eVTOL Defining Challenges Workshop

Workshop on eVTOL Defining Challenges for Urban Air Mobility:
System Safety, Infrastructure and Airspace Management

Navy Memorial Visitor Center
701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC  20004-2608
Sept. 10-12, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Proceedings can now be purchased online on the VFS Online Library.

Gannett Flemming Skyport conceptThe Vertical Flight Society is hosting its first workshop on the defining challenges of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, planned for Sept. 10-12, 2019, at the US Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. This three-day meeting is dedicated to identifying the foundational elements needed to support this growing industry, particularly infrastructure, air traffic management and system safety. Importantly, this workshop will review the activities of key organizations, and look for gaps and overlaps in development to ensure a successful realization of urban air mobility (UAM).

The Vertical Flight Society, founded in 1943 as the American Helicopter Society, is the world's leading professional organization working to advance vertical flight. VFS has been a leading advocate and supporter of what we call The Electric VTOL Revolution. We held the world's eVTOL technical meeting in 2014 and our 7th Annual eVTOL Symposium is planned for Jan. 2020 in Silicon Valley; we now have 100+ hours of informative and educational videos on electric VTOL. A summary of the work that VFS and its partners have done, along with information on previous events and activities, can be found on this webpage.



  • Create common understanding of risk-based frameworks and system safety practices.
  • Identify frameworks for understanding infrastructure development risks, and identify current gaps in industry best practice data for new technologies enabling UAM concepts
  • Connect risk assessment frameworks through infrastructure design to operational considerations
  • Build upon existing heliport safety data, Air Traffic Management (ATM) practices, and existing rotorcraft safety data to identify pre-competitive areas where proactive industry collaboration could be valuable in accelerating UAM adoption


  • Create list of fundamental, pre-competitive research topics or projects that could be undertaken by stakeholders to assist in closing these gaps
  • Build upon existing safety data to identify pre-competitive areas where proactive industry collaboration could be valuable in accelerating UAM adoption


  • Rex Alexander, 5-Alpha
  • John Koelling, NASA
  • Misty Davis, NASA
  • Jonathan Hartman, Sikorsky LMCO
  • Ajay Sehgal, KBR
  • Dan Newman, Boeing
  • Anubhav Datta, University of Maryland
  • Ken Goodrich, NASA

Registration and Sponsorships

  • US Federal Govt Employees and Speakers: $200
  • VFS Members: $350
  • Non-Members: $450 (includes 1 year of VFS membership). 

Note: since this is a working meeting, members of the press cannot attend.

Our Gold-Level Sponsors
Gannett Fleming logo (400 px) png NEXA UAM Logo
Silver-Level Sponsors
Crown Consulting Inc Logo SoftTech Logo Skyryse
Preliminary Agenda: Download the Preliminary Agenda (PDF)
Day 1 – Tuesday, September 10 – Infrastructure
0700–0800 Registration Opens
0800–0900 Welcome/Introductions

Mike Hirschberg, Vertical Flight Society
Mel Johnson, FAA

0900–1000 VTOL Infrastructure, The Current State Rex Alexander, Vertical Flight Society / Bill Goodwin, Skyryse
1030–1200 Vertiports Design Requirements
Local Policy Considerations for UAM Anna Dietrich, AMD Consulting / Yolanka Wulff, CAMI
eVTOL Ground Infrastructure Standardization and Interoperability Arturo Garcia-Alonso, Airport Intelligence / Darrel Swanson, Swanson Aviation Consulting
Vertiport Building Code Rex Alexander, Five-Alpha
1330–1500 Vertiport Performance
Geo-Coding the Future of Urban Air Mobility Michael Dyment, NEXA Advisors
Vertiport Electrical Requirements Teresa Peterson, Gannett Fleming
Powered for Take-Off: Preparing for High-Powered Charging Jamare Bates, Black & Veatch
Uber's Perspectives on Infrastructure Mark Moore, Uber Elevate
1530–1700 Operations
Operations Safety: Automating Hazard Detection, Assessment and Mitigation Nikunj Oza, NASA
Weather Operations & Micro-climates Colleen Reiche, Booz Allen Hamilton / Matthias Steiner, Nat'l Ctr of Atmospheric Research
GAMA Activities Christine DeJong, GAMA
Day 2 – Wednesday, September 11 – Air Traffic / Noise / Passenger Experience
0700–0800 Registration Opens
0800–0900 Welcome/Introductions John Koelling, NASA
0830–1000 Today's Air Traffic Control
TBA Chris Baur, Hughes Aerospace
1030–1200 Defining the Airspace
NASA UAM Grand Challenge Starr Ginn, NASA
Lessons Learned from UAS Traffic Management Dr. Marcus Johnson, NASA
Airspace Definition and Flight Path Spacing - UAM, UTM and ATM-x Jeff Maddalon, NASA
1330–1500 eVTOL / UAM Challenges: Open Panel Discussion
Moderator: Ajay Sehgal, KBR

• Anna Dietrich, AMD Consulting
• Tom Gunnarson, Kittyhawk
• Phil Kenul, Tri-Vector
• Andy Thurling, NUAIR
• Rich Ochs, Spirit Aeronautics

1530–1700 Acoustics / Ride Handling
Uber's Perspectives on Acoustics Mark Moore, Uber Elevate
eVTOL Noise / Acoustics Juliet Page, Volpe
Electric VTOL (eVTOL) Passenger Experience George Price, Crown Consulting
eVTOL for Public Services – Opportunities & Challenges Johnny Doo, International Vehicle Research, Inc.
Day 3 – Thursday – September 12 – System Safety & Certification
0830–0900 Registration Opens
0900–0930 Welcome, Introduction to the Day, Thoughts on Industry Collaborations Jonathan Hartman / Nick Lappos, Sikorsky
0930 - 0100 Current Administration Goals and Priorities Joe Van Valen & Bert Williams, OSTP
1000–1100 Today's Vehicles - an Intro to Risk Framework
Defining and Understanding Risk-Based Frameworks John Burchett, Int'l System Safety Organization
1130–1300 Understanding Operational Risks for UAM
Current Rotorcraft Incident Data and Trends Jonathan Hartman, Sikorsky
Impact of Adverse Weather on eVTOL Design & Operations for UAM  
Moderator: Ajay Sehgal, KBR

• Rex Alexander, Five-Alpha
• Vladislav Gavrilets, Collins Aerospace
• Don Berchoff, TRUweather Solutions

1400–1500 Understanding Air Vehicle Design Risks
Uber's Perspective on Vehicle Safety Mark Moore, Uber Elevate
Cyber-security Max Fenkell, AIA / Daniel Freedman, Lockheed Martin
1500–1700 Interactive Discussion
Actions and Activities of the VFS eVTOL Technical Committee Anubhav Datta, UMD/VFS eVTOL Tech Committee Chair
ASTM Activities Ajay Sehgal, ASTM
SAE Activities Mark DeAngelo, SAE International
CAMI Activities Yolanka Wulff, CAMI
NBAA Activities Mike Nichols, NBAA
  Program Wrap-up Capturing the Actions  Rex Alexander, Jim Sherman, Jonathan Hartman


The United States Navy Memorial Visitor Center is a state-of-the-art event and meeting space located in the heart of Washington, DC on Pennsylvania Avenue, halfway between the White House and Capitol building and across the street from the National Archives. It is steps from the Metrorail Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter stop (Green & Yellow Lines) and plenty of parking is available.

VFS has not arranged for a hotel block, so attendees are free to choose their lodging.


Please contact Jim Sherman for more information.

Updated Sept. 24, 2019