Autonomous VTOL Technical Meeting and eVTOL Symposium 2019

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

Short Course on eVTOL Design: Mon Jan. 28
Technical Meeting & Symposium: Tues-Thurs Jan. 29-31
Short Course on eVTOL Aeromechanics & Acoustics: Thurs/Fri Jan. 31-Feb. 1

Register today — last year's event sold out!

Hotel block is sold out! Other possible area hotels (pdf).

Thank you to our sponsors and exhibitors:
Bell, Boeing, Continuum Dynamics, Defense Systems Information Analysis Center, Empirical Systems Inc., Gannett Fleming,
Honeywell, Karem Aircraft, NEXA Capital, NFT, Pi Innovo, SAE International, Sentient Science, Terrafugia, Thales and XTI Aircraft!
(no more available — sold out)

Overall event schedule

Onsite Registration Hours:

  • Sunday, Jan. 27th: 3:00 to 5:00 pm
  • Monday, Jan. 28th: 7:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Tues., Jan. 29th: 7:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Wed. Jan. 30th: 7:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Thurs. Jan 31st: 7:30 am to 4:00 pm

Meeting Dress Code: business casual


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 Meetingwill 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.

Technical Papers

The 2019 Autonomous VTOL technical paper schedule (pdf) is now available! Reminder to Authors: no paper will be scheduled for presentation if a written paper has not been received by Jan. 21, 2019. It will be author’s responsibility to obtain all necessary clearances or releases. Authors will receive email instruction from organizers with a link on where and how to upload their final papers.

For paper questions contact Dr. Ram JankiRam (+1-480-891-6057), Technical Chair, or Dr. Kendra Befort (+1-480-891-1979), Deputy Technical Chair, or email

Invited Presentations (Subject to Change)

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
  • Mark Jordan, Boeing Autonomous Systems
  • “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 
  • "NASA Research Supporting Vertical Flight and UAM," Dr. Colin Theodore, NASA Ames
  • "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
  • Bob Labelle, CEO, XTI Aircraft
  • Zach Lovering, VP of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Systems, Airbus
  • Ben Tigner, President, Karem Aircraft
  • 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
  • "Observations from Exploration of VTOL Urban Air Mobility Designs," Chris Silva, NASA Ames
  • "Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP) Failure Modes," Patrick Darmstadt, Boeing
  • "Gust Rejection," Nick Brake, Empirical Systems Aerospace
  • "VTOL Flight Control for Safety," Justin Paines, Chief Test Pilot, Joby Aviation

eVTOL Session 3: System Safety [Wed. Jan. 30 - 8:00 to 10:00 AM]

Moderator: Dan Newman, Boeing
  • Chris van Buiten, VP Innovations, Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company
  • Starr Ginn, Deputy Aeronautics Research Director, NASA Armstrong
  • Kyle Heironimus, Innovation Engineer, Bell
  • Ife Ogunleye, Acting Manager, Policy and Regulation Section, FAA
  • Andrea Signorini, Leonardo Helicopter Division

eVTOL Session 4: Standards/Regulations [Wed. Jan. 30 - 10:30 AM to 12:00 noon]

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
  • Andy Supinie, Aircraft Certification Office, FAA

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 Compared To All Electric Propulsion And All Traditional Engine-Driven Propulsion,” 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
  • “Development and Demonstration of an Autonomous Optical Launch and Recovery System,” Avinash Gandhe, Scientific Systems Company, Inc.
  • "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: Michael Dudley, NASA Ames
  • Michael Dudley, NASA Ames: eVTOL Roadmapping
  • Candice Carter: Group 2 – Intracity Missions
  • Seren Webber: Group 3 – Intercity Missions
  • Johnny Doo, IVR: Group 4 – Public Service Missions

eVTOL Session 7: eVTOL Opportunities [Thurs. Jan. 31 - 8:00 to 10:00 AM]

