Calspan Corporation is honored to announce it has been selected as a finalist for the esteemed Robert J. Collier Trophy for 2023, recognizing its groundbreaking collaboration with the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and Lockheed Martin to transform the U.S. Air Force’s F-16D Variable In-flight Simulation Test Aircraft (VISTA) into the X-62A.  This pioneering transformation allowed the first ever flight test of synthetic artificial-intelligence pilots in a supersonic aircraft as part of the DARPA Air Combat Evolution (ACE) program and lays the foundation for the development of autonomy in the Air Force’s forthcoming Collaborative Combat Aircraft family.  The winner of the Collier Trophy will be selected by the U.S. National Aeronautic Association in late March.

The Collier Trophy, administered by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), is awarded annually "for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America," highlighting advancements that significantly enhance the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles. The award represents a chronicle of aviation milestones, recognizing the efforts that have pushed the boundaries of what is possible in the skies and beyond.   

Greg Campbell, President of Calspan, expressed his gratitude and vision for the future, stating, "Being named a finalist for the Collier Trophy is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and innovative spirit of our team at Calspan, along with our partners at the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School and Lockheed Martin. This recognition not only honors our achievements in advancing aerospace technology but also reinforces our commitment to pushing the limits of aviation for the betterment of humanity. We are proud to contribute to the legacy of pioneers that have marked major events in the history of flight."

The Collier Trophy was first commissioned in 1910 by aviator, humanitarian, and sportsman Robert J. Collier, with the intention to motivate the American aviation community towards excellence. Since then, the trophy has become a symbol of the highest standards in aeronautical achievement, proudly displayed at the National Air and Space Museum.

Calspan's work with the X-62 and the development of synthetic artificial-intelligence pilots represents a significant leap forward in the utilization of autonomous systems in aircraft, promising to reshape the future of combat and civilian aviation.

Calspan, entering its ninth decade of “Testing the Future”, is committed to continuing its tradition of excellence in aerospace innovation.

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