70th annual AHS forum sets new records
May 29, 2014, Montreal - AHS International – The Vertical Flight Technical Society – has concluded a very successful 70th Annual Forum and Technology Display in Montreal. The AHS Annual Forum is the world’s oldest and largest technology conference, with a unique program of technical presentations, innovative discussions, exhibits and awards presentations.
By Carey Fredericks
This year’s Forum included a record-setting number of technical papers – 260 – with the total number of presentations close to 300. “The First Annual Forum was held in Philadelphia on April 3, 1945. Over the past 70 years, the Forum has expanded to three days of technical papers and presentations, plus a full day of educational activities, resulting in 6,000 papers just from the Forum alone,” said AHS International Executive Director Mike Hirschberg. “We have created an incredible body of knowledge that we are now proud to have available online.”
Held at the Palais des congrès de Montréal May 20-22 with the theme, “Celebrating International Cooperation in Vertical Flight Technology,” the Forum also saw a much greater number of international participants, with nearly 50% of attendees from outside the United States (including 30% from Canada). This was the fourth time the Annual Forum has been held in Montréal in the past 15 years, leveraging the high tech aerospace companies in the area.
“For 70 years, the Annual Forum has provided an unequalled opportunity for representatives from different government, industry and academic organizations from around the world to work together to tackle the toughest challenges in vertical flight,” said Mr. Hirschberg. “We look forward to doing so again at our 71st Annual Forum next May in Virginia Beach.”
Forum 70 drew more than 1,150 registrants from 21 countries, as well as cutting edge exhibits from 67 exhibitors as part of the Technology Display.
This year’s event included the panel discussions among CEOs and senior executives of leading rotorcraft manufacturers and suppliers, and briefings from U.S. and Canadian government vertical flight leaders. This year’s CEO Panel included top executives from AgustaWestland, Airbus Helicopters, Bell Helicopter, The Boeing Company, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, and Sikorsky Aircraft – half of the panelists came from outside of North America.
The lead-up to Forum 70 included several educational events on May 19. Short courses were held on rotorcraft technology, and understanding the aerodynamics of helicopter accidents. Participants also had the opportunity to tour the state-of-the-art facilities of nearby CAE and Bell Helicopter Canada. In addition, more than $6,000 in prizes was awarded in the 2nd Annual Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) Student Challenge, which pitted student-researcher teams in an extremely challenging fly-off. The University of Maryland Dolphin team was the sole winner of the manually/remotely-executed challenge and received a $2,500 prize. An honourable mention award of $625 went to North Dakota State University for partial completion in the Manual category. Unfortunately, no team was successful in the Autonomous category. Honourable mention awards of $2,000 went to Penn State University and $1,000 to Georgia Tech for partial completion of requirements in the Autonomous category. This was an extremely challenging competition created specifically to encourage hands-on engineering and problem solving, as well as introducing students to the development of autonomous flight control for vertical flight systems. The Society seeks to develop the skills for the next generation of vertical flight engineers, scientists and leaders.
At the 70th Annual Grand Awards Banquet on May 21, AHS International honoured vertical flight leaders, presenting 22 awards, plus seven honorary and technical fellowships for technological and industry advancements. Pilots and crews representing helicopter and tilt rotor rescues in India, Ireland and the Philippines were honoured for their incredible skills and bravery. The Indian High Commissioner to Canada attended from Ottawa, honouring the civil and military helicopter crews who airlifted more than 20,000 people and delivered over 500 tons of aid after horrific flooding in the Himalayas last summer. In addition, $45,000 in scholarships was presented to 19 of the world’s most talented and deserving engineering students as part of this year’s Vertical Flight Foundation (VFF) scholarship program. Details on the Society’s award winners and scholarship recipients are available at www.vtol.org/press-releases. Go to www.vtol.org/news/forum-70 for Forum 70 photos.
AHS International’s 71st Annual Forum and Technology Display will be held May 5-7, 2014 at the Virginia Beach Convention Centre, Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA. Details will be made available at www.vtol.org/forum.