Virtual Meetings — Continuing to Serve
By Jim Sherman, VFS Director of Strategic Development
Vertiflite, Sept-Oct 2021
As we journey through the second year of precautionary measures related to COVID-19, the Vertical Flight Society continues to provide webinars on relevant vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and electric VTOL (eVTOL) developments to keep members learning and actively engaged. Links to past and future webinars are available at www.vtol.org/webinars.
VFS Short Course: Electric VTOL Technology
VFS’s signature eVTOL class was held on June 14–15, and led by Dr. Anubhav Datta, University of Maryland. The course was expanded to two days, with in-depth coverage of industry-standard battery systems development (BAE Systems); advanced, high-power, hybrid-electric hardware (LaunchPoint); PEM fuel cells and hydrogen propulsion; and, as always, the fundamentals of vertical lift and rotor aeromechanics from design to state-of-the-art acoustics (Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center, University of Maryland). The course was organized by the VFS Electric VTOL Technical Committee in conjunction with Forum 77 and provided an overview of the unique challenges and opportunities of this new class of vehicles. This course is available as video-on-demand at www.vimeo.com/vtolsociety/vod_pages for $325.
VFS Arizona, Philadelphia and Redstone Chapters: NASA Aeronautics Contributions to the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter
Susan Gorton from the NASA Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology (RVLT) Project provided a presentation focused on the NASA aeronautics contributions to the Mars Helicopter Ingenuity design and developmental testing on June 17. The overview included a look at the evolution of the design and testing methods from 2014–2018 and included discussion of Ingenuity’s historic flights on Mars.
VFS Short Course: Introduction to Practical VTOL Aircraft Cost Estimating
The second Forum 77 short course premiered on June 22–23. This course explained terminology in government and industry standard accounting systems to decipher the language of affordability like an expert analyst. The course provided insights and tools to predict the clean-sheet design costs of new designs and systems like high-speed rotorcraft, eVTOL aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The course also reviewed the basics of how to gather historical data and construct a new cost model. Most importantly, this course covered how to generate and interpret reasonable cost estimates using these models, and demonstrated, through examples, how they have been used (and misused) in past aircraft programs, too. This course is available for rent at www.vimeo.com/vtolsociety/vod_pages for $325.
FAA and VFS: Vision Systems Summit
VFS supported the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) William J. Hughes Technical Center with a half-day workshop entitled, “Sightlines: The Emerging Role of Advanced Vision Systems for Vertical Flight.” Advancements in vision system technologies offer the potential to “see” clearly in degraded visual environments (DVE), such as those often experienced by rotorcraft. On June 25, VFS and the FAA presented the first in a series of initiatives focused on exploring the viability and utility of advanced vision systems technologies for vertical flight. Although enhanced flight vision systems (EFVS) have been in existence for some time and are used by multiple fixed-wing and rotorcraft operators, corresponding guidance and authorizations do not currently exist for rotorcraft for using EFVS on straight-in instrument approach procedures to runways, while existing regulations do not support other types of rotorcraft operations (i.e. point-in-space, offshore, etc.).
To address this gap, the Vision Systems Summit developed a framework to enable the use of vision systems technologies for enhancing safety and possible operational credit by understanding the particular sensor and display technologies, identifying specific operational profiles, and discussing regulatory considerations associated with these technologies, across all stakeholders. This summit was presented in partnership with the US Helicopter Safety Team (USHST), EUROCAE/RTCA WG-79/SC-213, the Helicopter Association International (HAI), the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), and other safety teams, government and industry organizations representing the vertical flight community.
East New England Chapter: Beta Technologies’ Herman Wiegman
On June 28, Herman Wiegman of Beta Technologies highlighted the progress of the Beta Alia eVTOL. He covered the progress and growth of the four-year-old company, the technical objectives and potential missions of the Alia 250, as well as customer validation, infrastructure, the nationwide charging network, training and simulation, the flight test program, certification, energy storage, certification and performance.
VFS/SFTE/SETP/AIAA Electric VTOL Flight Test Council: eVTOL Certification 101
On June 29, the FAA’s David Webber looked at the existing framework provided by the FAA’s Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and its implications on “Flight Test” Subpart B (Performance and Flight/Ground Characteristics) and Human Factors certification of aircraft. The webinar delved into the intent built into the existing framework and focused on the application of this framework to the emerging eVTOL operational use cases.
eVTOL Financing 101: Raising $tartup Capital – Lesson 4
On July 1, VFS completed its series of four webinars dedicated to educating our members on the complexities of the capital markets, from seed investments to initial public offering (IPO) and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs). This fourth lecture featured experts Max Frischman of Eagle Point Funding and Phoenicia Miracle of Miracle Strategies talking about non-dilutive funding opportunities, such as grants, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), other forms of government funding and gifts. With moderator Danielle McLean of Happy Takeoff, experts for this session represented the do-it-yourself (DIY) approach, a fee-based consultancy, and an experienced gift-based fundraiser.
eVTOL Writers Group Interview: CAE
On July 7, CAE formally introduced their industry report, “An Innovative & Data-Driven Approach to Building the Aviation Workforce of Tomorrow in Advanced Air Mobility.” Humanity is on the cusp of a new era of aviation and with it comes a huge demand for uniquely trained professional pilots to safely fly passengers and cargo at scale across global markets. While most attention in the field of advanced air mobility (AAM) has been focused on advances in electric propulsion, novel aircraft design and infrastructure, a void exists in the narrative on pilot training. This interview covered a wide range of topics from challenges in developing a training program for eVTOL aircraft, the relevance of training to type certification, and insights into the optimal training structure and regulatory pathways required to make this vision of tomorrow’s pilots a reality. It also expanded on new and innovative training technologies and methodologies that will shift the training paradigm towards affordability and scalability while keeping safety paramount for the unique challenges of AAM.
VFS has all of our available past video recordings linked on the VFS Video Library page: www.vtol.org/videos. Those available to the public are also available on the VFS YouTube channel: www.YouTube.com/VTOLsociety.