The Vertical Flight Society continues to record continued growth, with 15 companies joining as members in the first quarter of 2021, bringing the total number to 150.

This growth – propelled largely by the expansion of eVTOL aircraft developments around the world – also represents a 50 per cent increase since January 2018, when the VFS surpassed 100 members, and a 100 per cent increase over the past five years. 

New companies joining the Vertical Flight Society as an Associate class are BAAZ GmbH, Cypress International, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Olsen Actuators, SkyDrive and SMG Consulting.

The remaining new members, which have joined as Small Business class, are Caldwell Intellectual Property Law, Crown Consulting, ENSCO Avionics, Garudeus Aviation, Intelligent Energy, Intellisense Systems, LaunchPoint Electric Propulsion System, PteroDynamics, Real-Time Innovations and Urbineer.

Mike Hirschberg, VFS Executive Director, said: “Despite the pandemic, interest and investment in the eVTOL industry has accelerated, representing one of the few bright spots in what has been a very challenging time for most of the civil aviation industry. VFS has been leading efforts to advance electric vertical flight for the past seven years and has helped create the large technical community across the eVTOL ecosystem.”

Corporate Members
Growth in VFS corporate members over the past decade, despite the 2014 defense cuts. Credit: Vertical Flight Society.

In addition, the Vertical Flight Society has now reached 6,100 individual members as of April 1st, 2021. This represents a full recovery from a loss of 400 members at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and is the highest number of (current) members ever. Compared to three years ago, this is a 15 per cent net increase in individual members since January 2018, when VFS had 5,300 members.

This growth in members is the result of the extensive support that VFS provides to the entire vertical flight industry, including technical resources, talent acquisition, educational opportunities and networking. 

In addition to the traditional core members from the global rotorcraft industry, the majority of the growth in members is due to the proactive support efforts and resources that VFS has provided to the eVTOL industry, which is now receiving billions of dollars of investment. Substantial investments in next generation military and civil advanced rotorcraft have also intensified an industry-wide demand for top talent and training.

Key eVTOL resources include the definitive World eVTOL Aircraft Directory — with 435 aircraft currently listed — on the VFS eVTOL.news website, which also includes 470 eVTOL news stories, including 240 in-depth articles from the Society’s Vertiflite magazine, the leading periodical on eVTOL and rotorcraft developments.

VFS has been at the forefront of what it calls the “Electric VTOL Revolution” since 2014 when it held the world’s first meeting of the eVTOL development community. This year’s 8th Annual Electric VTOL Symposium — the world’s largest and longest-running event focusing on the incredible promise, progress and challenges of eVTOL aircraft — was held successfully, with 100 speakers and 600 attendees. 

Last year, at the beginning of the global pandemic, VFS dramatically increased its online educational offerings. Since then, it has held more than 60 separate webinars and workshops, as well as several major online conferences, and three online short courses.

The Society’s Vertical Flight Video Library now features some 375 videos, covering hundreds of hours of lectures, meetings and interviews, plus current and historical flight footage.

Hirschberg added: “These past 12 months have seen amazing progress in eVTOL developments. Our members in industry, academia and government agencies around the world have been tackling the toughest challenges in vertical flight, proving out the promise of this new approach to air mobility.”

VFS continues to provide foundational support, including increased online capabilities and networking opportunities in 2021, including in-person events again as soon as possible. Several important virtual and in-person events are planned in the coming months at www.vtol.org/events 

Descriptions of each company, including links to websites and contact information, are found in the VFS Corporate Member Directory. For more information on the benefits and rates for corporate membership, visit its Corporate Membership page.