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VFS Members and Staff Participate in US Government Summits
  • 29 Aug 2022 04:02 PM
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VFS Members and Staff Participate in US Government Summits

Society’s influence recognized by key officials in advancing vertical flight.

By Vertical Flight Society Staff

White House Summit on AAM

The first White House Summit on Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) was held on Aug. 3. VFS was invited to participate, along with 64 individuals representing other key stakeholders across the industry. VFS Director of Strategic Development Jim Sherman represented the VFS headquarters staff, while VFS corporate members JoeBen Bevirt of Joby and Kyle Clark of BETA Technologies — the CEOs of leading electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft companies — appeared on panels on the public benefits of AAM and promoting American leadership and competitiveness, respectively.

AAM Summit- Whitehouse
Some of the attendees of the White House AAM Summit.
(OSTP photo)

Held at the White House’s Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the Summit was organized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The event was kicked off by two Deputy Assistant to President Biden: Alexander Macgillivray, the Principal Deputy US Chief Technology Officer, and Dr. Alondra Nelson, Performing the Duties of the OSTP Director.

Among the keynote presentations were NASA Administrator Senator Bill Nelson on “NASA’s Commitment to Advanced Air Mobility” and Acting Administrator of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Billy Nolen on “National Airspace Integration for UAS/AAM.”

There were three breakout sessions in the morning. VFS Honorary Fellow Nick Lappos of Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, led the discussion on “US Transportation in 2050,” while the FAA’s Jay Merkle led the discussion on public acceptance and Stanford University’s Dr. Mykel Kochenderfer led the discussion comparing the US and European Union efforts in AAM.

While eVTOL developments are the most important and most interesting aspect of AAM to the Vertical Flight Society, an unexpectedly large percentage of the “White House Summit on AAM” dealt only or primarily with uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS) — including a session on counter-UAS. Nonetheless, the event was the first of its kind.  Hopefully future “AAM” events will include more vertical flight AAM applications.

Following the summit, a reception was held at the nearby Hogan Lovells law firm, where over 300 industry members were present.

NREL Partner Forum

On Aug. 9–10, the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) held its annual Partner Forum near the lab in Golden, Colorado. NREL invited VFS to participate in the forum, which focused on sustainable aviation research for the first time. VFS headquarters was again represented by Jim Sherman.

The Partner Forum hosted 275 attendees — including over 100 from NREL itself — from across the aviation industry, including many executives representing VFS corporate members. Joby’s JoeBen Bevirt participated on a panel on Next-Generation Fuels alongside Amanda Simpson, VP for Research and Technology at Airbus Americas. Many other prominent VFS members were invited to participate, including Jesse Schneider, CEO of ZEV Station and Chair of the VFS H2-Aero Team; NREL itself is also a VFS corporate member.

The Partners Forum was held so that “NREL leaders and researchers [can]  come together with valued partners and industry experts across public and private sectors to address major decarbonization challenges and opportunities facing the aviation industry.” Critical research topics include sustainable aviation fuels; next-generation fuels such as hydrogen, electricity, and e-fuels; and decarbonization of airports, vertiports, and military bases. NREL published a report, “A Roadmap Toward a Sustainable Aviation Ecosystem,” in August, in conjunction with the Partners Forum. 

The program included several tours of the NREL facilities, and a reception at The Pines at Genesee.


Photo caption: OSTP is in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building behind the White House. (Lea Shanley, CC-BY-SA-3.0)

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