2019 Autonomous VTOL Technical Meeting and Electric VTOL Symposium

Mesa 2019 VTOL Meeting Banner
8th Biennial Autonomous VTOL Technical Meeting & 6th Annual Electric VTOL Symposium
Sheraton Mesa Hotel at Wrigleyville West
Mesa, Arizona, USA

The meeting was a phenomenal success!

PDFs of the papers and presentations are now available:
Attendees: please scroll down to the end of this page to enter the passcode you were emailed.
All others may purchase the technical papers or the eVTOL Symposium presentations.
VFS members can download the eVTOL presentations at no charge. 

Overall event schedule (pdf)
Final Program (pdf)


More than 100 technical experts will speak at the Vertical Flight Society’s 6th Annual Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) Symposium and 8th Biennial Autonomous VTOL Technical Meeting in Mesa, Arizona on Jan. 29-31, 2019. The conference features technical paper presentation related to autonomous VTOL aircraft, while the Symposium will feature invited presentations, panel sessions and discussions on electric and hybrid electric VTOL aircraft, with a focus on urban air mobility.

6th Annual eVTOL Symposium

Electric and hybrid-electric propulsion is an exciting new approach to vertical flight aircraft design and the 6th Annual eVTOL Symposium is a unique opportunity for designers, developers, innovators, investors, regulators, infrastructure providers, end users, media and key influencers to share knowledge and work towards realizing the eVTOL revolution. This is also a tremendous networking opportunity for those new to the VTOL industry.

The 6th Annual eVTOL Symposium will feature 60 speakers over 10 sessions covering all aspects of transformative electric and hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft, including:  Progress in Electric VTOL; Challenges in Electric VTOL; System Safety; Standards/Regulations; Vehicle Technologies; Missions and Applications; eVTOL Opportunities; Infrastructure/Passenger Experience; Autonomy and Air Operations; and eVTOL for Good.

Recent urban air mobility market reports commissioned by NASA and analytic companies (e.g. Morgan Stanley and Roland Berger) suggest that up to 100,000 such eVTOL aircraft could be flying commercially in 20 to 30 years time as part of an emerging $500 billion to $2 trillion eVTOL market. 

The Vertical Flight Society has been leading efforts in electric VTOL with workshops starting in 2014, and the Electric VTOL News website, featuring the World eVTOL Aircraft Directory

8th Biennial Autonomous VTOL Technical Meeting

The 8th Biennial Autonomous VTOL Technical Meeting will feature almost 40 speakers over five sessions covering UAV Design, Analysis and Testing, UAV Aerodynamics and Noise, UAV Controls, Flight Dynamics and Navigation, and eVTOL and VTOL Design.

The 21st century has seen a continued emphasis on Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) and greater autonomy and automation for both military and civilian applications. Unmanned aircraft are in varying stages of development all over the world, and continue to expand into the civil and military sectors for a variety of uses. Autonomy is being used to unmanned versions of manned helicopters for dull, dirty and dangerous military cargo missions. In addition, the operator-interface and human factors can be one of the most significant contributions to UAS safety and successful operations. Correspondingly, technologies and regulation are being developed to safely operate UAS, and integrate them into commercial and military airspace.

Meanwhile, automation and various levels of autonomy are being used in modern civil helicopter cockpits, while the military’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) aircraft will need to be optionally-manned or optimally-manned. Autonomy is also a key enabler for new classes of vehicles for civil missions — such as personal air vehicles, urban air mobility and air taxi missions — using electric or hybrid-electric propulsion (eVTOL).

This biennial meeting is an excellent opportunity to learn about and discuss with academic, industry, and military engineers from around the world the latest advancements in manned/unmanned, electric/hybrid/turboshaft-powered, and civil/military autonomous VTOL aircraft technology.

