The Vertical Flight Society — the world’s first and foremost non-profit technical organization dedicated to advancing vertical flight — saw record growth in the number of corporate members again in 2020. As of Jan. 1, 2021, a total of 137 companies are now members of VFS, a net 15% growth over 2020 and a doubling over the past five years. In addition to the traditional core members from the global rotorcraft industry, much of the growth in members is due to the extensive support efforts and resources that VFS provides to the electric/hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) industry.
“Despite the pandemic, or perhaps because of it, companies around the world that are seeking to succeed with eVTOL technologies turn to VFS,” said VFS Executive Director Mike Hirschberg in a Jan. 12 press release. “We have been leading efforts to advance electric vertical flight for the past seven years and have been working tirelessly to expand the eVTOL community.”
Key eVTOL resources included the definitive World eVTOL Aircraft Directory — with more than 400 aircraft listed — on the VFS eVTOL.news website, which also includes 435 eVTOL news stories, including some 200 in-depth articles from the Society’s Vertiflite magazine, the leading periodical on eVTOL and rotorcraft developments.
VFS has been at the forefront of what it calls the “Electric VTOL Revolution” since 2014 when it held the world’s first meeting of the eVTOL development community. This coming week, the Society’s 8th Annual Electric VTOL Symposium — being held online Jan. 26–28 in conjunction with its 9th Biennial Autonomous VTOL Technical Meeting — continues as the world’s largest and longest-running event focusing on the incredible promise, progress and challenges of eVTOL aircraft, with as many as 500 attendees expected.
In 2020, VFS dramatically increased its online educational offerings, holding more than 50 separate webinars and workshops, as well as several major online conferences, and two online short courses. The Society’s Vertical Flight Video Library now features nearly 350 videos, covering hundreds of hours of lectures, meetings and interviews, plus current and historical flight footage.
Last year, VFS also initiated the establishment of the eVTOL Writers Group for aerospace media covering electric VTOL aircraft, helping to educate the press, their readers and the public on the promise, progress and challenges toward seeing ubiquitous eVTOL aircraft operations.
Although VFS individual membership fell in the middle of 2020 due to the pandemic and the economic downturn, membership is growing again, toping 5,800 individual members on Jan. 1, with some 25% residing outside the United States. VFS now has 137 corporate members, with 36% being non-US-owned companies, plus 30 universities who have joined as educational members, with 43% being outside the US.
Compared to five years ago (Jan. 1, 2016), these numbers represent a 16% net increase in individual memberships, and double the number of corporate memberships and educational memberships. Much of this growth in members is due to the extensive support efforts and resources that VFS provides, including technical resources, talent acquisition, educational opportunities and networking.
The 2020 class of new VFS Corporate Members is listed below. Descriptions of each company, including links to websites and contact information, are found in the VFS Corporate Member Directory. Information on the benefits and rates for corporate membership are posted on our Corporate Membership page.
|AeroGear Telemetry Inc.||Associate|
|Alauda Aeronautics Pty Ltd||Small Business|
|Aviation Safety Resources||Small Business|
|Avion Solutions, Inc.||Copper|
|Black & Veatch Corporation||Copper|
|Blue Force Technologies Inc.||Small Business|
|Daedalean AG||Small Business|
|Drennan Innovation||Small Business|
|Dufour Aerospace||Small Business|
|Elbit Systems of America||Copper|
|Electro Magnetic Applications, Inc. EMA||Small Business|
|Elevate Test Solutions, LLC||Associate|
|FAA Software and Systems Branch, Aviation Research Division||Associate|
|Gannett Fleming, Inc.||Small Business|
|Helicopter Association International (HAI)||Associate|
|Hexcel Corporation||Small Business|
|Jump Aero Incorporated||Associate|
|Manta Aircraft SA||Small Business|
|Maxwell Innovations Havacılık Sanayi A.Ş.||Small Business|
|Ohio Federal Research Network (OFRN)||Associate|
|Overair, Inc.||Small Business|
|Siemens Industry Software Inc.||Small Business|
|Urban Air Mobility Division of Hyundai Motor Group||Copper|
|Utah Advanced Materials Manufacturing Institute (UAMMI)||Associate|
|W.L. Gore and Associates||Small Business|
|Wisk Aero LLC||Small Business|
“This past year saw continued growth and progress in eVTOL developments,” Hirschberg said in the press release. “Our members in industry, academia and government agencies around the world have been tackling the toughest challenges in vertical flight, proving out the promise of this new approach to air mobility.”
VFS recognizes the essential role our members play in advancing vertical flight technology. The Society will continue to provide foundational support, including increased online capabilities and networking opportunities in 2021, including in-person events again as soon as possible.
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