Paul Bevilaqua receiving Guggenheim Medal for his contributions to aeronautics

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Credit: Paul Bevilaqua

Paul M. Bevilaqua will be awarded the Daniel Guggenheim Medal on May 2 for his influential aeronautics work, which has led to such advancements as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

The Daniel Guggenheim Medal was established in 1929 to honor innovators who make notable achievements in the advancement of aeronautics. Its first recipient was Orville Wright. The medal is jointly sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), American Helicopter Society (AHS), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

Bevilaqua has spent much of the last four decades working on the development of Vertical and/or Short Take-Off and Landing (V/STOL) aircraft. He holds numerous patents and has made key theoretical contributions as well as practical innovations in V/STOL aircraft design.

The competition to produce the Joint Strike Fighter was won when the X-35 technology demonstrator aircraft made a short takeoff, went supersonic, and then landed vertically, the first time any aircraft had accomplished this feat. This achievement was made possible by its innovative multi-cycle propulsion system, invented by Bevilaqua.

Bevilaqua earned a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, which he attended on a U.S. Air Force ROTC scholarship, and then earned an M.S. in Engineering Science and a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University. His study of turbulent wakes identified the importance of body geometry and the dominant vortices shed from the body on the spreading of the wake, making it possible to identify re-entry bodies from their wakes and establishing a new direction for turbulence research.

This led to an active duty assignment at the Aerospace Research Laboratories at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to work on the spreading of the turbulent jets from a V/STOL Search and Rescue aircraft. The hypermixing nozzles he developed by introducing vortices into these jets were incorporated into the thrust augmenting ejectors of the XFV-12A interceptor aircraft being developed for the U.S. Navy. Bevilaqua left the Air Force to become Manager of Advanced Programs at Rockwell International's Navy aircraft plant in Ohio, where this aircraft was being developed.

The FV-12A was to be deployed on the Sea Control Ship. When this ship program was cancelled, Bevilaqua accepted a position as Chief Aeronautical Scientist at the Lockheed Skunk Works. He and his team were tasked with inventing something that would lead to a new line of business for the Lockheed Aircraft Companies. DARPA and the U.S. Marine Corps subsequently approached him about adapting the XFV-12A as a supersonic strike fighter to replace both the subsonic AV-8 Harrier and supersonic F/A-18 Hornet. Instead of an ejector lift system, Bevilaqua proposed the multi-cycle propulsion system, which can be switched from a turbofan cycle to a lift fan cycle to increase thrust for vertical lift. Based on his Air Force service, he also suggested developing a variant with a conventional engine to replace the F-16 Falcon.

He then led the team that demonstrated the feasibility of developing variants of this aircraft for all three military services and our allies. His team completed the demonstration program on schedule and under budget. For demonstrating this propulsion system, the team won the Collier Trophy, which each year recognizes "the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America."

Bevilaqua continues to provide innovation, inspiration, and enormous dedication to the advancement of V/STOL flight within industry, at universities, and through professional societies. His dedication, professionalism, and many contributions represent a benchmark for the V/STOL community.

He is an AIAA Fellow and a member of the National Academy of Engineering and has received numerous awards for his influential work. Bevilaqua retired in 2011 as manager of the Advanced Development Programs at Lockheed Martin Corporation. He will receive the Guggenheim Medal at the 2018 AIAA Aerospace Spotlight Awards Gala on May 2 in Washington, D.C.

Past recipients of the medal are some of the greatest names in aerospace, including Walter Vincenti, Holt Ashley, Lawrence Bell, William Boeing, James Doolittle, Donald Douglas, Charles Stark Draper, Hugh Dryden, Robert Goddard, Jerome Hunsaker, Theodore von Kármán, Charles Lindbergh, Glenn Martin, Frank Robinson, Burt Rutan and Igor Sikorsky, among many others.

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