Chris Silva, Eduardo Solis, and Colin Theodore. In January of 2018, the AHS SFBAC put on what is arguably its most successful biennial conference ever. The 4-day conference included 62 technical papers, 345 registered attendees, with representation from about 100 different organizations. The local AHS chapter lives and breathes on the success of the biennial conference, and this team made it happen.

Award for Outstanding Technical Support

MAJ Zachariah Morford, who with dignity and poise, wrote a fitting and honorable final chapter to decades of history-making vertical manned and unmanned research flight testing by the United States Army at NASA Ames Research Center.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Barry Lakinsmith is recognized for his superb ability to build and maintain strong coalitions among the U.S. Army, NASA, the U.S. Air Force and other agencies, which have reinvigorated the vertical lift research capability at NASA Ames and will help sustain it as a national presence and contributor for years to come. He has worked tirelessly over the past six years as Director of the U.S. Army Aeroflightdynamics Directorate to meet the rotary wing technology needs of the nation. He has enabled numerous major collaborative research programs with multiple government agencies and industry in wind tunnel testing, computational modeling, piloted simulation, and flight testing.

2017 Chapter Awards

Velkoff Award for Outstanding Technical Paper – Matthew S. Whalley, Marc D. Takahashi, M. Hossein Mansur, LTC Carl R. Ott, MAJ Joseph S. Minor, MAJ Zachariah G. Morford, Ernesto Moralez, Marcos G. Berrios, Chad L. Goerzen, and Gregory J. Schulein, in recognition for the following paper titled “Flight Test Results for a New Mission-Adaptive Autonomy System on the RASCAL JUH-60A Black Hawk”. This 31-page paper was selected as the best of the Unmanned VTOL Aircraft and Rotorcraft Sessions at the AHS 72nd Annual Forum, West Palm Beach, Florida, May 17–19, 2016.

Schroers Award for Outstanding Rotorcraft Research – Degraded Visual Environment Mitigation (DVE-M) Team – MAJ Joseph S. Minor, MAJ Zachariah G. Morford, Richard W. Huber, Zoltan P. Szobozslay, Brian T. Fujizawa, Jeffery A. Lusardi, Nathan L. Mielcarek, John Archdeacon, and Michael J. Irish – is recognized for completing over 75 flight test hours in the AFDD EH-60L during NATO field trials held at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ, September 2016 and Alpnach Switzerland & Manching, Germany, February 2017.  These flight tests demonstrated potent technical solutions to a vexing operational problem through a novel and sophisticated combination of guidance displays, flight control laws and aircrew cueing technologies which were used in conjunction with sensor imagery provided through the Communication and Electronics Research Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC).

Franklin Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Powered-Lift Field –Ben Lawrence, for his contributions to the field of rotorcraft handling qualities as applied to future advanced powered lift concepts. His research on the fundamental engineering principles of flight dynamics and handling qualities, and his subsequent application of the research to powered lift concepts including the Large Commercial Tiltrotor (LCTR), the High Efficiency Tiltrotor (HETR), and several helicopter, compound helicopter, and other rotorcraft concepts has provided the VTOL flight community with a generalized tool for the integration of handling qualities analysis into advanced rotorcraft design. This generalized tool, called SIMPLI-FLYD, allows for assessment of handling qualities using only the limited amount of detailed information on a vehicle’s technical characteristics that is available at the early conceptual design stage.

Award for Outstanding Contribution to the AHS Local Chapter – Anita I. Abrego, for her contributions to the local AHS chapter. As Community Outreach Chair, Ms. Abrego supported and fostered relationships with personnel of the Eastside College Preparatory High School. She enabled and fully coordinated the first freshman class tour of Ames, in 2006, and all subsequent tours through 2016. While serving on the board of directors, Anita was an enthusiastic supporter of chapter events, providing feedback and guidance at the board meetings, attending fundraisers and technical presentations, and mentoring the incoming board of directors annually.

Award for Outstanding Technical Support – Patrick M. Shinoda is recognized, in his capacity as Chief Engineer for the operation of the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex, for his keen eye, technical rigor, and diligence that enabled a remarkable series of tests in late 2016 and early 2017 involving novel articles for the US Army, NASA, DARPA, the Department of Energy, and the rotorcraft industry. He is also recognized for his 43 years of service to the United States Government. Rick’s many accomplishments are well recognized by the US rotorcraft community, making direct contributions to countless wind tunnel research programs and developing the infrastructure used to execute a majority of the Nation’s large scale rotorcraft wind tunnel testing.  Mr. Shinoda has also improved worldwide rotorcraft research through his technical leadership on the American Helicopter Society (AHS) International’s Test and Evaluation Technical Committee and through direct mentorship of dozens of young researchers and engineers.

Lifetime Achievement Award – Franklin D. Harris is recognized for his service to advancing the field of vertical flight aeronautics over the past 50 years. Mr. Harris has conducted pioneering research in rotorcraft aeromechanics and analysis, and he led the development of several new U.S. helicopter designs.  He led the Bell Helicopter development of the OH-58D Kiowa that still serves in the U.S. Army.  For the past thirty years, Mr. Harris has built the bridge between U.S. government-conducted and government-sponsored fundamental research and its application by industry’s designers and manufacturers. In late 2016, Frank completed Volume III of his Autogyros, Helicopters, and Other V/STOL Aircraft trilogy, an amazing and lasting accomplishment.