Commentary: "The Magic of the Forum"

The Magic of the Forum
By Mike Hirschberg, Executive Director

From Vertiflite, July-August 2015

Mike HirschbergThe AHS Annual Forum is always a somewhat magical event.

In May, AHS International held its 71st Annual Forum & Technology Display, featuring more than 225 technical papers, panel discussions with the leaders of vertical flight manufacturers and top officials of US military rotorcraft programs, and nearly 60 exhibitors showcasing their state-of-the-art technologies and capabilities.

The Grand Awards Banquet is the technical community’s spotlight on those who have contributed most to the understanding and advancement of vertical flight, as well as to those inspiring heroes who have used our products to save lives and improve society. There is always a magical feel to the evening as we recognize the efforts of our peers and colleagues for the year’s most important accomplishments from around the world.

Also highlighted at the Banquet are the future leaders of vertical flight – top students selected for our prestigious Vertical Flight Foundation scholarships. As a result of ever increasing donations, we have been able to similarly increase the number and amount of the scholarships awarded, and we hope to continue this trend with your support.

Combined with other student events, like the Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) Student Challenge and the Student Design Competition award winner presentations, the Forum provides students opportunities to enhance understanding and connections to AHS Members in industry, government and other research organizations. Every year, AHS provides free attendance to the Forum for all VFF scholarship winners, as well as all students who volunteer to help run the technical sessions – more than 80 students in all.

Even if you weren’t able to attend “The Biggest and Best Vertical Flight Technology Conference in the World,” you can still benefit from Forum 71 and enhance your knowledge of vertical flight. In addition to the summary of events in this issue of Vertiflite, the Forum technical papers and invited presentations are now online. Most attendees got Forum Proceedings CD-ROMs with more than 225 technical papers, and these are also available in the AHS Online Store, as are the papers individually. In addition, all of the slides presented in the US Army and Navy/Marine Corps briefings, the CEO panel, the Supplier panel, and the Future VTOL Demonstrator panel – featuring presentations on next generation rotorcraft development programs in the US, Europe and Asia – are available on the Special Session CD-ROM or as individual presentations. Also included is the Alexander A. Nikolsky Honorary Lecture by Dr. Robert A. Ormiston, US Army Emeritus Scientist, entitled “Revitalizing Research for the Next Generation of Advanced Rotorcraft.”

The incredible breadth and depth of the Annual Forum makes it the high point of the technical calendar for those interested in expanding their knowledge of and network in vertical flight. The sharing of information and insights across industry, academia and government organizations facilitate the advancement of vertical flight technology and the technical community. Participants become energized and inspired by the magic of face-to-face technical discussions, horizontally across companies and countries, as well as vertical within the hierarchies of management and the supply chain. Connections made through participation in AHS activities have proven time and time again to be major assets in accelerating Members’ capabilities and careers.

AHS International is now hard at work planning the next Annual Forum, which we will be held in Florida for the first time ever. This is the first new region in the rotation since Montréal was added in 1999. Forum 72 will be held at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida on May 17-19, 2016, with the theme of “Leveraging Emerging Technologies for Future Capabilities.”

Palm Beach County boasts a strong aerospace presence with more than 600 aviation and aerospace companies, including Sikorsky, Pratt & Whitney, Lockheed Martin and FlightSafety International, to name a few. The AHS South Florida Chapter, one of our most energetic, is already planning ways to make the 72nd Annual Forum a preeminent event. With the excitement and enthusiasm generated from hosting the Forum in an all-new region, we are expecting an even higher number of excellent abstracts competing for a finite number of presentation slots, which ensures that the technical content will be as strong as possible.

Plan now to attend. Go to to review the call for papers and learn why Forum 72 in West Palm Beach will be an exception event!

What do you think? Let us know!

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Posted July 1, 2015