The Howard Hughes Award is given for an outstanding improvement in fundamental vertical flight technology brought to fruition during the preceding year. The award is intended to foster accomplishments in the basic science and technology disciplines of the vertical flight community, such as aerodynamics, dynamics, structures, propulsion, human factors, electronics, simulation, testing and systems integration.

A listing of all winners of the award is provided on the AHS web site.

The first recipient of the award was John F. Ward.