Advanced Vertical Flight Technical Committee Highlights
By Carl Russell
VFS AVF TC Chair
We have restarted our regular series highlighting the activities of our 22 technical committees. Interested in joining or finding out more? Go to www.vtol.org/tech-committees.
The 2020 International Powered Lift Conference (IPLC) was held in January as part of the Transformative Vertical Flight 2020 Conference. This biennial conference rotates between the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the Royal Aeronautical Society, SAE International and VFS. In 2020, it was time for VFS to host, and the expanded TVF 2020 conference that took place in January provided a great opportunity to add IPLC as one of the featured events.
The VFS Advanced Vertical Flight Technical Committee took a leading role in organizing this year’s IPLC, with Dr. Michael Yu of Continuum Dynamics serving as the 2020 IPLC Technical Chair. Sessions were hosted by members of the Advanced Vertical Flight Technical Committee. The technical papers in the IPLC sessions reflected a changing focus in powered lift. While IPLC was originally focused on turbine powered aircraft like the V-22 Osprey, AV-8 Harrier and the F-35B Lightning II, the current focus is on electric and hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft using unconventional propulsion.
IPLC 2020 included four sessions, with a total of 13 papers. The first session, chaired by Dr. Naipei (Peter) Bi of Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division, focused on design considerations for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) systems, ranging from handling qualities to operational considerations for UAM vehicle networks.
Session two, hosted by Prof. Jayant Sirohi of the University of Texas at Austin, included papers on the performance of eVTOL aircraft. Specifically, these technical papers covered computational prediction methods. As the aircraft architectures move towards multi-rotor electric or hybrid-electric configurations, predictive tools must necessarily evolve.
The third session, hosted by Michael Strauss of Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, included three papers on eVTOL propulsion systems. With a departure from the conventional turbine-powered systems traditionally used for VTOL aircraft, this is a very active area of research, as government, propulsion safe, efficient and reliable.
The final session of the IPLC was hosted jointly with the Aeromechanics for Advanced Vertical Flight Technical Meeting, with a focus on eVTOL propulsion and acoustics. Andrew Kreshock, US Army Research Laboratory (ARL), hosted the propulsion portion, while Dr. Doug Boyd, NASA Langley Research Center, hosted the acoustics portion.
The breadth of topics covered by IPLC 2020 is indicative of the numerous active areas of research that will enable future advanced vertical flight vehicles. Indeed, the AVF Technical Committee is looking forward to hosting sessions at the VFS 76th Annual Forum in Montreal in May that cover a similarly wide range of exciting topics.
Joby’s Paines Receives AIAA V/STOL Award
IPLC rotates next to AIAA. The AIAA Vertical and/or Short Takeoff and Landing (V/STOL) Aircraft Systems Technical Committee is planning to hold IPLC at the AIAA Aviation Forum in June 2021 or 2022. At each IPLC, the V/STOL TC presents its prestigious F. E. Newbold V/STOL Award “to recognize outstanding creative contributions to the advancement and realization of powered lift flight.”
This year, the award was presented to Justin D. Paines, “For his leading role in the development of the revolutionary STOVL Flight Control System for the Joint Strike Fighter.” Paines, now the chief test pilot at Joby Aviation, has been a frequent speaker at VFS and other events, explaining how the unified flight control system that he successfully advocated for the F-35B is also the right solution for eVTOL aircraft.
The award was presented to Paines by the AIAA V/STOL TC Chair, Dr. Geoffrey Jeram, an Army research engineer at Ft. Eustis, Virginia, at the TVF 2020 banquet. The banquet featured JoeBen Bevirt, the CEO and founder of Joby Aviation, as the keynote speaker.
Top photo: Justin Paines receives the AIAA Newbold Award at TVF 2020. L-R: Jeram, Paines, Bevirt and VFS Executive Director, Mike Hirschberg. (VFS photo by Warren Liebmann)