AHS International at Work

US Capitol Building

AHS works to affect change to advance the state-of-the-art of vertical flight technology and create recognition of the benefits of vertical flight. AHS leads advocacy efforts to Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, FAA and the public. We are leading efforts to educate the public and decision makers through our outreach to the media and Members of Congress

We have a proud legacy of work in support of the advancement of rotorcraft. 

For the 2015 Fiscal Year, AHS was successful in getting $14M of additional Congressional funding for Future Vertical Lift (FVL), as well as additional funding for NASA rotorcraft (see press release).

You can get involved, too! Contact your elected representatives and urge them to support research and development of advanced vertical flight technologies. 

Key Advocacy Activities
  • Promoting research and development investments: Investing in future technologies is essential to advancing the state of the art of vertical flight.  
  • Educating future vertical flight leaders: AHS International has a long legacy of promoting education through scholarships, student design competitions, and many other opportunities. 
  • Promoting safety: AHS has led safety efforts that resulted in the formation of the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) in 2006, with the ultimate goal of working towards zero accidents.  
  • Reducing noise and noise complaints: AHS is kicking off a new noise initiative to study helicopter noise generation, reception and perception. 
  • Lifting restrictions on US government employees: Current US government policies unfairly restrict the ability of government engineers and scientists to attend educational technical conferences. AHS has worked with other societies to inform government leaders of the negative impacts. The result was new government guidance highlighting the value of "collaborations in the scientific community."
  • Reforming US export control policy: AHS strongly supports efforts to modernize the US export control policy to facilitate technology trade and cooperation, while keeping advanced technologies out of the hands of its adversaries. 

Vertiflite Commentaries

Mike Hirschberg, AHS International Executive Director
Read Commentary from the AHS Executive Director on critical issues facing industry, academia and government:
  • Nov-Dec 2015: Leadership from the Top. "John Garrison made incredible, lasting impacts at Bell, AHS and across the global rotorcraft community."
  • Sep-Oct 2015: Flying the Crowded Skies. "With UAS usage today appearing to be frightfully like the 'Wild West,' a dramatic change is needed in public awareness and attitudes toward flying unmanned aircraft near areas of operations for fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft."
  • Jul-Aug 2015: The Magic of the Forum. "AHS International is now hard at work planning the next Annual Forum, which we will be held in Florida for the first time ever. This is the first new region in the rotation since Montréal was added in 1999.”
  • May-Jun 2015: Transforming Through Synergy. "The Society provides a robust infrastructure that plays an essential role in vertical flight by bringing together the most creative minds and visionaries of industry, academia and government with the world’s leading aerospace manufacturers and suppliers."
  • Mar-Apr 2015: Safety: Broader Technology Adoption Needed. "There is a panoply of existing and proven technologies that can improve safety by reducing accidents. Some of these technologies are being required in new FAA regulations, while others are stymied by old, outdated policies."
  • Jan-Feb 2015: The Exciting Future of Vertical Flight"Due to AHS International’s lobbying efforts, the US Congress has added $14M in additional funding in Fiscal Year 2015 to strengthen the JMR science and technology efforts. The JMR demonstrations will lead to a decision for the planned Future Vertical Lift (FVL) acquisition program – which itself was born as the result of AHS lobbying efforts in 2008."
  • Nov-Dec 2014: Transforming Vertical Flight Technology"The global helicopter industry is undergoing a significant transformation, as are customer demands and the capabilities offered by cutting-edge technologies."
  • Sep-Oct 2014: Innovation Outpaces Regulation"Government regulators must work collaboratively with industry to help the regulatory environment keep pace with innovation – allowing vertical flight to reach its full potential, while ensuring safe skies around the world."
  • Jul-Aug 2014: 

    Investing in Tomorrow’s Civil Rotorcraft. "If AHS International is successful in convincing Congress to restore NASA’s vertical flight budget, then research into new technologies to meet the forecasted long-term demand for civil rotorcraft will be ongoing worldwide."