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
  • "A Venture Capitalist's Perspective on eVTOL," Peter Shannon, Levitate Capital
  • Carl Dietrich, Co-Founder/CTO, Terrafugia
  • Gwen Lighter, GoFly Prize
  • Exhibitor Showcase:
    • Continuum Dynamics, Dan Wachspress: “eVTOL Aircraft Analysis Tools” 
    • Defense Systems Information Analysis Center, Daniel Whipp: "DSIAC Overview" 
    • NFT, Guy Kaplinsky: "Fly/Drive into the Next Future Transportation"
    • Pi Innovo, Dwight Hansell: "OpenECUs for eVTOL" 

eVTOL Session 8: Infrastructure/Passenger Experience [Thurs. Jan. 31 - 10:30 AM to 12:00 noon]

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
  • "eVTOL Noise Considerations, Dr. Ken Brentner, Penn State University
  • "Air Vehicle Factors Affecting Occupant Health, Comfort, and Productivity," Bernard D. Adelstein, NASA Ames Research Center

eVTOL Session 9: eVTOL for Good [Thurs. Jan. 31 - 1:00 to 2:30 PM]

Moderator: Johnny Doo, International Vehicle Research
  • "Distributed On-Demand TVF Search & Rescue & Disaster Relief Network," Johnny Doo, IVR
  • "eVTOL for Search & Rescue," Eddie Bennet, The Ripper Group, Australia
  • "eVTOL applications for Fire Fighting," Michael Ralston, Menlo Fire District, California
  • "From Humanitarian Efforts to Easier Commutes: How UTM Will Enable the Future of All Autonomous Aircraft," Jessie Mooberry, A³ by Airbus
  • "A Unique eVTOL Concept and Applications," Arnaud Didey, Neoptera
eVTOL Session 10: Autonomy and Air Operations Panel [Thurs. Jan. 31 - 3:00 to 5:00 PM]
Moderator: Bruce Holmes, SmartSky Networks
  • "NASA UTM," Parimal Kopardekar, NASA
  • “Collaborative Autonomy for VTOL Operations,” Bimal Aponso, Associate Division Chief for Aeronautics, Intelligent Systems Division, NASA Ames Research Center
  • "UTM is a precursor to ATM 2.0," Wade Stanfield, ATM Operations Specialist, Thales 
  • "Enabling Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and eVTOL Operations," Steve Jacobson, Autonodyne
  • “Enabling Operations in the U-Space,” Maurizio Manzo, Leonardo Electronics Division
eVTOL Symposium Wrap-Up [Thursday 5:00 PM to 5:30 PM]

Moderator: Mike Hirschberg, VFS Executive Director


Online registration now open! (Or, your can download the 2019 Autonomous eVTOL AZ Registration Form.) You do not need to be a member to register, but you do need to create an account if you don't already have one. 

Autonomous VTOL Meeting & eVTOL Symposium Tues. Jan. 29 – Thurs. Jan. 31
Registration Rates* VFS Member Non-Member**
VFS Student Member
Early Bird Rate (by Dec. 10, 2018) $575 $675 $325
Regular Rate (after Dec. 10, 2018) $675 $775 $350
*Registration fee includes coffee breaks, lunches, dinner on Wednesday, and Proceedings.
**Includes 1-year membership.
eVTOL Design Short Course: Monday, Jan. 28 (8:00am - 5:00pm)
Regular Attendee $275
VFS Student Members (must be VFS student member) $175
eVTOL Aeromechanics & Acoustics Prediction Software Short Course: Thurs. Jan. 31 (1:00pm - 5:00pm) – Fri. Feb. 1 (8:00am - 5:00pm)
All Attendees $450

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!
  • 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!

Hotel: The meeting is being held at the beautiful Sheraton Mesa Hotel at Wrigleyville West in Mesa. The $179/night discounted hotel block is SOLD OUT! But the hotel may have we have availability at other rates or check out this list of alternative hotels (pdf) that may have availability. 

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
CDI logo  DSIAC logo Nexa Logo NFT logo Pi Innovo stacked logo SAE logo

Autonomous VTOL Technical Meeting 2019 papers

Are you an author? Please enter the event passcode to upload your paper.

paper uploads will be accepted from Dec 11, 2018 2:17:00 PM until Jan 21, 2019 11:59:00 PM.

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