Forum 73 Features Nearly 50 VIP Speakers


Mike Hirschberg

(703) 684-6777

AHS International's 73rd Annual Forum 
Features Nearly 50 VIP Speakers to Address the Future of Vertical Flight

Fairfax, Virginia, April 14, 2017 ΓÇò AHS International, The Vertical Flight Technical Society, today announces the full line-up of VIP speakers at its 73rd Annual Forum & Technology Display on May 9-11, 2017, at the Fort Worth Convention Center, Fort Worth, Texas, USA:

AHS International's Annual Forum is the world's leading international technical event on vertical flight technology. The three-day meeting includes nearly 250 technical paper presentations on every discipline from Acoustics to Unmanned Systems, as well as workshops, invited briefings, and discussions by leaders in industry and government. This year’s event features the most VIP speakers ever.

The Opening General Session, held on Tuesday, May 9 at 1:30 pm will feature the Forum 73 keynote address by Lt Gen Jon Davis, Deputy Commandant for Aviation, US Marine Corps. This will be preceded by an announcement on NATO's Next Generation Rotorcraft Capability Study by Layne B. Merritt, Chief Engineer, US Army Aviation Development Directorate.

These remarks will be followed by the annual interactive panel of industry leaders, addressing the Forum theme of The Future of Vertical Flight:

Straight Talk from the Top: Annual CEO Panel (Tuesday afternoon)

Moderated by Elan Head, Vertical Magazine

  • Jean-Brice Dumont, CTO/EVP Engineering, Airbus Helicopters 
  • Michael Thacker, EVP Technology & Innovation, Bell Helicopter 
  • David Koopersmith, VP/GM, Boeing Vertical Lift 
  • Roberto Garavaglia, VP Strategy, Leonardo Helicopters 
  • Craig Kitchen, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), MD Helicopters 
  • Mark Miller, EVP Engineering, Sikorsky Aircraft, a Lockheed Martin Company

The Opening General Session will then be concluded with the 37th Annual Alexander A. Nikolsky Honorary Lectureship, “Advances in Rotorcraft Crashworthiness — Trends Leading To Improved Survivability,” by Dr. Karen Jackson, NASA Langley Research Center.

US military leaders will provide updates and insights into the latest development, procurement and upgrade plans in two sessions. A special session featuring US Navy and Marine Corps Aviation Program Manager Briefings will begin at 9:00 am on Tuesday, May 8. A special session featuring US Army Aviation Program Manager Briefings will begin at 8:00 am on Wednesday, May 9.

Special Session: US Navy/Marine Corps Program Manager Briefings (Tuesday morning)

Moderated by Rear Adm. G. Dean Peters, US Navy, Program Executive Officer for Air ASW, Assault & Special Mission Programs, PEO(A)

  • RDML Dean Peters: PEO Overview and Presidential, H-60 Multi-Mission & V-22 Joint Program updates
  • Greg Drohat, Deputy Program Manager, PMA-261, H-53 Heavy Lift Helicopters
  • John Marino, Deputy Program Manager, PMA-276, USMC Light/Attack Helicopters
  • Dave Baden, FVL Program Team Lead, PMA-276, Future Vertical Lift Update

Special Session: US Army Aviation Program Manager Briefings (Wednesday morning)

Moderated by Mr. Lars Ericsson, US Army, Assistant PEO for Engineering and Technology, Program Executive Officer, Aviation

  • COL Joseph Hoecherl, PM, Apache Attack Helicopter
  • Mr. Arturo Medellin, Tech Chief, Aviation Systems 
  • Mr. Thomas Neupert, Tech Chief, Cargo Helicopter 
  • Mr. Robert Sheibley, PM, Improved Turbine Engine/Future Vertical Lift (FVL) 
  • Mr. Dennis Sparks, Tech Chief, Unmanned Aircraft Systems 
  • Mr. Steven Kelley, Tech Chief, Utility Helicopters

Other special sessions on Wednesday, May 10, and Thursday, May 11, cover the latest in advanced vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aviation developments.  

VTOL Prize Competitions (Wednesday afternoon)

Moderated by Dan Newman, The Boeing Company

  • Ben Hein, Sikorsky Aircraft: AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition
  • Dr. Rajneesh Singh, US Army Research Lab: AHS Student Design Competition
  • Michael Strauss, Sikorsky Aircraft: AHS Igor I. Sikorsky 24 Hour Hover Challenge
  • Gwen Lighter, GoFly: $2M GoFly Prize
  • Scott Billups, Pixelmonger: “On the Growth of sUAS Capabilities”

Advanced VTOL Air Vehicle Design Special Session (Thursday morning)

Moderated by Dr. Bill Lewis, Director of Aviation Development (ADD), US Army

Facilitated by Dr. D.J. Taylor, Senior Scientist, Aviation (ST), ADD

  • Ryan Ehinger: Bell Helicopter V-280 Valor
  • Steve Weiner: Sikorsky-Boeing SB>1
  • John Piasecki: Lockheed-Piasecki ARES
  • Jon Almond: Northrop Grumman Tern
  • Carl Schaefer: Aurora Flight Science LightningStrike
  • Dan Newman: NATO Next Gen Rotorcraft Capability Study

Transformative Vertical Flight for Urban Mobility (Thursday afternoon)

Moderated by Mark Moore, Uber Technologies

  • Zach Lovering, A3 by Airbus Group
  • Scott Drennan, Bell Helicopter
  • Bob LaBelle, XTI Aircraft
  • Colin Theodore, NASA Ames
  • Ken Goodrich, NASA Langley
  • Wes Ryan, FAA

In addition, the prestigious AHS International Awards Program will recognize the extraordinary achievements and contributions of the very best of the technical and operating communities at the 73rd Annual Grand Awards Banquet at 7:00 pm on Wednesday evening, May 10. More than two dozen awards will be presented, as well as 24 scholarship awards to top engineering students from around the world. More information about the AHS International 73rd Annual Forum & Technology Display is available at

Founded as the American Helicopter Society in 1943, AHS International is the global resource for information on vertical flight technology. The Society advocates, promotes and supports global vertical flight technology and professional development. 

This press release is also available as a PDF.

AHS International — The Vertical Flight Technical Society
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phone: 1-703-684-6777; toll free: 1-855-AHS-INTL; fax: 1-703-739-9279
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