The Vertical Flight Society (VFS) continues to experience record growth, with 10 new members joining over the past six months as eVTOL and advanced air mobility aircraft developments continue to make progress around the world.

As of October 1st, a total of 160 companies and other organisations are now corporate members, representing a 60 per cent increase since January 2018. The society now has more than 6,300 individual members.

The companies which joined VFS since April 1st include Analyswift, Archer, Eagle Aviation Technologies, Electric Power Systems, Elroy Air, Helo Holdings, Hydroplane, Le-Vanta Tech, LogistiWerx, Plug Power, Sentient Science, Tier 1 Engineering, UP.Partners, Woolpert and Yamato Holdings.

Mike Hirschberg, Vertical Flight Society’s Executive Director, said: “The Vertical Flight Society has been leading efforts to advance electric VTOL since 2014 and has helped create the growing technical community across the eVTOL ecosystem.

“As interest in eVTOL / AAM has exploded around the world and attracted nearly $10 billion in investments, VFS has helped build a community for this burgeoning segment, working together to realise the transformative potential of what we see as an ‘Electric VTOL Revolution.’”

Historically, the vertical flight industry was dominated by helicopter manufacturers and their suppliers, but an entirely new sector has emerged in the past several years, led by companies developing eVTOL aircraft to serve potential new markets, such as urban air taxis, air ambulance services, logistics, cargo, organ transport, and other civil and military missions. 

The next major gathering of the rapidly growing eVTOL community will be from January 25th to 27th, 2022, in San Jose, California, when VFS hosts the 9th Annual Electric VTOL Symposium — the world’s largest and longest-running event focusing on the incredible promise, progress and challenges of eVTOL aircraft. This event is part of the society’s Transformative Vertical Flight 2022 meeting.

This event also features the semi-annual Electric VTOL Short Course on January 24th, and a special event at the Hiller Aviation Museum on January 28th that will feature an outdoor exhibit of cutting-edge eVTOL aircraft at the adjacent San Carlos Airport.

In addition, VFS continues to lead efforts to advance the capabilities of helicopters and advanced rotorcraft. The Society is hosting its latest Rotorcraft Structures and Survivability Technical Meeting from October 27th to 28th 2021, at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton, Virginia.

The theme for the two-day conference is “Innovative Structures and Survivability Solutions for Vertical Lift.” The meeting will highlight research and development, both current and planned, related to manned and unmanned rotorcraft structures, crash safety and vulnerability reduction.

VFS is also supporting the EUROPEAN ROTORS — VTOL Show & Safety Conference from November 16th to 18th, 2021, in Cologne, Germany. It’s organised by the European Helicopter Association (EHA) in cooperation with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The society is hosting four sessions at the event, covering vertical flight research, helicopter safety, advanced rotorcraft technology and AAM developments.

Hirschberg added: “These past few years have seen amazing progress in vertical flight. Our members in industry, academia and government agencies around the world are working to advance rotorcraft and eVTOL aircraft, solving key challenges to produce more capable, safer, quieter and more economical aircraft for civil and military applications.”

VFS was founded as the American Helicopter Society in 1943 by the visionaries of the early helicopter industry, who believed that technological cooperation and collaboration were essential to support this new type of aircraft. Today, it is playing a similar role helping to advance today’s revolutionary vertical flight aircraft.