Graduate student brings in awards for vertical flight research

David ColemanDavid Coleman, a first-year graduate student in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University, won second place in the American Helicopter Society’s (AHS) 2015 Robert L. Lichten award competition. There were eight finalists competing for the award, one from each of the regional chapters of the AHS. Coleman’s paper was entitled “Design, Development and Flight-Testing of a Robotic Hummingbird.”

The award was established to give young researchers who have not previously presented a paper at a technical conference the opportunity to showcase their results. The award is focused on recognizing new and innovative research in the area of rotorcraft and vertical flight.

In addition, Coleman has been awarded the Eugene K Liberatore Vertical Flight Foundation (VFF) Scholarship for the 2015-2016 academic year. The VFF scholarship, which is $3,000 and is provided through the AHS, is awarded to students engaged in vertical flight research.

This year a small number of winners were selected out of many applicants nationwide to receive the American Helicopter Society VFF Scholarship. Coleman, along with the other students who won the scholarship, will be honored at the 71st annual American Helicopter Society Forum this May in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Coleman will be presented with an award certificate and check. Additionally, Coleman will be presenting his work on his robotic hummingbird during the forum proceedings.

Coleman, who works under the direction of Dr. Moble Benedict, assistant professor in the department, is developing a bio-inspired robotic hummingbird capable of sustained hover and controlled flight. Dr. Benedict, who joined the aerospace faculty last August, works on next-generation hover-capable UAVs, and heads the recently founded Advanced Vertical Flight Laboratory in the aerospace department.