Authors with technical paper questions should contact Dr. Ram JankiRam (+1-480-891-6057), Technical Chair, or Dr. Kendra Befort (+1-480-891-1979), Deputy Technical Chair, or email uas_papers@ahsaz.org

Invited Presentations

Banquet Keynote: "Autonomy at Bell," Michael Thacker, Executive VP for Technology & Innovation, Bell

Plenary Presentations: Needs for Future Autonomous VTOL Aircraft [Tues. Jan. 29 - 8:00 AM to 12:00 noon]

Moderator: Dr. Ram JanakiRam, Boeing
  • "Autonomy for Next Generation VTOL Systems," Dr. Bill Lewis, Aviation Development Director, US Army
  • "The Electric VTOL Revolution," Mike Hirschberg, Vertical Flight Society
  • "Army VTOL UAS Development Efforts," LTC Mike Osmon, US Army, Aviation Development Directorate
  • "Agility, Cyber and Emerging Technologies for Naval UAS," Dr. Robert Ernst, NAVAIR PMA-266
  • "Analyzing Electric VTOL for the Joint Force," Lt Col Nathan P. Diller, US Air Force, J8 Joint Force Integration Cell, Joint Staff 
  • "Boeing Autonomous Systems Portfolio," Mark Jordan, Boeing
  • "Needs for the Uber Elevate Ecosystem," Mark Moore, Uber 

eVTOL Session 1: Progress in Electric VTOL [Tues. Jan. 29 - 1:30 to 3:30 PM]

Moderator: Mike Hirschberg, Vertical Flight Society
  • "The XTI TriFan 600," Bob Labelle, CEO, XTI Aircraft
  • "Terrafugia TF-2 Overview," Carl Dietrich, Co-Founder/CTO, Terrafugia
  • "The Karem Butterfly," Ben Tigner, President, Karem Aircraft
  • "Electric VTOL on the Boeing Horizon," Troy Rutherford, Senior Director for eVTOL, Boeing NeXt

eVTOL Session 2: Challenges in Electric VTOL [Tues. Jan. 29 - 4:00 to 5:30 PM]

Moderator: Jim Sherman, SAE International
  • "Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP) Failure Modes," Patrick Darmstadt, Boeing [technical paper]
  • "Gust Rejection," Nick Brake, Empirical Systems Aerospace
  • "VTOL Flight Control for Safety," Justin Paines, Chief Test Pilot, Joby Aviation

eVTOL Session 3: Standards/Regulations [Wed. Jan. 30 - 8:00 to 10:00 AM]

Moderator: Tom Gunnarson, Lead of Regulatory Affairs, Kitty Hawk

  • Anna Dietrich, Co-Founder, Terrafugia
  • Ajay Sehgal, Chief Engineer, KBRWyle
  • Dr. Mark DeAngelo, Aerospace Standards Engineer, SAE International
  • Greg Bowles, VP, Global Innovation & Policy, GAMA

eVTOL Session 4: System Safety [Wed. Jan. 30 - 10:30 AM to 12:00 noon]

Moderator: Dan Newman, Boeing
  • Jonathan Hartman, Disruptive Technologies Lead, Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company
  • Kyle Heironimus, Innovation Engineer, Bell
  • Andrea Signorini, Head of Safety & Airworthiness, Sistemi Dinamici, a Leonardo company

eVTOL Session 5: Vehicle Technologies [Wed. Jan. 30 - 1:30 to 3:30 PM]

Moderator: Johnny Doo, International Vehicle Research
  • “Hybrid Electric Propulsion System Advantages And Disadvantages,” Eric Blumer, Director of Advanced Technologies, Honeywell
  • "New Lithium Sulfur Battery Development," Dr. Zachary Favors, Chief Scientist, Nextech Batteries
  • "Fuel Cell Technology," Dr. Rick Sickenberger, Principal Engineer, Teledyne Energy Systems
  • “Demonstration of an Autonomous Optical Launch and Recovery System,” Avinash Gandhe, Scientific Systems Company, Inc. [technical paper]
  • "A Multi-Physics Prognostics Framework for Urban Mobility Operations," Dr. Amine Chigani, CTO & VP Engineering, Sentient Science

eVTOL Session 6: eVTOL Missions and Applications [Wed. Jan. 30 - 4:00 to 5:30 PM]

Moderator: Jim Sherman, SAE International
  • eVTOL Roadmapping, Mike Hirschberg for Michael Dudley, NASA Ames
  • Group 2 – Intracity Missions, Candice Carter
  • Group 3 – Intercity Missions, Seren Webber, University of Hawaii
  • Group 4 – Public Service Missions, Johnny Doo, International Vehicle Research
eVTOL Session 7: Infrastructure/Passenger Experience [Thurs. Jan. 31 - 8:00 to 10:00 AM]

