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Virtual Meetings Continue to Provide Timely Information
  • 08 Mar 2021 09:09 AM
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Virtual Meetings Continue to Provide Timely Information

By Jim Sherman, VFS Director of Strategic Development
Vertiflite, March/April 2021

VFS picks up where 2020 left off with technical webinars, interviews and virtual chapter meetings.

As we turned the calendar over to 2021, VFS continued to provide webinars on relevant vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and electric VTOL (eVTOL) developments to keep members learning and engaged. Links to past and future webinars are available at www.vtol.org/webinars.

Austin Meyers demonstrates how X-Plane can model the performance for eVTOL aircraft like the Beta Technologies Alia (shown here).

VFS Technical Program: How X-Plane Can Be Used for eVTOL Flight 
On Jan. 19, the eVTOL Flight Test Council — a joint effort led by VFS with the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the Society of Flight Test Engineers (SFTE) and the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) — held a webinar with Austin Meyer, the developer of the X-Plane flight simulation tool. The webinar demonstrated the aspects of the X-Plane simulation that can provide insights into vehicle performance prior to actual test flights. Meyer has added some specific features into X-Plane to enable VTOL and eVTOL designs.

St. Louis Chapter
The VFS St. Louis Chapter co-sponsored a virtual meeting with AIAA on Jan. 19. The meeting featured 2004 VFS Paul Haueter Award winner, Paul Bevilaqua. He gave his AIAA Distinguished Lecture, “Creating the Joint Strike Fighter.” (Unfortunately, AIAA did not record the meeting.)

Federal City Chapter 
The VFS Federal City Chapter held its first virtual quarterly meeting on Feb. 4. University of Maryland PhD student James Sutherland presented his team’s winning 2020 Student Design Competition design, Elico (see www.vtol.org/SDC). Sutherland noted that this year’s competition, which designed aircraft based on Leonardo da Vinci’s aerial screw concept, was a great learning experience because it required such a rethinking of basic assumptions in VTOL aircraft design. 

James Sutherland of University of Maryland gave the student presentation at the Federal City Chapter’s February meeting.

Sutherland’s talk was followed by a US military panel entitled “Service Vertical Lift Modernization Efforts.” It featured representatives from each of the five services: Col. Lance Van Zandt, US Army (Department of the Army Headquarters, G8, Army Aviation); Capt. Brian “Ghost” Binder, US Navy (Branch Head, Rotary Aircraft, OPNAV N98); Maj. James Berninghausen, US Air Force (Deputy Division Chief, Rotary Wing, SAF/AQQU); Col. Chris Boniface, US Marine Corps, (Aviation Programs & Weapons Systems/Assault Support, HQMC Aviation); Capt. Frederick “Carl” Riedlin, US Coast Guard (Chief of Aviation Forces, CG-711). There were several revealing insights provided, including discussion on what was dubbed “V-22 Next” (see “US Military Rotorcraft Programs: Across Multiple Domains,” pg. 14).

Volocopter Webinar 2021
Volocopter’s CEO and CTO presented recent progress towards certification of their VoloCity eVTOL.

eVTOL Writers Group Interview: Volocopter 
On Feb. 10, VFS organized a group interview with Volocopter’s CEO Florian Reuter and Head of Certification & Quality, Oliver Reinhardt. Reuter provided an overview of various studies that Volocopter has performed, including market segmentations, demand models and integrating operations. Reinhardt presented the path to certification for the company’s first commercial product, the VoloCity (see “Electric Vertical HEMS: A New Era in Air Ambulance?” pg. 44). The discussion included some insightful discussions about public perception of noise and noise acceptance. Reuter and Reinhardt also answered a number of questions from the trade journalists and the attendees.

VFS has all of our 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.org/VTOLsociety.


More Online Opportunities

James Wang - Short course 2021
Dr. James Wang presented the first intermediate-level eVTOL design short course.

VFS has also had several non-public events already this year. In addition to the 9th Biennial Autonomous VTOL Technical Meeting and 8th Annual Electric VTOL Symposium held Jan. 26–28 (see “Autonomous & Electric VTOL Meeting Sets New Record,” pg. 74), VFS held another short course and started another council. 

Intermediate Electric VTOL Design Short Course 
On Feb. 9–10, VFS member Dr. James Wang taught an intermediate-level course targeted at engineers interested in gaining a deeper understanding for designing VTOL vehicles with electric propulsion. It covered topics such as battery and energy sources, electric motors and hybrid propulsion, weight calculation, rotor design, stability and control, performance analysis, electric VTOL aircraft design, and cost estimation. Over 60 students attended the course and provided Prof. Wang with a vigorous discussion. The course recording is available to rent as video-on-demand via www.vtol.org/videos

VFS Starts eVTOL Hydrogen Council
Building on the success of the eVTOL Flight Test Council, VFS held its first meeting of the Hydrogen eVTOL Council on Jan. 14, led by VFS members Michael Dyment of NEXA Capital and Danielle McLean of Happy Takeoff. During the first meeting, the committee charter was presented and modifications proposed. The featured guest speaker was Charlie Myers, President of the Massachusetts Hydrogen Coalition. Meetings are held on the third Monday of each month. The Feb. 15 meeting is planned with Paul Eremenko (CEO) and John-Paul Clarke (CTO) of Universal Hydrogen (see “Catching Up on the State of eCTOL Aircraft,” Vertiflite, Nov/Dec 2020). Members interested in participating on the H2 eVTOL Council should contact Jim Sherman at jsheman@vtol.org.

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