The World's Forum for Aerospace Leadership

  • Donate
  • Press Room
  • Renew
  • View Cart
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

    CONTACT: John Blacksten


    Earl Dowell to Receive the 2016 AIAA Reed Aeronautics Award
    Honored for Pioneering Contributions to Aerolasticity, Structural Dynamics and Unsteady Aerodyanmics

    March 28, 2016 – Reston, Va. – Earl Dowell, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Honorary Fellow and William Holland Hall Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, has won the 2016 AIAA Reed Aeronautics Award. Dowell will receive the award on June 15 during the AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, in Washington, D.C.

    The award honors Dowell’s “pioneering contributions to aeroelasticity, structural dynamics, and unsteady aerodynamics, which has an enormous influence on aerospace technology.”

    “Earl Dowell’s work has done much to address areas that have challenged the advance of flight,” said Jim Albaugh, AIAA president. “His work has allowed us to build better aircraft, find more efficient shapes for vehicles, and construct improved helicopter blades. Earl's work has made lasting contributions to our community, and on behalf of AIAA and its members I congratulate him on being this year’s Reed Aeronautics Award winner.”

    Dowell’s work has focused on several areas of aerospace, including studying panel flutter – or how aircraft panels behave at speed; the problem of limit cycle behavior in various military aircraft at transonic speeds; and the performance of helicopter blades. All of his work has created a wide body of literature used by researchers across the aerospace community. Among his critical contributions were recognizing the nonlinear nature of panel flutter; improving computational fluid mechanics code, as well as computational structural dynamics codes; and creating a substantial body of literature for researchers to draw on in the field of Reduced Order Modeling (ROM). Dowell was among the first to recognize the important role of geometric nonlinearities on the aeroelastic stability of helicopter rotor blades. He developed basic equations describing rotor blade behavior that researchers use in the testing of hingeless rotor blades in hover and forward flight. He is the author of “A Modern Course in Aeroelasticity,” considered to be the leading text in the field.

    Dowell’s numerous honors include the 2008 Guggenheim Medal; 2007 Walter J. and Angeline H. Crichlow Trust Prize; the 2007 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Spirit of St. Louis Medal; the 2002 AIAA von Kármán Lectureship in Astronautics; and the 1980 AIAA Structures, Structural Dynamics and Materials Award. Dowell is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, and an ASME Fellow.

    The Reed Aeronautics Award is the highest honor an individual can receive from AIAA for notable achievement in aeronautics. The award honors Dr. Sylvanus A. Reed, the aeronautical engineer, designer, and founding member of the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences in 1932. Reed was the first to develop a propeller system composed of metal rather than wood.

    For more information on the Reed Aeronautics Award, or the AIAA Honors and Awards program, please contact Carol Stewart at 703.264.7538 or


    About AIAA
    AIAA is the largest aerospace professional society in the world, serving a diverse range of more than 30,000 individual members from 88 countries, and 95 corporate members. AIAA members help make the world safer, more connected, more accessible, and more prosperous. For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter @AIAA.



    American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    12700 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 200, Reston, VA 20191-5807
    Phone: 703.264.7558 Fax: 703.264.7551