AHS International advocates for issues of importance to vertical flight. AHS has been very successful over the past quarter-century, championing the advancement of rotorcraft technology. Below are a few examples of AHS leadership.
In 1994, AHS — working with then Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology George Singley III and NASA Associate Administrator for Aeronautics Dr. Wes Harris — supported the creation of the National Rotorcraft Technology Center or NRTC, as well as the Rotorcraft Industry Technology Agreement, the predecessor of the current Vertical Lift Consortium.
Beginning in 1997, the AHS VP of Infrastructure, Dr. John Leverton, was instrumental in leading necessary reforms to ICAO Annex 6 (Operations) and 14 (Heliports). Recently, he led efforts reviewing new international proposed standards relating to helicopter sounds and emissions. We are currently working with other organizations to convince the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to again permit single engine Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) certifications.
In 2002, the Society, working with Congress and industry, was instrumental in restoring funding for NASA rotorcraft programs. Subsequently, when the National Full Scale Aerodynamics Complex was closed in 2003, AHS championed the transfer of the NFAC to the Department of Defense and assisted in restoring funding for its operations.
In 2005, the AHS Montreal/Ottawa Chapter hosted a specialists’ meeting on helicopter safety. Subsequently, AHS joined with HAI, Transport Canada and the Federal Aviation Administration, EASA and many other agencies worldwide to create the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST). IHST's goal is to reduce the worldwide helicopter accident rate towards zero accidents. AHS is the Secretariat for this international group and there have been demonstrable improvements in safety — 30-50% — through the efforts of this important group.
In 2008, AHS worked closely with Congress and industry, and succeeded in adding language to the 2009 Defense Authorization Bill that directed the Pentagon in essence to begin planning for the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program. AHS has continued working with industry and Congress to bolster funding and momentum for FVL. One indirect outcome of this work was the VLC, of which AHS is a key member. AHS was successful in getting $14M of additional Congressional funding for FVL in FY15 as well as a plus-up for NASA vertical lift of about $7M, in concert with the VLC. In FY16, AHS succeeded in securing $10M of addition funding for FVL.
AHS remains active in supporting IHST, VLC, Future Vertical Lift and many other critical initiatives.