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.

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. 
  • Reforming US export control policy: VFS strongly supports efforts to modernize the US export control policy to facilitate technology trade and cooperation, while keeping advanced technologies out of the hands of its adversaries. 

Vertiflite Commentaries

Mike Hirschberg, AHS International Executive Director
Read Commentary from the Vertical Flight Society Executive Director Mike Hirschberg on critical issues facing industry, academia and government:
  • 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.”
  • Nov-Dec 2016: The Case for ITEP — Power for the Future “America clearly needs the ITEP engine. It’s not a question of either ITEP or FVL — both are essential pillars of future US military might in the 21st Century.”
  • Sep-Oct 2016: The End of Globalization? “What is needed to ensure a healthy, growing vertical flight industry are clear, stable and efficient trade agreements, strong relationships between countries and companies, and well-understood boundaries. Any new or revised international agreements need to support the flow of goods, ideas and funds.”
  • July-Aug 2016: From the Past to the Future“AHS is not only about the experts of our community providing  their insights and passing on their knowledge, it's also about exciting and inspiring the next generation of leaders in vertical flight — they who will be imparting their wisdom to future generations.”
  • May-Jun 2016: The Tesla of Vertical Flight? “Electric propulsion is uniquely suited for fixed-wing vertical flight due to the opposing power requirements for vertical take-off and landing versus cruise flight, while offering the opportunity to enhance cruise efficiency by three- or fourfold.”
  • Mar-Apr 2016: Leveraging Emerging Technologies for Future Capabilites. “The incredible breadth and depth of technical content make the Annual Forum the high point of the technical calendar for those working in vertical flight.”
  • Jan-Feb 2016: Global Change. “Government leaders need to recognize the incredible benefits and capabilities of military and civil rotorcraft with policies that support the growth of the vertical flight industry.” [Industry outlook and leadership]
  • Nov-Dec 2015: Leadership from the Top. “John Garrison made incredible, lasting impacts at Bell, AHS and across the global rotorcraft community.” [Industry leadership and AHS]
  • Sep-Oct 2015: Flying the Crowded Skies. “With UAS usage today appearing to be frightfully like the 'Wild West,' a dramatic change is needed in public awareness and attitudes toward flying unmanned aircraft near areas of operations for fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.” [UAS and regulations]
  • Jul-Aug 2015: The Magic of the Forum. “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.” [AHS Annual Forum]
  • May-Jun 2015: Transforming Through Synergy. “The Society provides a robust infrastructure that plays an essential role in vertical flight by bringing together the most creative minds and visionaries of industry, academia and government with the world’s leading aerospace manufacturers and suppliers.” [Industry outlook and AHS Forum]
  • Mar-Apr 2015: Safety: Broader Technology Adoption Needed. “There is a panoply of existing and proven technologies that can improve safety by reducing accidents. Some of these technologies are being required in new FAA regulations, while others are stymied by old, outdated policies.” [Safety, regulations and technology]
  • Jan-Feb 2015: The Exciting Future of Vertical Flight“Due to AHS International’s lobbying efforts, the US Congress has added $14M in additional funding in Fiscal Year 2015 to strengthen the JMR science and technology efforts. The JMR demonstrations will lead to a decision for the planned Future Vertical Lift (FVL) acquisition program – which itself was born as the result of AHS lobbying efforts in 2008.” [Industry outlook]

Commentaries between 2011-2014 can be found at Past Vertiflite Commentaries.

Updated Oct. 25, 2016