The Vertical Flight Society at Work

US Capitol Building

VFS works to affect change to advance the state-of-the-art of vertical flight technology and create recognition of the benefits of vertical flight. VFS leads advocacy efforts to Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, FAA and the public. We are leading efforts to educate the public and decision makers through our outreach to the media and Members of Congress

We have a proud legacy of work in support of the advancement of rotorcraft. 

  • For Fiscal Year 2015, VFS successfully worked to get $14M of additional Congressional funding for Future Vertical Lift (FVL), as well as additional funding for NASA rotorcraft (see press release).
  • For Fiscal Year 2016, VFS was successful in getting Congress to add $10M for FVL (see news release).
  • For Fiscal Year 2017, VFS was succesful in getting Congress to add $11M for FVL and has gained broad support for the program on Capitol Hill.  
  • For Fiscal Year 2018, VFS was successful in getting Congress to add $15M for FVL.
  • For Fiscal Year 2019, VFS was successful in getting Congress to add $20M for FVL, and facilitated the addition of additional funds for FVL FARA and other rotorcraft research investments.
  • For Fiscal Year 2020, VFS was successful in highlighting the incredible importance in investing in advanced technologies for FVL. Congress supported FVL with additional funds and we were able to largely ameliorate a cut to the FARA program.  
  • For Fiscal Year 2021, VFS is again working to highlight the incredible importance in investing in advanced vertical flight technologies. 

You can get involved, too! Contact your elected representatives and urge them to support research and development of advanced vertical flight technologies. 

Key Advocacy Activities
  • Promoting research and development investments: Investing in future technologies is essential to advancing the state of the art of vertical flight.
  • Educating future vertical flight leaders: the Society has a long legacy of promoting education through scholarships, student design competitions, and many other opportunities. 
  • Promoting safety: VFS has led safety efforts that resulted in the formation of the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) in 2006, with the ultimate goal of working towards zero accidents.  
  • Reducing noise and noise complaints: VFS kicked off a noise initiative to study helicopter noise generation, reception and perception. 
  • Safe adoption of electric VTOL/urban air mobility: VFS has been leading efforts in electric and hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft for unmanned, piloted an autonomous flight for safe and efficient movement of people and goods. 

