Our Advocacy Legacy

NFACThe Vertical Flight Society advocates for issues of importance to vertical flight. VFS has a proud legacy of advocacy over the past quarter-century, championing the advancement of vertical flight technology. Below are a few examples of Society leadership.

In 1994, AHS (as we were then known) worked with then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Technology George Singley III and NASA Associate Administrator for Aeronautics Dr. Wes Harris, supporting the creation of the National Rotorcraft Technology Center (NRTC), as well as the Rotorcraft Industry Technology Association (RITA), the predecessor of today's Vertical Lift Consortium

Beginning in 1997, the Society's Vice-President of Infrastructure, Dr. John Leverton, was instrumental in leading necessary reforms to ICAO Annex 14 (Heliports). Recently, he led efforts reviewing new international proposed standards relating to helicopter sounds and emissions. In 2014, we began working with other organizations to advocate to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to again permit single engine Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) certifications, with the first projects approved in 2019 — this is a major breakthrough for single-engine safety. 

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. The Society also successfully advocated for additional support for research by NASA's Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology project on noise, safety and propulsion of rotorcraft and electric VTOL (eVTOL). The FAA has also collaborated with NASA and others for acoustic flight research, and developed the VFS-proposed iFlyQuiet initiative. 

In 2005, the Society's Montreal-Ottawa Chapter hosted a specialists’ meeting on helicopter safety. Subsequently, VFS joined with HAI, Transport Canada and the FAA, EASA and many other agencies worldwide to create the International Helicopter Safety Team, which is now the Vertical Aviation Safety Team (VAST). The IHST/VAST vision is "a worldwide vertical flight community with zero fatal accidents achieved through cooperation and collaboration." VFS has served as the secretariat for this international group since initiation, which has led to demonstrable improvements in safety of 30-50%.

In 2008, VFS worked closely with industry and Congress, which adding language to the 2009 Defense Authorization Bill that directed the Pentagon to begin planning for the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program. VFS 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 VFS is a key member. The Society 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. For each of the budgets since then, VFS, VLC and our partners have secured $10M or more per year in additional funding for the Army's advanced aviation technology funding line for FVL, for a total of $65M (FY15-19). 

Since 2014, VFS has led efforts for electric VTOL aircraft through a series of annual Transformative Vertical Flight Workshops, with the annual Electric VTOL Symposiums. VFS consulted on the Uber Elevate White paper and initiated the comprehensive Electric VTOL News website and e-newsletter to inform the community of this transformative VTOL technology. VFS continues its role as thought leader and advocate for electric, hybrid-electric and hydrogen electric VTOL. 

VFS remains actively supporting VAST, VLC, Future Vertical Lift, eVTOL and other critical joint initiatives.

Updated April 7, 2021.