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2015 Associate Administrator (AA) Awards Honorees

ARC = Ames Research Center
AFRC = Armstrong Flight Research Center
GRC = Glenn Research Center
HQ = Headquarters
LaRC = Langley Research Center

Technology and Innovation

Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) Project and Integrated Technology Demonstration Teams (AFRC, ARC, GRC and LaRC)
A public-private partnership established to leverage best practices in technical innovation and collaboration, as well as project and systems engineering, the ERA Project Team is awarded for successfully achieving its goals of maturing airframe and propulsion technologies. A total of eight integrated technology demonstrations were conducted over the course of three fiscal years. Strategic, technical, and programmatic skill sets were leveraged to design and implement a framework to meet aggressive technical objectives within budget and schedule, and to create an applied technology legacy that can be put to practical use by the aviation community. The ERA Project’s accomplishments have boosted U.S. industry competitiveness and positioned NASA Aeronautics on the forefront of green aviation innovation.
Project Manager: Dr. Fayette Collier (LaRC)
Team Leads: Mike Alexander, Dawn C. Jegley, Dr. Mehdi Khorrami, Craig Nickol & Jeffrey Flamm (LaRC); Kevin James (ARC); Thomas Rigney (AFRC); Mark Celestina, Christopher Hughes and Angela Surgenor (GRC)
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Honorable Mention (Group)
High Water Ice Content (HIWC) Radar Flight Campaign Team (GRC)
The HIWC Radar Flight Campaign Team is recognized for its coordination and management of flight tests to investigate the efficacy of commercial aircraft radars to detect the presence of ice crystal icing and to document concurrent atmospheric conditions. The flight campaign brought NASA and the aviation community one step closer toward enabling real-time mitigation of engine icing risks, especially as regards development of computational modeling tools that could predict or ameliorate icing conditions encountered during flight. The campaign involved a partnership across three NASA centers, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Boeing Company and Science Engineering Associates, Inc. The meteorological database developed as a result will help to define the nature of ice crystal clouds, how they originate and propagate, and assist engine manufacturers in devising icing-mitigation strategies.
Team Lead: Thomas Ratvasky
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Honorable Mention (Group)
High Reynolds Number Transonic Semispan Test Team (LaRC)
With significant improvements to facility operations and data quality, recent NASA facility investments in upgrades to the National Transonic Facility (NTF) have established a world-class high Reynolds number transonic semispan test capability. The Semispan Test Team is awarded for identifying problems and implemented key improvements to NTF infrastructure and equipment, including novel heating systems, seals, mechanical components and controls, enhancing the NTF’s unique and potent national test capability. Current and future NTF-based research and the application of that research in the evaluation of a game-changing transport configuration positions NASA and the U.S. aeronautics community to precisely evaluate current and future energy-efficient air vehicle concepts.
Team Leads: David Chan, Gregory Jones, William Milholen
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Leadership and Management Excellence

Dr. Renato Colantonio (GRC)
Awarded for leadership in designing the Aeronautics Evaluation and Test Capabilities (AETC) Project, Dr. Colantonio implemented AETC project structure and developed its operational strategy. That strategy has augmented AETC facility capabilities, enabling expansion into new research areas. In particular, his efforts have resulted in crucial modifications to the 9- by 15-Foot Low-Speed Wind Tunnel in which the aerodynamic performance and acoustic characteristics of aircraft engine fans, nozzles, inlets and propellers are evaluated, assuring optimal performance for many more years into the future. In addition, Dr. Colantonio continues to maintain and manage research into airframe and engine icing, ensuring that icing-study results can be expeditiously communicated to other NASA Aeronautics programs and projects.

Honorable Mention
Dennis Hines (AFRC)

Mr. Hines is recognized for leading the implementation of Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM), a new way to manage projects and resources. Directing CCPM day-to-day execution, he has worked tirelessly to demonstrate CCPM’s many advantages. At NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, Mr. Hines implemented a new center-wide metric known as called “Days to Flight”: a single number representing how well the center satisfies its customer commitments. Because of CCPM, the 2015 Days to Flight metric was reduced by more than 50%, with a corresponding 20% increase in throughput, and a number of aeronautics experiments were either able to conclude on time or ahead of schedule.

Program and Mission Support

Winner (Individual)
Easter Wang (ARC)
Honored for her sustained level of excellence as project analyst for the Airspace Technology Demonstration (ATD) Project, Ms. Wang made critical improvements to ATD schedule management, technology transfer, and project plan development. Ms. Wang created an integrated master schedule (IMS), populating it with requirements from the project management team and technical leads. She proactively identified critical dependencies, performed what-if scenarios, analyzed the critical path, communicated potential problem areas and scheduled “buy-back” opportunities for the project manager. On her own initiative, Ms. Wang created IMS summaries that project management quickly adopted for routine reporting of status and concerns to NASA senior management.

