Advocacy

AHS at Work

US Capitol Building

AHS works to affect change to advance the state-of-the-art of vertical flight technology and create recognition of the benefits of vertical flight. AHS leads advocacy efforts to Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, FAA, and the public. We are leading efforts to educate the public and decision makers through our outreach to the media.

You too can get involved! Contact your elected representatives and urge them to support research and development of advanced vertical flight technologies. 

Key Advocacy Activities
  • Promoting research and development investments: Investing in future technologies is essential to advancing the state of the art of vertical flight.  
  • Educating future vertical flight leaders: AHS International has a long legacy of promoting education through scholarships, student design competitions, and many other opportunities. 
  • Promoting safety: AHS has led safety efforts that resulted in the formation of the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) in 2006, with the ultimate goal of working towards zero accidents.  
  • Reducing noise and noise complaints: AHS is kicking off a new noise initiative to study helicopter noise generation, reception and perception. 
  • Lifting restrictions on US government employees: Current US government policies unfairly restrict the ability of government engineers and scientists to attend educational technical conferences. AHS has worked with other societies to inform government leaders of the negative impacts. The result was new government guidance highlighting the value of "collaborations in the scientific community."
  • Reforming US export control policy: AHS strongly supports efforts to modernize the US export control policy to facilitate technology trade and cooperation, while keeping advanced technologies out of the hands of its adversaries. 

Vertiflite Commentaries

Mike Hirschberg, AHS International Executive Director
Read Commentary from the AHS Executive Director on critical issues facing industry, academia and government:
  • Vertiflite magazine, March-April 2014: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times: "As 2013 fades behind us and year-end reports remind us of the difficulties that were encountered, it is important to take stock of how vibrant and exciting the future of vertical flight technology is."
  • Vertiflite magazine, Jan-Feb 2014: ITEP: The Next Leap in Capability and Affordability: "ITEP will provide game-changing performance and efficiency, ensuring that today’s legacy fleet will remain capable until it is replaced by Future Vertical Lift (FVL) in the middle of the century. Furthermore, ITEP may be well positioned to be the propulsion system basis for FVL-Medium and/or FVL-Light."
  • Vertiflite magazine, Nov-Dec 2013: Remembering Our History As We Look to the Future: "As AHS International celebrates its 70th year of working to advance the state of the art of vertical flight technology, we can look back at an inspiring heritage of accomplishments by industry, academia and government – a proud legacy that we need to preserve and recognize, and build upon for the future of vertical flight."
  • Vertiflite magazine, Sep-Oct 2013: Educating the Future: "We have a proud legacy of educating and inspiring the next generation of vertical flight engineers and leaders, and we will continue to expand our role in educating the future with your support. Be part of it."
  • Vertiflite magazine, Jul-Aug 2013: AHS International is the Forum for Vertical Flight: "Since the American Helicopter Society was founded 70 years ago, the Annual Forum has provided an unequalled opportunity for government, industry and academia to work together to tackle the toughest challenges in vertical flight."
  • Vertiflite magazine, May-Jun 2013: U.S. Government Actions: A False Economy in a High-Tech World: "The cost [to the government] of conference attendance is fairly low – a few thousand dollars, including travel expenses, and much more cost effective than individual trips to multiple industry and university sites – but the cost of ignorance during a new acquisition program is much higher – measured in billions."
  • Vertiflite magazine, Mar-Apr 2013: Advancing Vertical Flight Technology in Demanding Environments: "To learn the latest about vertical flight technology and the current markets and budgets for its application, go to our website, www.vtol.org/forum, to register for Forum 69 today. To be prepared for the 'Demanding Environments' of today and tomorrow, you can’t afford to miss it!"
  • Vertiflite magazine, Jan-Feb 2013: Invest in the Future: "Given the challenges our industry faces, your contribution to the Vertical Flight Foundation is needed now more than ever."
  • Vertiflite magazine, Nov-Dec 2012: The Value of Face-to-Face: "... the Wakefield Research Fourth Annual Business Travel Survey (2012) noted that 'Travelers estimated that 1 hour of face-to-face contact equaled 5 video conferences, 10 telephone calls, or 20 emails.' Often the unplanned discussions at meetings are much more valuable – for industry, academia and government – than the formal planned presentations."
  • Vertiflite magazine, Sept-Oct 2012: Still Need a New Scout: "The time for procurement of a new armed aerial scout is now. With the sundown of all current U.S. military production less than a decade away, there will be significant excess capacity in the industrial base, and a risk that its capabilities will degrade."
  • Vertiflite magazine, Jul-Aug 2012: A Civil Discourse on Noise and Safety: "Attempts to legislate solutions to noise and safety concerns are ill conceived and uninformed approaches to satisfy a small, vocal community, and will likely result in more harm than good to the very communities that are complaining." 
  • Vertiflite magazine, May-Jun 2012: Unintended Consequences: "The amendments [restricting U.S. government employee travel] as passed have significant unintended consequences that will be detrimental to AHS and the U.S. government."
  • Vertiflite magazine, Mar-Apr 2012: U.S. Rotorcraft Research Under Attack: "The impact of these latest reductions in funds to NASA and NRTC, if not reversed, will continue to reverberate in the years and decades to come."
  • Vertiflite magazine, Jan-Feb 2012: The Crisis in U.S. Army Aviation: "The V-22 Osprey is the only new combat rotorcraft that DoD has fielded in more than 25 years."
  • Vertiflite magazine, Winter 2011: Wanted: Leadership: "The Europeans are showing leadership in their pursuit of next generation rotorcraft technologies. If America is to remain competitive, it must do the same."
  • Vertiflite magazine, Fall 2011, September 11th – 10 Years On: "The September 11th attacks instigated a decade of unparalleled contributions by rotorcraft to national strategy objectives, but more investments in technology are still needed."

Our Legacy

NFACAHS has been very successful over the past two decades championing the advancement of vertical flight technology. Here are a few examples of AHS leadership:

In 1994, AHS – working with George Singley of the US Army and Dr. Wes Harris of NASA – 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. The AHS is a key participant with VLC.

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 sound and emissions.

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 by 80 percent in 10 years. AHS is the Secretariat for this international group and there has been demonstrable improvements in safety through the efforts of this important group.

In 2009, AHS worked closely with Congress and industry and succeeded in adding Section 255 to the 2009 Defense Authorization Bill. This legislation required a Capabilities Based Assessment on the state of vertical lift, the creation of a technology roadmap, and increased investment in vertical flight science and technology. It also called for the creation within the DoD of a Vertical Flight Joint Program Office for all the service branches. As a result of this Congressional action, the Office of the Secretary of Defense submitted the Report on the DOD Future Vertical Lift Strategic Plan in 2010.

AHS worked with the non-profit Vertical Lift Consortium (VLC) to sign a letter to the Secretary of Defense, on September 19, 2011, urging the approval of the Future Vertical Lift Strategic Plan itself, which outlined a roadmap for next generation rotorcraft research and development. In December 2011, AHS helped get the Army Aviation Caucus kicked off, advising them of the urgency in investing in advanced rotorcraft technology. The Caucus sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense on February 10, 2012, urging him to sign the FVL Strategic Plan. (The Office of the Secretary of Defense responded on March 21, 2012.) The FVL Strategic Plan was finally signed and submitted to Congress in October 2012! This was followed in July 2013 by the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) Family of Systems (FoS) Initial Capabilities Document (ICD), validated by a Joint Requirements Oversight Council Memorandum (JROCM).

We continue to be active in supporting IHST, VLC, Future Vertical Lift and many other critical initiatives.


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