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American Helicopter Museum & Education Center

The AHMEC Achievement Award is presented annually by the Museum’s Board to a person

and/or organization that made a significant impact in furthering vertical flight over the previous year.

Achievement award winners

Past Winners Include:

2023: Leonardo Helicopters

Leonardo Helicopters was recognized for its pioneering vision for the AW609 and the maiden flight of their first production civil tiltrotor on October 13, 2022

2022: JoeBen Bevirt and the Joby Aviation team 

JoeBen Bevirt, CEO of Joby Aviation was recognized for his leadership, initiative, and innovation in the field of electrical aerial ridesharing and the company’s technical and business accomplishments that make it an unprecedented leader in the eVTOL market.


2021: Mars Ingenuity Team for the first helicopter flight on another planet

The Mars Ingenuity Team comprised of JPL, NASA, AeroVironment, Qualcomm, and SolAero was recognized for their remarkable accomplishment of successfully transporting, landing and operating the first helicopter on another planet.


2020: University of Maryland Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site and partners for the first successful transplant organ delivery by drone

The UMD UAS and its partners at the Living Legacy Foundation and the University of Maryland Medical System were bestowed the award for their development of drone technology that has the potential to save lives by delivering organs for transplant.


2019: Martine Rothblatt & Tier 1 Engineering for the electric-powered R44 helicopter

The electric-powered R44 helicopter made it into Guinness World Records in December 2018 for the farthest flight for an electric helicopter. The Board applauded the pioneering spirit of Dr. Rothblatt and the team at Tier 1 Engineering.


2018: Lilium GmbH for the Lilium Jet

The Board was impressed by the technological leap forward in transformational vertical lift aircraft represented by the Lilium Jet, which had its maiden flight in April 2017. The two-seater prototype executed a range of complex maneuvers, including mid-air transition from hover mode to wing-borne forward flight.


2017: e-volo GmbH for the VC200 Volocopter

The Volocopter, an all-electric, emission-free ultralight multirotor with 18 rotors took its first manned flight on March 30, 2016 in southern Germany. The Board recognized the innovative e-volo team as pioneers in the urban air mobility revolution.


2016: Sikorsky for autonomous robotic technology

The Board presented the award to Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, because of its successful demonstration of autonomous robotic collaboration between an unmanned Black Hawk helicopter and an unmanned all-terrain vehicle in October 2015.


2015: Jeff Bezos for Amazon Prime Air

The innovative use of vertical lift technology in Amazon’s Prime Air, a new delivery system designed to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using aerial vehicles, merited the bestowal of the award on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.


2014: AgustaWestland for Project Zero

The AgustaWestland Project Zero was a hybrid tiltrotor/fan-in-wing technology demonstrator aircraft. The aircraft was officially unveiled on March 4, 2013. Project Zero was recognized for its stunning design, use of disruptive technology, and accelerated development schedule.


2013: AeroVelo for the Atlas human-powered helicopter

AeroVelo performed its Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition award-winning flight with the Atlas on June 13, 2013. The Board recognized the team’s innovation, teamwork, and ambition in overcoming extreme engineering challenges. An exhibit about the Atlas and a section of the aircraft are on display in the Museum.


2012: Kaman & Lockheed Martin for the unmanned K-MAX helicopter

The unmanned Kaman K-MAX helicopter had completed its first combat resupply mission in Afghanistan. The award cited the team’s innovative application of helicopter control technology to address the challenging operational needs of the U.S. Armed Forces.


2011: University of Maryland Department of Aerospace Engineering for the Gamera human-powered helicopter

The University of Maryland Gamera team had completed several world record breaking flights of a human-powered rotary wing aircraft. The student team at the University explored uncultivated regions of physics and design to invent and fly a machine that many thought was impossible.


2010: Sikorsky for the X2 helicopter

The Sikorsky X2 was an experimental high-speed compound helicopter with coaxial rotors developed by Sikorsky Aircraft. After its maiden flight in 2008, the X2 completed a series of record-breaking flights. The Board felt that the X2 was “inspirational” in a time when the industry needed new and exciting technical achievements.


2009: AgustaWestland for the AW109’s around-the-world speed record

In August 2008, Scott Kasprowicz and Steve Sheik broke the round-the-world speed record using a factory-standard AgustaWestland AW109S Grand, with a time of 11 days, 7 hours, and 2 minutes. This record-breaking flight earned AgustaWestland the inaugural AHMEC Achievement Award.

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