Forum 76 Updates

Update: 2020-07-20

Forum 76 Will Be All Virtual

Over the past few weeks, it has become apparent that — despite our hopes — the novel coronavirus pandemic will not have improved sufficiently to hold Forum 76 in person in October. As a result, we have been forced to change Forum 76 to an all-virtual event.

This decision was made after careful consideration of all the factors, including the current COVID situation, our survey results, and current organizational travel policies that would have prevented most attendance from those in the US government, academia, many companies and nearly everyone outside the US — 58% of survey respondents indicated that their organization would not permit their attendance. In addition, current Virginia policy limits gatherings to 250 people; cases of COVID-19 are rising and some previously loosened restrictions are now being reinstated.

Over the past few weeks, we began designing an exceptional virtual event for Forum 76, which will be held over the same days as planned, Oct. 5-8 (with several activities moved to Monday, Oct. 5). With the success of many similar virtual conferences and exhibits over the past several months, the webmeeting technology has shown itself as a viable alternative to face-to-face events. VFS has also proven our ability to hold very successful online webinars, with 15 such events held since March, and many more planned prior to our virtual Forum 76.

VFS is investing in a platform that will provide an excellent experience for Forum attendees and exhibitors, and our 230 papers in 40 technical sessions will be held exactly as planned, delivered over our proven webinar platform. This will be complemented by our VIP speakers, the annual CEO panel, extensive unopposed exhibit hall hours, and ample time for networking. Other events, such as our two short courses, our many committee meetings and our 76th Annual Awards Program, will be held in advance of the virtual Forum.

Forum 76 provides the premier venue for learning, networking and working together to advance vertical flight ... and our best opportunity for overcoming the obstacles of COVID-19 is through collaboration.

We hope to see you online as part of our virtual Forum 76!


Update: 2020-06-25

Virginia Moves to Phase 3 – Reopening

The state of Virginia is making steady progress against the novel coronavirus and has been reopening over the past several months. The Governor of Virginia has declared that the entire state will transition to "Phase Three" of its "Guidelines to Slowly Ease Public Health Restrictions" on Wed. July 1: 

In Phase Three, the Commonwealth will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued recommendations for social distancing and teleworking, and the requirement that individuals wear face coverings in indoor public settings. The maximum number of individuals allowed in social gatherings will increase from 50 to 250 people. All businesses should continue to follow physical distancing guidelines, frequently clean and sanitize high contact surfaces, and keep enhanced workplace safety measures in place....  

Phase Three guidelines for specific sectors can be found here. Phase Two guidelines are available here. Visit virginia.gov/coronavirus/forwardvirginia for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.

Nonetheless, VFS continues to monitor the pandemic and is preparing to host Forum 76 in a nontraditional format if it becomes necessary. Our planning includes a range of options from producing a physical event in Virginia Beach with enhanced safety and social distancing measures or possibly hosting a completely virtual Forum. A hybrid with a combination of these two formats is also a possibility. VFS members and past Forum attendees have been emailed a survey to help the Society in making this very important decision. If you have not already filled out the survey, please do so by Tuesday, July 7 at 11:59 pm EDT (UTC-4). 

Please take the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/forum76


Update: 2020-06-08

Virginia Moves to Phase 2 – Reopening

As of Friday, June 5, the Governor of Virginia has declared the majority of the state — including Virginia Beach — to be in "Phase Two" of its "Guidelines to Slowly Ease Public Health Restrictions":

"Under Phase Two, the Commonwealth will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued recommendations for social distancing, teleworking, and requiring individuals to wear face coverings in indoor public settings. The maximum number of individuals permitted in a social gathering will increase from 10 to 50 people. All businesses should still adhere to physical distancing guidelines, frequently clean and sanitize high contact surfaces, and continue enhanced workplace safety measures." — Press release, June 2, 2020.

VFS is continuing to monitor the progress of the state's health system and recovery, and staying in touch with our partners in Virginia Beach. We will continue to keep our members informed in the coming weeks. 

The number of infections per day has been decreasing rapidly across the state, and the rate in eastern Virginia is very low. 


Update 2020-05-27:

Forum 76 Moving Forward

For 75 years, the Vertical Flight Society's Annual Forum & Technology Display has been the world's leading international technical event on vertical flight technology. As you know, the 76th Annual Forum & Technology Display was rescheduled to Oct. 6-8, 2020 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The VFS staff, our Society leaders, hundreds of members who comprise our technical committees, and Forum authors of more than 250 papers are all working diligently to make this year’s Forum 76 the most valuable and impactful technical event possible.

Your safety is paramount. We are closely monitoring the developments with COVID-19, particularly in those states that have been loosening restrictions. The Governor of Virginia recently reopened Virginia Beach and most of the state is now in “Phase 1” of easing public health restrictions.