Vertiflite Commentaries

Mike Hirschberg

Read Commentary from the Vertical Flight Society Executive Director Mike Hirschberg on critical issues facing industry, academia and government:
  • Nov-Dec 2021: The Need for FARA “Last issue’s Commentary, “Decision Time for FARA,” highlighted the decisions the US Army needs to make on the key requirements for its Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) — part of the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) family of systems."
  • Sept-Oct 2021: Decision Time for FARA “The Army established its FARA acquisition plan to short-circuit and accelerate the traditional acquisition process. Now, the results of industry's bottom-up designs don't align with the top-down requirements. The Army must continue to be agile and use the information that has emerged from the FARA CP aircraft to update and refine its requirements for Increment 1."
  • Jul-Aug 2021: Workforce: Diversity Wins “Much has been said and debated about diversity, particularly in the US over the past year. While this is often wrapped up in discussions of discrimination and social justice — very important issues for society to tackle — this commentary is not about that. VFS is only a small cog in the epic wheels of the world’s civilizations and, while “we punch above our weight” and often have an outsized impact, we do that by applying our energies with a laser focus to specific issues where we see the potential to create a tipping point. Diversity in vertical flight is now exactly this issue."
  • May-June 2021: Workforce: Winning the War for Talent “We are now conducting a more detailed study to help the vertical flight community understand the problem and identify solutions. Importantly, we are also looking at how VFS can help support the needs of the future vertical workforce by promoting diversity through our new DiversiFLY initiative."
  • Mar-Apr 2021: Capitalizing on the Miraculous eVTOL Gold Rush “For the past two years, I have included a discussion about the “Five Key Challenges” of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in my public briefings. I initially referred to them (tongue in cheek) as “five simultaneous miracles” necessary to have urban air mobility (UAM) air taxi in service by the Uber Elevate goal of 2023."
  • Jan-Feb 2021: Uber's Legacy: Elevating the Electric VTOL Revolution “Four years of working with aircraft developers, tech companies, regulators, policy makers, standards developing organizations, investors and every other potential stakeholder has truly “fast forwarded” the realization of the Electric VTOL Revolution."
  • Nov-Dec 2020: Looking Back: A Vertical Retrospective on Electric VTOL “With the dawn of a new decade, we’ve been taking a look back at how things have changed since the beginning of the 21st Century. Like everything else, this series has now taken a new perspective given the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic."
  • Sept-Oct 2020: Looking Back: A Perspective on the Annual Forum “The Annual Forum provides the premier venue for learning, networking and working together to advance vertical flight. This year is no different in its mission. As the vertical flight community has shown through its first three-quarters of a century, there are many, many challenges and obstacles to overcome.
    But overcome them we shall."
  • July-Aug 2020: Looking Back: A Perspective on the Future Vertical Workforce “The growing need for engineers to develop all of these next-generation military and civil vertical flight aircraft simultaneously is turning into a “war for talent” and the Defense Department will again be on the losing side of this potential crisis if actions aren’t taken. As many as 10,000 additional engineers will be needed in the next decade to meet the expected military and civil development programs."
  • May-June 2020: Looking Back: A Vertical Retrospective of COVID-19 “With the dawn of a new decade, we had been taking a look back at how things have changed since the beginning of the 21st Century. This series — like everything else — is being interrupted to give a short history and perspective of the impact of the global pandemic. A short history of the global spread of COVID-19 accompanies this article in the sidebar on the right hand side of this page.”
  • March-April 2020: Looking Back from 2020: A Vertical Retrospective of Rotorcraft Safety “With the dawn of a new decade, we're taking a look back at how things have changed since the beginning of the 21st Century, focusing on civil helicopter safety in this issue.”
  • Jan-Feb 2020: Looking Back from 2020: A Vertical Retrospective of 21st Century US Military Developments “With the dawn of a new decade, let’s take a look back at how things have changed since the beginning of the 21st Century, focusing on US military helicopter developments in this issue.”
  • Nov-Dec 2020: Teaming for Transformative Vertical Flight “VFS urges all organizations and individuals to work together to bring about the Electric VTOL Revolution"
  • Sept-Oct 2019: EASA Publishes SC-VTOL“EASA Takes the First Shot at eVTOL Regulations. Did They Miss the Mark?”
  • July-Aug 2019: VFS Expands Support to eVTOL “The Vertical Flight Society was the first major organization in the world — other than the pioneering companies themselves — to recognize and embrace the potential of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Now, we are doubling down on our support to eVTOL.”
  • May-Jun 2019: Pioneers — Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow “For more than 75 years the Vertical Flight Society has been leading efforts to advance vertical flight. We strive every day to be as much of a force for progress and innovation today as we have been for more than three-quarters of a century. Forum 75 will highlight the tremendous progress in vertical flight, both recent advances and our impressive legacy.”
  • Mar-Apr 2019: A Forum 75 Years in the Making “For 75 years, the Annual Forum has been the high point of the calendar for the world’s vertical flight technical community. From its humble beginnings during World War II, it has remained the largest and most important gathering of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) engineers, scientists, academics, managers and leaders in the world.”
  • Jan-Feb 2019: Stand on the Shoulders of Giants “The explosion of interest in electric and hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) technology over the past few years has been overwhelming. Electric VTOL inventors would do well to take advantage of 75 years of vertical flight knowledge.”
  • Nov-Dec 2018: What FVL Needs to Succeed “Industry has committed $1B so far in Future Vertical Lift and is preparing to invest another $500M. The Army must remain unwavering in its commitments as well.”
  • Sept-Oct 2018: Electric VTOL is Taking Off. Beware the Hyper-Hype Cycle. “One of the reasons why members of the nascent helicopter community decided in early 1943 to establish the American Helicopter Society was because they didn’t feel that they were being taken seriously by the aviation establishment.”
  • Jul-Aug 2018: All In for FVL “The Army wants to field FVL CS1 before CS3 — without slowing down CS3. We can do this!”
  • May-June 2018: AHS is the Vertical Flight Society “After years of discussion and months of debate, the Board of Directors of AHS International voted to change the identity of AHS to the 'Vertical Flight Society,' the moniker that the Society had been using in various forms for at least a half century.”
  • Mar-Apr 2018: Bringing the Vertical Flight Community Together “For three-quarters of a century, AHS has remained at the forefront of advancing vertical flight technology, providing a forum for technical discussions and leading efforts to break down barriers; an incubator for the next-generation technical workforce; a focal point for advancing public acceptance, regulations and standards, and military and civilian operations; and — last but not the least — a catalyst for change during changing times.”
  • Jan-Feb 2018: 75 Years of Advancing Vertical Flight “Seventy-five years ago, on Feb. 25, 1943, 26-year old Edward Katzenberger stood up in a high school gymnasium in Stratford, Connecticut, and called a meeting to order. At that meeting, the participants resolved to establish the American Helicopter Society.”
  • Nov-Dec 2017: Vertical Flight Saves Lives “Unprecedented earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, flooding and other natural disasters filled the news over the past several months. Equally prevalent were stories of vertical flight aircraft saving lives, protecting property and providing support after infrastructure was destroyed.”
  • Sept-Oct 2017: IFR Saves Lives “There is broad consensus throughout the rotorcraft industry and operational community that equipage and training for IFR operations in single-engine helicopters has the potential to make a significant impact on safety.”
  • Jul-Aug 2017: Not Just Helicopters “The conventional helicopter will continue to be the dominant configuration in missions where hovering is critical — and particularly for external lift — for the foreseeable future. Nonetheless, many types of VTOL aircraft today are vying to prove their worth.”
  • May-Jun 2017: VFF @ 50 “The Vertical Flight Foundation celebrates a half century and initiates the VFF 50th Anniversary Capital Campaign.”
  • Mar-Apr 2017: Electric VTOL Wheel of Fortune “The progress of electric VTOL aircraft to date is truly impressive, while the promise of completely ‘reinventing the Wheel’ has nearly limitless potential.”
  • Jan-Feb 2017: Defense Priorities for the New Administration “It is imperative that the incoming Administration of President-Elect Donald J. Trump act immediately to enable and accelerate modernization of the existing military rotorcraft, invest in improvements to keep them relevant for the ensuing decades, and accelerate Future Vertical Lift.”

Commentaries between 2011-2016 can be found at Past Vertiflite Commentaries.