Aviation Week's Laureate Awards honor the accomplishments of outstanding individuals and teams in aviation, aerospace and defense for the preceding year. The awards highlight some who are pioneers in new technology, others who are innovating new ways of doing business as well as standouts in management and development. Perhaps these achievements will inspire others to reach for new successes.
Nominations were submitted by our editors, readers and outside organizations. The editors reviewed the candidates and, after a sometimes spirited debate, designated finalists in six disciplines. They also named two honorees for Lifetime Achievement Laureate awards and recognized one team for the award in Heroism. The final Laureate award winners will be announced at a black-tie dinner in Washington on March 6—look for more on the winners' accomplishments later that month in AW&ST.
Aeronautics & Propulsion
In just six months, James Wang and the AgustaWestland Advanced Concepts Group he directs built Project Zero, an electric vertical-lift aircraft that is testing new systems related to rotorcraft development such as electric tail rotors. The aircraft has conducted sorties of up to 5 min., powered by 150 kg (330 lb.) of lithium-ion batteries, during trials at the company's facilities in Italy.
The U.S. Navy/Northrop Grumman X-47B Team proved in 2013 that a stealthy, tailless, unmanned aircraft can operate on an aircraft carrier. Using a differential GPS system and a digital interface between the carrier's landing systems officer, the unmanned aircraft repeatedly touched down on the carrier runway within inches of its predicted target, confirming it had achieved the kind of automation and accuracy necessary to be safely operated on a vessel populated with sailors.
Jaiwon Shin, NASA's associate administrator for aeronautics, and his management team steered a limited budget for U.S. civil aviation research toward future challenges, crafting a 40-year plan that accounts for the emergence of global competitors, environmental pressures, information advancements, and communication and automation technologies.
Through highly integrated flight and propulsion control, the F135 Integrated Flight and Propulsion Control System team enabled the Joint Strike Fighter's F-35B variant to achieve one of its key design goals: to operate from small-deck amphibious ships through the use of dynamic inversion. The technique automatically allocates commands from pilots to the aircraft's overlapping flight and propulsion control effectors.
Avionics & Systems