January 18, 2018 — Over a two day period, over two hundred fifty of the world’s leading vertical flight engineers, scientists, and innovators gathered in San Francisco, California for AHS International’s 5th Annual Transformative Vertical Flight Workshop. Of the event’s highlights, the promise and progress of the potential of electric and hybrid-electric powered vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft was a very hot topic of the show.
While helicopters have dominated vertical flight since the early 40’s, recent advances in electric motors, battery technology, and now autonomous systems are enabling the development of an entirely new platform of aircraft.
“We are at the beginning of an exciting new era in vertical flight innovation and most of the pioneers of this new era are attending or speaking at our workshop,” says Mike Hirschberg, Executive Director of AHS International — The Vertical Flight Technical Society. “Harnessing electric power transmission instead of mechanical drive systems enables the transformative design freedoms of distributed electric propulsion and other innovative approaches.”
Conference sponsors Uber, Aurora Flight Sciences, Bell Helicopter and Piasecki Aircraft — as well as many other AHS corporate members — are developing eVTOL solutions for urban air mobility operations.
AHS International is tracking more than 50 different eVTOL aircraft development efforts on its www.eVTOL.news website, including four eVTOL concepts displayed for the first time this month at the Consumer Electronics Show (Bell, Volocopter, and Workhorse) in Las Vegas and the North American International Auto Show in Detroit (AirspaceX MOBi-ONE).
Since 2014, AHS International has been leading a series of transformative vertical flight workshops with support from NASA. This has helped build a community of aerospace professionals that includes technical, regulatory and business elements, and has been exploring the potential for new forms of air transportation systems with innovative propulsion systems. The focus has been on systems that embody combinations of on-demand, electric and hybrid-electric propulsion, and vertiport-capable configurations and designs. Next year’s event is planned for January 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona.