AIAA Congratulates Aviation Week's 2018 Laureate Awards and 20 Twenties Winners Written 2 March 2018

John Blacksten

March 2, 2018 – Reston, Va. – The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) applauds its members—from emerging young leaders to long-standing innovators in aerospace for winning coveted awards from the Aviation Week Network.

Notably, AIAA President-Elect John Langford, CEO and President of Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing Company, was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at Aviation Week’s 61st Annual Laureate Awards on March 1 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Langford’s achievements include leading the MIT Daedalus team that set human-powered flight records in 1988 to founding Aurora Flight Sciences in 1989 and building the company into a world leader in autonomous flight. Boeing purchased the company for its expertise last year.

Thirteen AIAA members are among the winners of “Tomorrow’s Engineering Leaders: The 20 Twenties,” an award cosponsored by AIAA and Aviation Week Network. The award recognizes students who are nominated by their universities on the basis of their academic performance, civic contribution, and research or design project.

“AIAA members, whether they are students at the beginning of their careers or innovators at the pinnacle of the aerospace industry, are using their passion and talent to shape the future of aerospace,” said Daniel L. Dumbacher, AIAA executive director. “John Langford is an inspiring entrepreneurial leader who will be instrumental in guiding the next leaders in our industry. It is an exciting time to be working in aerospace.”

AIAA’s 2018 20 Twenties winners, who were also honored at the March 1 Laureate Awards, are:

  • Matthew Asper, University of Virginia
  • Estefania Bohorquez, University of Central Florida
  • Nicholas A. Branch, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Arthur J. Brown, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Luke Bury, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Rosemary K. Davidson, University of Maryland
  • Katherine Fowee, Purdue University
  • Christine Greve, Texas A&M University
  • Namrah Habib, University of Arizona
  • Jared Ham, Colorado State University
  • Matthew L. Marcus, University of Maryland
  • Jocelino Rodrigues, University of Cambridge
  • Jeremy C. H. Wang, University of Toronto

AIAA members who won the 2018 Laureate Awards are:

Lifetime Achievement:

  • Dr. John S. Langford, CEO and President, Aurora Flight Sciences, a Boeing Company Dr. Langford’s achievements range from leading the MIT Daedalus team that set human-powered flight records in 1988 to building Aurora Flight Sciences, the company he founded in 1989. Dr. Langford is currently AIAA president-elect.


  • Dual Use: Raytheon Coyote UAV
    For flying into and waiting in the eye of Hurricane Maria, allowing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to better forecast how intense the storm would be at landfall and more accurately estimate the magnitude of the storm surge.
  • Electronics/Avionics: U.S. Navy/Rockwell Collins Tactical Combat Training System Increment II.
    This team developed the first airborne training instrumentation system with certified multi-level security that allows 5th-generation fighters to train with 4th-generation fighters while protecting sensitive data.
  • Operations: U.S. Missile Defense Agency/Boeing Ground-based Midcourse Defense System
    After decades of development, demonstrating that the Ground-based Midcourse Defense System could do what was once called impossible – intercept a target simulating an ICBM.
  • Technology: Bell Helicopter V-280 Valor (a division of Textron Aviation)
    A third-generation tiltrotor prototype for the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi Role Technology Demonstration, the development of the V-280 Valor, Bell Helicopter was selected for the program in 2014 and completed assembly of the flying demonstrator in September.
  • Weapons: United States Special Operations Command/Dynetics GBU-69/B
    Addressing an urgent warfighter need for a munition with increased lethality, reduced acoustic signature, and expanded range by fielding – the GBU-69/B Small Glide Munition (SGM) was developed, tested, and fielded in less than three years for less than $25 million.


  • Launchers: SpaceX
    For demonstrating potential operational reusability for orbital spaceflight for the first time since the space shuttle program.
  • Platforms: ViaSat/Boeing ViaSat-2
    The entry into service of the world’s highest-capacity commercial communications satellite, ViaSat-2, reducing the cost of space-based connectivity enough to make it competitive with terrestrial services.


  • Supplier Innovation: Norsk Titanium/Boeing
    For qualifying the first additively manufactured structural titanium parts for a commercial aircraft. Titanium fittings produced using Norsk’s “wire-in-arc” Rapid Plasma Deposition process are FAA-approved and being installed in Boeing 787s.
  • Technology: Airbus
    The BLADE project – which stands for “Breakthrough Laminar Aircraft Demonstrator in Europe” – which is tasked with proving the viability of introducing laminar flow technology to commercial aviation. It aims to improve aviation’s environmental footprint, bringing with it a 50% reduction of wing friction drag and up to 5% lower CO2 emissions.

About AIAA 
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 85 countries, and 95 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information,, or follow us on Twitter @AIAA.


American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics 
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Phone: 703.264.7558 Fax: 703.264.7551