Hydroplane CEO awarded NAA’s Katherine and Marjorie Stinson Trophy


Hydroplane founder and CEO Dr. Anita Sengupta has won the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) Katherine and Marjorie Stinson Trophy for 2022.

The award, established in 1997 to honour the accomplishments of pioneering aviation sisters Katherine and Marjorie Stinson, recognises ‘a living person for an outstanding and enduring contribution to the role of women in the field of aviation, aeronautics, space, or related sciences.’

Sengupta said: “I am immensely honoured to follow in the footsteps of such enterprising aviation trailblazers and educators as Katherine and Marjorie Stinson and to share this award with many distinguished recipients including Wally Funk, Dr. Ellen Ochoa, and Dr. Shannon Lucid. I am passionate about elevating women in aerospace and aviation technology as I believe they bring some of the brightest minds and most innovative ideas to the table.”

Sengupta is an aerospace engineer, technology innovator and entrepreneur. With a goal, through her company Hydroplane, to decarbonise aviation by leading the development of a novel hydrogen fuel cell powerplant for smaller aircraft including eVTOL, UAS, helicopters, and single engine aircraft with electric propulsion systems.

Prior to founding Hydroplane, Sengupta spent two decades as an aerospace engineer at NASA: JPL working on the successful landing technologies for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover and the Orion Crew Return Vehicle. Also, her PhD research at NASA was used for the ion propulsion system on the Dawn Mission to an asteroid.  Sengupta also served as Hyperloop One’s only female senior technical vice president, where she led the systems development of the magnetically levitating transportation system.

Throughout her career, Sengupta has worked to support and mentor women and underrepresented groups. The Hydroplane engineering team is 30% female and the majority of its staff are minorities. She is also a research professor in the University of Southern California’s Department of Astronautics and Space Technology. An accomplished commercial pilot, Sengupta is a captain in the US Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and an associate director of aerospace education at the California Wing level.

NAA president and CEO Greg Principato, said: “Dr. Anita Sengupta is one of those people who often fly under the radar, but who create and inspire each and every day. I am absolutely certain the Stinson sisters would be in awe of all Dr. Sengupta has done, and is doing, and would be so honoured that an award named for them is being presented to her. Our awards recognise the best in aviation, and we do so again today.”