The Vertical Flight Society (VFS) has announced three competitively selected engineering students at US minority-serving institutions for its inaugural 2022 DiversiFlite Scholars programme. 

The programme selected the following engineering students for an all-expenses-paid trip to the VFS’ annual Forum, which is the largest and longest-running VTOL technical event in the world. It consists of 225 technical papers from over 30 invited presentations by leaders in industry, academia and government, and nearly 80 exhibitors. 

The winners of the first DiversiFlite Scholars programme are:

  1. Damian Clogher, an aerospace engineering student at the University of California, Irvine, an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution and a Hispanic-Serving Institution (AANAPISI), who founded The Futurist Society in 2020 to hold weekly meetings discussing topics from urban air mobility to space travel. 
  2. Andre Davis, a mechanical engineering student at Howard University in Washington DC, one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, with a keen interest in robotics, building VTOL drones and steampunk-inspired contraptions. 
  3. Patricia Paje, an aerospace engineering student at the University of California, Davis AANAPISI, who recently participated in an internship with eVTOL aircraft pioneer Wisk Aero in Mountain View, California.

VFS will also provide each scholar with a guide and mentor for the event, special small-group meetings with aerospace industry leaders, and the opportunity to make new contacts within the vertical flight technical community.

VFS has estimated that the workforce will need an additional 10,000 engineers over-and-above the current talent pipeline to meet the requirements of advanced rotorcraft and AAM development plans.

The DiversiFlite initiative will help the vertical flight community foster a more inclusive environment through inclusion, diversity and equity, with considerations for both the workforce and customers.

Founded as the American Helicopter Society in 1943, VFS is an educational, charitable non-profit society for engineers, scientists and others working on vertical flight technology

For nearly 80 years, the Society has been the global leader for technical, educational, safety, advocacy and other important initiatives, bringing together industry, academia and government bodies around the world to tackle the toughest challenges in vertical flight.

Earlier this month, VFS continued to experience record growth to 173 members, a net growth of 23 organisations, or 15 per cent from a year ago, and a doubling over the past five years.