Wayne Johnson to Receive the 2023 Daniel Guggenheim Medal for Landmark Contributions to Vertical Flight Aeronautics Written 27 February 2023



Daniel Guggenheim Medal

February 27, 2023 – Reston, Va. – Wayne Johnson has been awarded the 2023 Daniel Guggenheim Medal for his landmark contributions to vertical flight aeronautics and resulting computational codes enabling the design of the first tiltrotor aircraft, eVTOL aircraft, and the Mars Helicopter.

The Daniel Guggenheim Medal was established in 1929 to honor innovators who make notable achievements in the advancement of aeronautics. Its first recipient was Orville Wright. The medal is jointly sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), SAE International (originally the Society of Automotive Engineers), and the Vertical Flight Society (VFS, originally the American Helicopter Society).

Johnson will receive this prestigious award during the Vertical Flight Society’s 79th Annual Forum, 16–18 May, West Palm Beach, Florida.

“I have worked closely with Dr. Johnson for forty-five years. He richly deserves this prestigious recognition for his exceptional career in rotorcraft technology development. His contributions span analysis, design, testing, flight, and academic endeavors for every class of vertical lift rotorcraft – from helicopters and tiltrotors to emerging technology aircraft, from civilian to military mission capable rotorcraft, from personal air taxis to flying on Mars,” said William Warmbrodt, NASA Ames Research Center and Dr. Johnson’s nominator. “His energy, knowledge, and willingness to work with many different people and organizations around the world has benefited not just the international rotorcraft technical community but has also had significant positive impact on those who have had the pleasure and privilege to work with Dr. Johnson and learn from him, including me.”

Johnson obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aeronautical engineering in 1968, and Ph.D. in 1970 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He worked at the U.S. Army Aeromechanics Laboratory from 1970 to 1981, assigned to the 40- by 80-Foot Wind Tunnel branch of Ames Research Center. He was with NASA from 1981 to 1986, including a couple of years as Assistant Branch Chief. In 1986, Johnson founded Johnson Aeronautics, and from 1986 to 1998 developed rotorcraft software. Since 1998 he has worked at the Aeromechanics Branch of NASA Ames Research Center.

Johnson is author of the comprehensive analysis CAMRADII and the rotorcraft design code NDARC; and the books Helicopter Theory (Princeton University Press, 1980; Dover Publications, 1994) and Rotorcraft Aeromechanics (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

He is a Fellow of AIAA and VFS, and an Ames Fellow, and has received the U.S. Army Commander's Award for Civilian Service, NASA Medals for Exceptional Engineering Achievement and Exceptional Technology Achievement, the VFS Grover E. Bell Award, the Ames H. Julian Allen Award, the 1986 AIAA Pendray Aerospace Literature Award, the 2010 VFS Alexander Nikolsky Honorary Lectureship, and the 2014 VFS Alexander Klemin Award.

Past recipients of the Guggenheim Medal are some of the greatest names in aerospace, including Holt Ashley, Lawrence Bell, William Boeing, James Doolittle, Donald Douglas, Charles Stark Draper, Hugh Dryden, Robert Goddard, Jerome Hunsaker, Theodore von Kármán, Charles Lindbergh, Glenn Martin, Frank Robinson, Burt Rutan, Igor Sikorsky, and Walter Vincenti among many others.

For more information about the AIAA/ASME/SAE/VFS Daniel Guggenheim Medal, contact Patricia A. Carr, Guggenheim Secretary, at patriciac@aiaa.org.

AIAA Media Contact: Rebecca B. Gray, RebeccaG@AIAA.org, 804-397-5270

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 91 countries, and 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit www.aiaa.org, or follow AIAA on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn.

About ASME
ASME helps the global engineering community develop solutions to real world challenges. Founded in 1880 as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, ASME is a not-for-profit professional organization that enables collaboration, knowledge sharing and skill development across all engineering disciplines, while promoting the vital role of the engineer in society. ASME codes and standards, publications, conferences, continuing education and professional development programs provide a foundation for advancing technical knowledge and a safer world. For more information visit www.asme.org.

About SAE International
SAE International is a global association committed to being the ultimate knowledge source for the engineering profession. By uniting over 127,000 engineers and technical experts, we drive knowledge and expertise across a broad spectrum of industries. We act on two priorities: encouraging a lifetime of learning for mobility engineering professionals and setting the standards for industry engineering. We strive for a better world through the work of our philanthropic SAE Foundation, including programs like A World in Motion® and the Collegiate Design Series™. For more information visit www.sae.org.

About The Vertical Flight Society 
Founded as the American Helicopter Society in 1943, the Vertical Flight Society today advocates, promotes and supports global vertical flight technology and professional development. For 80 years, the Society has provided leadership for the advancement of vertical flight. For more information, visit www.vtol.org or follow us on Twitter at @VTOLsociety.

AIAA Media Contact: Rebecca B. Gray, RebeccaG@AIAA.org, 804-397-5270.