The Vertical Flight Society (VFS) has continued to experience record growth this quarter, and 173 companies are now members of VFS as of April 1, 2022, a net growth of 23 organisations (15%) from a year ago and a doubling over the past five years. 

In addition, VFS has announced that Joby Aviation, which was the first electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft company to join in April 2016, has increased its membership level from Small Business Member to a Gold Member, the same level as GE Aviation. 

The Gold Membership Class is second only to that of the five major helicopter manufacturers — Airbus, Bell, Boeing, Leonardo and Sikorsky — which are Platinum Members.

Partly due to Joby’s early leadership and support, VFS was able to expand its mission over the past several years from conventional helicopters and advanced rotorcraft to electric flight aircraft. 

VFS recently expanded its support to all electric airplanes that use Part 23/CS-23 certification standards, for fixed-wing electric-powered conventional takeoff and landing (eCTOL) and short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft.

“All segments of AAM are now introducing technologies pioneered by eVTOL aircraft developers,” said Mike Hirschberg, VFS Executive Director. 

“For example, cross pollination is especially important when it comes to certifying these advanced aircraft and developing new infrastructure that can be shared by more than one type of aircraft.”

On March 29-31, 2022, VFS held the first H2-Aero Symposium & Workshop conference in North America on hydrogen for aviation, which covered applications from automotive and space vehicles, to eVTOL, eSTOL and eCTOL aircraft.

It featured three dozen speakers, with 100 in-person attendees and another 36 online. VFS now has two working groups on the application of hydrogen fuel cell technology for electric airplanes, helicopters and eVTOL aircraft, and the necessary infrastructure requirements.

This event followed closely on the Society’s 9th Annual Electric VTOL Symposium in January 2022 with more than 600 attendees participating, the world’s largest and longest-running conference focusing on the progress and challenges of eVTOL aircraft.

The weekend prior to the EAA AirVenture airshow, VFS will host the 16th annual Electric Aircraft Symposium in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on July 23-24, the world’s longest-running conference covering all aspects of electric flight. 

Last month, VFS announced the individual recipients of its 2022 Awards programme, which pays tribute to the outstanding leaders of vertical flight and has served as a catalyst for stimulating technological advances.