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Gakhar KellenTwo students in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University are recipients of Vertical Flight Foundation (VFF) scholarships from the American Helicopter Society (AHS). The students work in the Advanced Vertical Flight Laboratory under the guidance of Dr. Moble Benedict, assistant professor in the department.

Kanika Gakhar, an undergraduate student in aerospace engineering, is the recipient of the 2017 Bell Helicopter Vertical Flight Scholarship, accompanied by an award of $5,000. She was the top candidate in the bachelor’s degree category and received special recognition with this scholarship. Gakhar is working on experimental studies toward improving the performance of the robotic hummingbird.

Adam Kellen, a first-year graduate student in aerospace engineering, is the recipient of the 2017 Eugene K. Liberatore Scholarship, accompanied by an award of $3,000. Kellen’s research is experimental studies to understand the upward scalability of cycloidal rotors for large-scale unmanned aerial vehicle applications.

“This year is the 50th anniversary of the founding of VFF, and the 40th year of providing student scholarships,” said Mike Hirschberg, AHS international executive director. “Past winners of these very prestigious scholarships have gone on to leadership positions in industry, academia and government. This year’s applicants were exceptional, and the selected winners will no doubt become future leaders in vertical flight.”

Gakhar and Kellen will be recognized at the AHS Grand Awards Banquet on May 10 at the AHS International 73rd Annual Forum and Technology Display at the Fort Worth Convention Center.