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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics


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    CONTACT: John Blacksten


    NASA Langley Research Center Wins 2017 AIAA Foundation Award For Excellence

    Honored For 100 Years of Excellence in Aerospace Achievements, Scientific Discoveries and Technological Breakthroughs

    March 28, 2017 – Reston, Va. – NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, has won the 2017 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Foundation Award for Excellence. David Bowles, the center’s director, will receive the award as part of the AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala on May 3 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

    The award honors NASA Langley’s “100 years of excellence in aerospace achievements, scientific discoveries, and technological breakthroughs.”

    “For 100 years, the leadership and staff of NASA Langley Research Center have dedicated themselves to continuously evolving the science and technology of flight,” said Jim Albaugh, chair of the AIAA Foundation. “Without their expertise and hard work, much of what we take for granted in air and space flight would not exist. Their efforts truly embody the spirit of this award. The AIAA Foundation thanks them for all they have done and looks forward to seeing how they will continue to shape the future of aerospace.”

    The Langley Research Center is the nation’s first civilian aeronautical research facility. Authorized by President Woodrow Wilson in 1915, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) studied the problems of flight to find practical solutions. The NACA broke ground in 1917 for the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, which became the NASA Langley Research Center in 1958.

    “We consider this a very important honor and appreciate that AIAA has chosen to recognize the research and advancements that Langley has provided to the nation, and its businesses and citizens, during the past 100 years,” said David E. Bowles.

    The facility has played an important role in shaping our nation’s aerospace industry. It pioneered and developed: variable density, full-scale, transonic, supersonic and hypersonic wind tunnels; low-drag, streamlined engine cowlings; airfoil characterization, and laminar-flow and supercritical wing designs still in use on aircraft today; the swept back wing; the “transonic area-rule”; winglets; and the “blunt-body” concept that is instrumental to our nation’s space and missile programs.

    In addition to work on aircraft and spacecraft bodies, controls and systems, research at the Langley Research Center has advanced flight safety in other ways. Its researchers pioneered a grooved runway surface that improved the ability of aircraft to maneuver during landings and takeoffs; helped advance the ability of aircraft to handle in-flight lightning strikes; and found ways to mitigate the effects of wind shear on aircraft. Langley researchers have also performed critical work in the study of wing vortex formation and dissipation, helping aircraft avoid loss of lift when encountering those conditions. Today's airplanes are also lighter and more fuel-efficient because of NASA Langley's breakthroughs in composite materials and structures.

    Established in 1998 the AIAA Foundation Award for Excellence recognizes excellence within the aerospace community exemplifying the inspirational qualities that inspire the global community. Individuals, teams, programs, or organizations — whose current noteworthy accomplishment, unique accomplishments for the duration of a program, or extraordinary lifetime contributions represent "excellence within the aerospace community" and generate "inspiration for the global community."

    For more information on the AIAA Foundation recipients, or the AIAA Honors and Awards program, please contact Carol Stewart at 703.264.7538 or

    About the AIAA Foundation
    The AIAA Foundation seeks to “make it exciting, make it empowering, and make it fun.” That simple, compelling philosophy drives the Foundation’s commitment to math, science, and technology education. The AIAA Foundation offers a wealth of resources to support educators from K–12 through university: scholarships, classroom grants, design competitions, and student conferences, improving scientific literacy and advancing the arts and sciences of aerospace. For more information on the AIAA Foundation and its programs for students, teachers, and professionals, please visit



    About AIAA
    AIAA is the world’s largest technical society dedicated to the global aerospace profession. With more than 30,000 individual members from 88 countries, and nearly 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit



    American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    1801 Alexander Bell Drive, Suite 500, Reston, VA 20191-4344
    Phone: 703.264.7558 Fax: 703.264.7551