We remain hopeful that the coming weeks will show that a loosening of restrictions is safe. With more than four months before Forum 76, there is still plenty of time for the health situation in the United States to improve. Nonetheless, we are also continuing our contingency planning to ensure that Forum 76 carries on its tradition of excellence whether in an-person, hybrid or fully-virtual event.


Update 2020-03-31:

Forum 76 Registration Reopened

We appreciate everyone's patience over the past few weeks. We're pleased to announce that our Forum 76 contracts are being finalized and we have reopened registration. We hope that the COVID-19 pandemic will have peaked and subsided long before October and that everyone will be able to join us in Virginia Beach.

Check out our revised Forum 76 webpages for all the latest updated information on the technical paper deadline, technical session schedules, exhibits, sponsorship opportunities, short courses and more!

We hope to see you in Virginia Beach!


Update 2020-03-24:

Forum 76 Rescheduled to October

Thank you to all of our members and partners for your support and encouragement over the past few weeks. As you know, the 76th Annual Forum & Technology Display was planned for May 19-21 in Montreal. However, as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we have been busily working on alternatives.

We don't have all of the contracts lined up yet, but we want to keep you updated and let you know that we have tentatively rescheduled Forum 76 for later this year.

As a result of current medical projections of the virus and the availability of our traditional convention centers, we are working towards holding Forum 76 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center on Oct. 6-8, 2020. Note that we are working out the logistics and contractual changes, so please be patient.

Forum 76 authors, please note that the paper deadline is being extended. Everyone can check the Forum 76 web pages for the latest information. 

We know that you may have a lot of questions, but please give us a few more days to work out more of the details. We will continue to send out regularly updates and posts to www.vtol.org/covid.

Meanwhile, we hope you are able to take care of your own physical and mental well-being, as well as continuing your work to advance vertical flight under these challenging circumstances. Thank you!


Update 2020-03-20:

Thank you for the outpouring of support from our members and partners.

We want to remind everyone that we looking at how to best to produce Forum 76, including the potential to reschedule the event to later in the year. We have a lot of contractual requirements and replanning required, and this takes time. We hope to let everyone know more definitive details in the next few days. Please bear with us while we run everything to ground.

Again, thanks so much for your support as we plan for the best Forum 76 possible. You can always check for the latest information on this page, www.vtol.org/covid


Update 2020-03-18:

We want to keep you up to date on our plans for Forum 76. Because on the unknown nature of COVID-19 and current travel restrictions, we have been evaluating contingency plans since things began looking increasingly dire last week. We are considering several options, including the potential to reschedule the event to later in the year. We will let you know how these options mature over the next few days, and also continue to update our website at www.vtol.org/covid. (Note that we are absolutely not considering cancelling Forum 76!)

FYI, in monitoring other major events, it appears that most major events through the end of April have now been postponed, cancelled or made virtual, but most after the beginning of May still appear planned to go forward. We have a listing of event statuses at https://vtol.org/news/update-on-vtol-relevant-meetings  

We appreciate the outpouring of support that we have seen from our members and partners. We will endeavor to put on the best Forum 76 possible under the circumstances and ask that everyone be patient and continue your support as we go forward.


Update 2020-03-12:

We realize the news about COVID-19 can be unsettling and casts uncertainty about Forum 76. VFS is closely monitoring reports and is in communication with our partners in Montreal to make the best decisions possible. Recent announcements by government leaders in the US and Canada are being evaluated for their potential impact on the Forum.

The timing of when the coronavirus will be behind us is uncertain. But it is certain that things will return to normal in the not-so-distant future.

We continue to actively monitor the advice of health authorities and government leaders and will continue to keep everyone informed. We are frequently updating this VFS Statement on COVID-19 (www.vtol.org/covid).

The city of Montreal is keeping VFS informed and the Palais des congrès de Montreal (Montreal Convention Center) is also closely tracking the latest news regarding the coronavirus, as well as any recommendations issued by experts and health agencies, such as the World Health Organization, and the Public Health Agency of Canada. They are focusing on prevention, while ensuring compliance with all of the health agencies’ recommendations, and encouraging taking proper preventive measures.

Among the preventive measures implemented by the Palais des congrès:

  • Several distributors of alcohol-based hand sanitizers are available in the public spaces of the Palais; others will be added.
  • Posters are displayed in the bathrooms with tips for effective hand washing.
  • Cleaning services disinfect shared surfaces at higher frequency (doorknobs, stair rails, elevators, toilets).
  • A committee is in place to monitor the situation.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
  • All Palais washrooms are supplied with soap. Also, there are numerous alcohol-based hand sanitizers stationed in the Palais’ public areas.

In addition, some simple yet highly useful tips for guarding against the flu especially this time of year can be applied by meeting participants:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or into your elbow.
  • Refrain from shaking hands.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Clean shared surfaces and items.
  • Limit contact with others if you are sick.

Please wash your hands frequently and thoroughly to stay healthy! 

Mike Hirschberg and the VFS staff.


Posted 2020-03-05