AFRL researcher awarded for contributions to aerospace industry standards

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- Air Force Research Laboratory materials engineer Alan Fletcher has been honored with SAE International’s Franklin W. Kolk Air Transportation Progress Award for his contributions and leadership within the aerospace community.

Fletcher, who serves as a Principal Materials Engineer in the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate’s System Support division, is an international expert in elastomers and a lead for elastomeric test and evaluation efforts.  He is the industry leader for aerospace sealants and fluid seals and advances technical efforts in the development and sustainment of specialized aircraft coatings.

Fletcher has long been an advocate for the establishment and improvement of aerospace industry technical standards and specifications.  Throughout much of his career he has contributed toward efforts to convert military sealant, elastomer, and coating specifications to SAE industry standards.

“Consistent industry standards are the key to safe and reliable products,” said Fletcher.  “They guarantee that a product functions reliably, which in turn inspires user confidence for both the military and the commercial sector.”

To promote and achieve this vision, Fletcher has filled a number of leadership roles within SAE International.  He has been a leader in the Materials Standards Committees since 1989, and a chair of the Aerospace Sealants G-9 Committee since 1990.  He also played an integral role in the formation of the Organic Coatings G-8 Committee and headed the CE Elastomers Committee.  He currently serves as the SAE Aerospace Systems Chair, a role he has held since 2005. 

Additionally, Fletcher was an originator of the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program, now known as Nadcap.  This industry-based group has been at the forefront of processes and quality assurance standardization, reducing unnecessary and redundant audits and saving aerospace original equipment manufacturers valuable time and money.  Since its establishment, Nadcap has expanded its scope to include many other commodities and currently flourishes worldwide.

Over the years, Fletcher has received numerous awards for his professional efforts, including the Air Force Chief of Staff Excellence Award, the Defense Outstanding Performance Award, the Nadcap Leadership Award, and the SAE Chair Award, to name only a few.

Fletcher was also commended personally with the Command Civilian Award for Valor for acts of bravery in preventing harm to a fellow citizen.

Fletcher says that receiving the Kolk award is a tremendous honor. 

“The SAE’s work toward establishing aerospace standards and practices that guide the aerospace industry has been and continues to be incredibly important to both military and commercial material applications,” said Fletcher.  “It’s wonderful to be part of this ongoing effort, and very humbling to be selected for this award.”

The Franklin W. Kolk Air Transportation Progress Award was established in 1978 to recognize individuals for outstanding contributions to air transportation as well as to aerospace technical committees in developing aerospace standards, specifications, technical reports, and data through cooperative research. 

Fletcher will be presented the award on September 27 at the SAE 2017 AeroTech Congress & Exhibition in Fort Worth, Texas.