May 10th 2023, Hydroplane Founder and CEO Dr. Anita Sengupta Named NAA Stinson Trophy Recipient


Hydroplane Founder and CEO Dr. Anita Sengupta Named NAA Stinson Trophy Recipient

LOS ANGELES, May 10, 2023 – Hydroplane Founder and CEO Dr. Anita Sengupta was selected as the recipient of the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) 2022 Katherine and Marjorie Stinson Trophy this month.


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


“I am immensely honored 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,” Sengupta said. “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.”


Dr. Sengupta is an aerospace engineer, technology innovator, and entrepreneur. As the Founder and CEO of Hydroplane Ltd., she is the company’s technology innovator. Her goal is to decarbonize aviation by leading development of a novel hydrogen fuel cell powerplant for smaller aircraft including eVTOL, UAS, helicopters, and single engine aircraft with electric propulsion systems. As CEO of Hydroplane, she is also Principal Investigator on two US Air Force research and development contracts to develop Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology for vertical lift platforms and cargo drones for the USAF Agility Prime program.


Prior to founding Hydroplane, Dr. Sengupta spent two decades as an aerospace engineer at NASA: JPL where her innovations and leadership led to the development of successful landing technologies for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover and the Orion Crew Return Vehicle. Those technologies continue to be the baseline for future landing systems. Additionally, her PhD research at NASA was used for the ion propulsion system on the Dawn Mission to an asteroid, which provided the most efficient thrust of any space mission and now enables deep space exploration. Dr. Sengupta also served as (formerly Virgin) Hyperloop One’s only female senior Technical Vice President, where she led the systems development of the magnetically levitating transportation system.


Throughout her career, Dr. 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 where she trains the next generation of aerospace engineers focusing on space exploration.


An accomplished commercial pilot, Dr. Sengupta is a Captain in the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and an associate director of aerospace education at the California Wing level. In this capacity, she gives lectures to CAP members and cadets on aerospace education and careers.


Dr. Sengupta’s other mentoring endeavors include Executive Mentor for the Brook Owens Fellowship program, which advances women in aerospace and aviation, and Executive Mentor for the Matthew Isakowitz Commercial Space Fellowship. Dr. Sengupta is also a Trustee of the SAE International Foundation where she gives STEM presentations to girls and underrepresented students. As a high-demand international science speaker, she delivers science communications lectures on her NASA projects and sustainable aviation and transportation, taking extra steps to meet and support women and unrepresented people who attend her lectures.


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


For more information on Hydroplane, visit


About Hydroplane

Founded by former NASA engineer Dr. Anita Sengupta, Hydroplane Ltd. is a minority woman-owned small business focused on eliminating aviation carbon emissions. Sengupta’s team of space program-trained engineers is developing a modular hydrogen fuel cell powerplant for a range of aircraft and mobile energy storage applications. Hydroplane is a winner of two U.S. Air Force Agility Prime contracts to develop the novel technology for a range of government and commercial aviation uses.


About NAA

The National Aeronautic Association is a non-profit membership organization devoted to fostering opportunities to participate fully in aviation activities and to promoting public understanding of the importance of aviation and space flight to the United States. NAA is the caretaker of some of the most important aviation awards in the world and certifies all national aviation records set in the United States. For information, visit



Michael Tonetti
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