Moderator: Michael Dyment, Managing Partner, NEXA Advisors

  • “Global Vertiport Infrastructure Opportunities,” Michael Dyment, NEXA Advisors
  • “Vertiport Integration Constraints,” Rex Alexander, 5 Alpha
  • "Vertiport Design Possibilities," Mark Pilwallis, Gannett Fleming
  • "Electric VTOL Noise Considerations, Dr. Ken Brentner, Penn State University
eVTOL Session 8: eVTOL Opportunities [Thurs. Jan. 31 - 10:30 AM to 12:00 noon]
Moderator: Mike Hirschberg, Vertical Flight Society
  • “A Review of Current Technology and Research in Urban On-Demand Air Mobility Applications,” Nicholas Polaczyk and Enzo Trombino, Iowa State University [technical paper]
  • "A Venture Capitalist's Perspective on eVTOL," Peter Shannon, Levitate Capital
  • Exhibitor Showcase:
    • Continuum Dynamics, Dan Wachspress: “eVTOL Aircraft Analysis Tools” 
    • Defense Systems Information Analysis Center, Daniel Whipp: "DSIAC Overview" 
    • NFT, Guy Kaplinsky: "Door-to-Door eVTOL"
    • Pi Innovo, Dwight Hansell: "OpenECUs for eVTOL" 

eVTOL Session 9: Autonomy and Air Operations Panel [Thurs. Jan. 31 - 1:00 to 2:30 PM]

Moderator: Bruce Holmes, SmartSky Networks
  • "Enabling Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and eVTOL Operations," Steve Jacobson, Autonodyne
  • “Enabling Operations in the U-Space,” Maurizio Manzo, UTM Product Manager, Leonardo Electronics Division
  • "How UTM Will Enable the Future of All Autonomous Aircraft," Jessie Mooberry, A³ by Airbus
eVTOL Session 10: eVTOL for Good [Thurs. Jan. 31 - 3:00 to 5:00 PM]
Moderator: Johnny Doo, International Vehicle Research
  • "Distributed On-Demand TVF Search & Rescue & Disaster Relief Network," Johnny Doo, President, IVR
  • "eVTOL for Search & Rescue," Eddie Bennet, CEO, The Ripper Group, Australia
  • "eVTOL Applications for Fire Fighting," Michael Ralston, Technology & Innovation Leader, Menlo Fire District, California
  • "From Humanitarian Efforts to Easier Commutes," Jessie Mooberry, Head of Deployment, Airbus UTM
  • "A Unique eVTOL Concept and Applications," Arnaud Didey, CEO, Neoptera
eVTOL Symposium Wrap-Up [Thursday 5:00 PM to 5:30 PM]

Moderator: Mike Hirschberg, VFS Executive Director


Short Courses: 

  • A 1-day Short Course on Electric VTOL Design will be taught onsite on Monday, Jan. 28 (8 am - 5 pm), the day before the conference and symposium begins. The course will be taught by Dr. James Wang, one of the leading figures in electric VTOL aircraft development. The cost of the course is $275 ($175 for current student members of VFS). Download the course description and register for this insightful course. This course has SOLD OUT! There will be a video of the training course made available approximately 45-days after the event for the same price of $275.
  • A 1½ day Short Course on Electric VTOL Aeromechanics & Acoustic Prediction Software will be taught onsite Thursday afternoon, Jan. 31 (1 pm - 5 pm) and all day Friday, Feb 1 (8 am - 5 pm). The course will be taught by Dr. Ken Brentner (Penn State), Dan Wachspress (Continuum Dynamics), Dr. Rob McDonald (Uber Elevate) and Alex Gary (Uber Elevate) and will instruct attendees on how to use PSU-WOPWOP, CDI's CHARM and NASA's OpenVSP modeling tools to conduct acoustic prediction of Electric VTOL configurations. The cost of the course is $450 for all attendees. Download the course description and register for this groundbreaking course!

Sponsorships & Exhibits: The sponsorship and exhibits are now SOLD OUT!

Platinum-Level Sponsors
Bell 2018 Logo Boeing logo Karem logo Nexa Logo Terrafugia Logo 2018 (png)
Gold-Level Sponsors
ES Aero Gannett Fleming logo (400 px) png Honeywell logo (300x138 px) png  Thales logo XTI Aircraft Logo
CDI logo  DSIAC logo Nexa Logo NFT logo Pi Innovo stacked logo SAE logo



2019 Autonomous VTOL Technical Meeting and Electric VTOL Symposium paper Uploader

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