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McElreath named 2018 American Helicopter Society Robert L. Lichten Award runner-up

James McElreath, an undergraduate student in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University, was named the international runner-up of the American Helicopter Society’s (AHS) prestigious 2018 Robert L. Lichten Award competition. McElreath works with assistant professor Dr. Moble Benedict in the Advanced Vertical Flight Laboratory, and his project involves force and flowfield measurements to understand the 3D unsteady aerodynamics on a cycloidal rotor blade operating at ultralow Reynolds numbers.

McElreath won the award for his paper, “Tip Vortex Measurements on a Cycloidal Rotor Blade at Ultralow Reynolds Numbers.” He will be honored at the annual Grand Awards Banquet at the 74th AHS Forum in Phoenix, Ariz., in May. Previously, he was the first prize winner from the Southwest region and at the international level, he competed with six other regional winners, including graduate students and employees from Sikorsky and the Army Aviation Directorate to win the second place.

The Robert L. Lichten Award was established in 1975 to honor the memory of Robert L. Lichten, an outstanding rotary-wing engineer and the society’s 22nd president. It recognizes new and innovative research in the area of vertical flight, and encourages AHS members who have not previously presented to begin making public the results of their work through presentations at the local level. Each of the AHS regions around the world is eligible to select a regional winner, from which an overall international winner and runner-up are selected.