18 May 2016, West Palm Beach, FL

Carleton University is a Canadian leader in rotorcraft research and education, which has been recognized on 18 May 2016 at the world’s leading technical conference on vertical flight, the 72nd Annual Forum of the American Helicopter Society (AHS), held between 16-19 May in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The research paper co-authored by undergraduate students Mark Kotwicz Herniczek, Dustin Jee, Brian Sanders and associate professor Daniel Feszty, entitled “Rotor Blade Optimization and Flight Testing of a small UAV Rotorcraft”, has been awarded the Runner-Up prize in the world finals of the prestigious Robert L. Lichten competition of AHS. The Lichten competition is for research papers co-authored by young researchers who present at an AHS Forum for the first time.

Each chapter of the AHS organizes a local round of the competition, which winners enter the world finals. Carleton University has a strong track record in the Canadian local rounds of this competition,  since it has won regional competition organized by the Ottawa-Montreal Chapter of the AHS (which is the largest international chapter of AHS with more than 400 members) two years in a row. As such, Carleton University’s paper was nominated for the world finals of the Lichten competition, where it was awarded a Runner-Up prize.

“The great thing about our paper is that it was written by our undergraduate students from the results they achieved within the Rotorcraft Unmanned Aerial System (RUAS) capstone project in the 2014-15 academic year. Despite the rigorous peer-review process, the paper made it to the main program of the conference even before being awarded the Lichten competition runner-up prize. This is great evidence of the world-class quality of rotorcraft education and research at Carleton University” – says Daniel Feszty, associate professor of aerospace engineering, leader of the Rotorcraft Research Group and the 2014-15 Project Manager for the RUAS capstone project. “The real strength of our paper was that it involved not just the design and theoretical analysis of UAV helicopters, but the experimental proof via flight testing” – he added.  The RUAS capstone project has been supported by Bell Helicopter Textron Canada.

Two of the students, Mark Kotwicz Herniczek and Dustin Jee, were also awarded one of the 24 AHS Scholarships for their excellent academic results and their track record in helicopter research and education. Mark and Dustin are the only non-American winners of such scholarship this year and the 3rd and 4th Canadian ever to win such scholarship in its 40 years history.

The recipients received their awards at the Grant Awards Banquet of the 72nd Annual Forum of the AHS in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Mark Kotwicz Herniczek and Dustin Jee are currently MASc students of the Rotorcraft Research Group, while Brian Sanders has just finished his BSc studies and is expected to enter graduate studies soon.

Carleton University presented another paper at this conference too, authored by former MASc research student Daniel Gosselin, who currently works at Transport Canada, and associate professor Daniel Feszty.


Mark Kotwicz Herniczek receives the Robert L. Lichten Runner-Up prize from David A. Peters, AHS International Technical Director, during the Grant Awards Banquet.


Dustin Jee (front row, 5th from right) and Mark Kotwicz Herniczek (front row, 2nd from left) receive the AHS Vertical Flight Foundation Scholarships during the Grant Awards Banquet.

Thursday, May 19, 2016 in
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