Winner (Group)
Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) Convention Planning Group (ARC)

Awarded for developing a plan in less than six months’ time for the first NASA-hosted UAS Traffic Management Convention (UTM 2015) held at NASA Ames Research Center, the Convention Planning Group partnered with the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, Planetary Ventures LLC, and Access Destination Services. Composed of Ames personnel and NASA Headquarters management, the team worked diligently to define the requirements and develop the organizational agreements needed to implement event layout, logistics and security. The planning group developed an extensive technical agenda featuring more than 200 speakers and panelists. The event also included 40 exhibits from industry partners, a NASA Aeronautics exhibit, and UAS flight demonstrations. The team addressed safety and airworthiness requirements for UAS flight activities, exhibitor power, booth and speaker requirements, and ensured that event facilities would meet size, audio/visual and climate control requirements for the eventual three-day daily attendance of 1,000-plus participants, 150 companies and 100 media representatives.
Team Leads: Parimal Kopardekar, Matt Weisman, Bruce Parks
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Honorable Mention (Individual)
Kimlan Pham (GRC)

Ms. Pham is recognized for her expertise in procurement, assisting the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) and NASA Glenn Research Center in processing NASA Research Announcement (NRA) solicitations, as well as the disposition of more than $4.5 million in fiscal year 2015 ARMD augmentation funds. In particular, she provided critical aid during the fiscal year fourth quarter, as ARMD faced several personnel shortages and fund-obligation challenges. Ms. Pham exhibited commitment, diligence, and enthusiasm as she went above and beyond her standard duties to aid in the execution of both ARMD and Glenn procurement activities. She continues to play a key role in establishing and executing NRA solicitations, and mentoring other NRA managers.

Honorable Mention (Group)
Aeronautics / NACA Anniversary Campaign Team (HQ)

The launch of the Aeronautics Research Campaign marked the beginning of NASA Aeronautics’ foray into the new agency communication priority structure and the official start to commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The Aeronautics/NACA Anniversary Campaign Team is recognized for creation of a new Campaign video, a new logo for the NACA/NASA anniversary, a first-ever graphic style guide, social media products – known as shareables – to support the Campaign launch, web features, talking points for both the Campaign and anniversary, Headquarters displays for the West Lobby and Great Hall, a NASA History Office presentation, an expanded NASA Aeronautics Contributions timeline, and a number of other items. NASA centers leveraged the materials to create their own displays, to host employee events, to distribute printed materials, to insert anniversary talking points into speeches and presentations, to generate internal newsletter stories, and to inspire such events as wind-tunnel tours and open houses.
Team Lead: Tony Springer
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Strategic Partnerships

Shawn Engelland (ARC)
Mr. Engelland is awarded for outstanding efforts in forming strategic partnerships to ensure the success of the Airspace Technology Demonstration-2 (ATD-2), a highly visible joint NASA and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) project to improve the predictability and the operational efficiency of the nation’s air traffic system through the enhancement, development and integration of advanced and sophisticated arrival, departure, and surface prediction, scheduling and management systems. He leads this multi-year, $93 million effort whose goal is to demonstrate that ATD-2 technologies can perform optimally in day-to-day flight operations. Because the demonstration’s success relies on the active participation and cooperation of multiple stakeholders representing the government and industry, Mr. Engelland has leveraged his past relationships and forged new ones, gaining the solid commitment and support of the FAA, American Airlines, Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

Honorable Mention
Dr. Paula Dempsey (GRC)
Dr. Dempsey is recognized for instituting a three-way partnership between NASA, the U.S. Army Aviation Engineering Directorate at Redstone Arsenal, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) William J. Hughes Technical Center to significantly increase the effectiveness of health management technologies to detect damage in flight-critical components within rotorcraft drive systems. She also developed a comprehensive test and validation program integrating U.S. Army flight data with accurate component failure progression test data at NASA in order to develop validated health management technologies and health usage monitoring systems certification requirements. Information derived from this effort has been incorporated in the Aeronautical Design Standard on condition-based maintenance used by the U.S. Army. In addition, the results are being used to update the FAA’s Aircraft Circular 29-2C as it relates to test-rig-generated fault data and certification of systems for flight-critical component monitoring.

High Potentials

Dr. Jaewoo Jung (ARC)
Dr. Jung is awarded for development of performance-based navigation (PBN) methods and metrics that assess the ability of airports to recover from disruptions, such as unexpected emergency arrivals or missed approaches. His method continuously assesses the conformity of arrival trajectories to an ideal PBN-based standard and provides a metric to quantify when arrival efficiency decreases, which increases delays, and the rate at which arrival efficiency improves or decays. Dr. Jung also developed concepts and technologies assessing the precision with which unmanned aerial systems (UAS) can navigate a prescribed trajectory under varying environmental conditions: critical to UAS collision avoidance at low altitudes. In addition, he has created a vehicle registration database and framework that can assess UAS trajectory-following performance.

Dr. Othmane Benafan (GRC)
Dr. Benafan is recognized for contributions to the development of materials known as shape memory alloys (SMAs) for aeronautics applications, including advanced actuation technologies for aircraft that could save mass, improve fuel consumption, and enable new capabilities in adaptive structures. In his role as task lead for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate Advanced Air Transport Technology and Transformational Tools and Technologies Projects, he is playing a major role in reaching out to other NASA centers and industry to explore a range of SMA applications. One of Dr. Benafan’s notable technical achievements is development of a new class of SMAs for sub-zero temperature actuation, which have potential for passive actuation of aerodynamic surfaces such as vortex generators, engine chines, engine nacelles and chevrons. Beyond laboratory work, Dr. Benafan is the NASA lead of a co-funded project with SMA industrial and federal partners to devise regulatory guidelines for SMA material specifications and test standards pertaining to commercial and military aviation.

2015 AA Award Winners PDF

ARMD Associate Administrator Award



Last Updated
Jun 09, 2023
Lillian Gipson