  • May-Jun 2014: Celebrating 70 Years of International Cooperation in Vertical Flight Technology. "Just as the international helicopter industry has expanded through 70 years of cross-border cooperation, so too has AHS expanded across the globe.... AHS is intently focused on its role and responsibility as the world’s Vertical Flight Technical Society."
  • Mar-Apr 2014: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times"As 2013 fades behind us and year-end reports remind us of the difficulties that were encountered, it is important to take stock of how vibrant and exciting the future of vertical flight technology is."
  • Jan-Feb 2014: ITEP: The Next Leap in Capability and Affordability"ITEP will provide game-changing performance and efficiency, ensuring that today’s legacy fleet will remain capable until it is replaced by Future Vertical Lift (FVL) in the middle of the century. Furthermore, ITEP may be well positioned to be the propulsion system basis for FVL-Medium and/or FVL-Light."
  • Nov-Dec 2013: Remembering Our History As We Look to the Future"As AHS International celebrates its 70th year of working to advance the state of the art of vertical flight technology, we can look back at an inspiring heritage of accomplishments by industry, academia and government – a proud legacy that we need to preserve and recognize, and build upon for the future of vertical flight."
  • Sep-Oct 2013: Educating the Future"We have a proud legacy of educating and inspiring the next generation of vertical flight engineers and leaders, and we will continue to expand our role in educating the future with your support. Be part of it."
  • Jul-Aug 2013: AHS International is the Forum for Vertical Flight. "Since the American Helicopter Society was founded 70 years ago, the Annual Forum has provided an unequalled opportunity for government, industry and academia to work together to tackle the toughest challenges in vertical flight."
  • May-Jun 2013: U.S. Government Actions: A False Economy in a High-Tech World"The cost [to the government] of conference attendance is fairly low – a few thousand dollars, including travel expenses, and much more cost effective than individual trips to multiple industry and university sites – but the cost of ignorance during a new acquisition program is much higher – measured in billions."
  • Mar-Apr 2013: Advancing Vertical Flight Technology in Demanding Environments. "To learn the latest about vertical flight technology and the current markets and budgets for its application, go to our website,, to register for Forum 69 today. To be prepared for the 'Demanding Environments' of today and tomorrow, you can’t afford to miss it!"
  • Jan-Feb 2013: Invest in the Future"Given the challenges our industry faces, your contribution to the Vertical Flight Foundation is needed now more than ever."
  • Nov-Dec 2012: The Value of Face-to-Face"... the Wakefield Research Fourth Annual Business Travel Survey (2012) noted that 'Travelers estimated that 1 hour of face-to-face contact equaled 5 video conferences, 10 telephone calls, or 20 emails.' Often the unplanned discussions at meetings are much more valuable – for industry, academia and government – than the formal planned presentations."
  • Sept-Oct 2012: Still Need a New Scout. "The time for procurement of a new armed aerial scout is now. With the sundown of all current U.S. military production less than a decade away, there will be significant excess capacity in the industrial base, and a risk that its capabilities will degrade."
  • Jul-Aug 2012: A Civil Discourse on Noise and Safety. "Attempts to legislate solutions to noise and safety concerns are ill conceived and uninformed approaches to satisfy a small, vocal community, and will likely result in more harm than good to the very communities that are complaining." 
  • May-Jun 2012: Unintended Consequences. "The amendments [restricting U.S. government employee travel] as passed have significant unintended consequences that will be detrimental to AHS and the U.S. government."
  • Mar-Apr 2012: U.S. Rotorcraft Research Under Attack. "The impact of these latest reductions in funds to NASA and NRTC, if not reversed, will continue to reverberate in the years and decades to come."
  • Jan-Feb 2012: The Crisis in U.S. Army Aviation. "The V-22 Osprey is the only new combat rotorcraft that DoD has fielded in more than 25 years."
  • Winter 2011: Wanted: Leadership. "The Europeans are showing leadership in their pursuit of next generation rotorcraft technologies. If America is to remain competitive, it must do the same."
  • Fall 2011, September 11th – 10 Years On"The September 11th attacks instigated a decade of unparalleled contributions by rotorcraft to national strategy objectives, but more investments in technology are still needed."

Updated 11/23/15

Contact Liz Malleck
Contact Randy Johnson
Contact the AHS Webmaster
Contact Mike Hirschberg
Contact AHS
Contact the Editor
Contact AHS
Contact the AHS Executive Director
Contact Kay Brackins
Contact Betty Chen
Contact Betty Chen
Contact David Renzi
Contact AHS Exhibits
Contact the AHS Staff
Request Info on Human Powered Helicopter Competition
Contact the AHS Media and Communications Team
Contact the Exhibit Chair
Contact the AHS STEM Team
Contact Valerie Sheehan
Contact Valerie Sheehan
Contact AHS Membership