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GoFly Prize

Design and build a safe, quiet, ultra-compact, near-VTOL personal flying device capable of flying 20 miles while carrying a single person. Read Overview...
$2,000,000

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Overview

VISION

Remember when you were a child and wanted to fly?

We are going to make that dream a reality. We challenge you to make people to fly.

The GoFly Prize is a $2,000,000 challenge to create a personal flying device that is safe, useful, and thrilling.

The goal of the GoFly Prize is to foster the development of safe, quiet, ultra-compact, near-VTOL personal flying devices capable of flying twenty miles while carrying a single person.

What we are seeking is an “everyone” personal flying device, capable of being flown by ANYONE, ANYWHERE. It should be a device for ALL: young and old, city-dweller and country-dweller, expert and novice.

Now is the time. Recent advances in propulsion, energy, light-weight materials, and control and stability systems have combined to produce a moment of achievable innovation. What can be accomplished today could not have been attained even a few years ago. Technological and scientific advances have resulted in a time when our most audacious dream—the dream of pure human flight—is now achievable.

GoFly is about flying people, not flying taxis. Today we look to the sky and say “that plane is flying.” We challenge you to create a device where we look to the sky and say, “that person is flying.” The device is for a single person, but what it looks like or how it works is up to you. We welcome revolutionary design, and while all devices must be able to fly a person, you have the option to use a mannequin to simulate the user and can operate the device as a remotely piloted or autonomous UAV. The device should function safely in both crowded cities and rural areas; it should be lightweight and maneuverable enough so that anyone can move it around, and it should be quiet not only for the user, but also for the general public. We are propulsion agnostic, but like all great inventions, the device should be user-friendly--almost an extension of the user’s body, and provide the thrill of flight.

The GoFly Prize is designed to capture our imagination. Indeed, throughout human history, perhaps no dream has been more shared than that of soaring in the skies. It has been pursued by the greatest minds from every corner of the world. It captivated the thoughts of Leonardo Da Vinci, culminating in his ornithopter.  It consumed the thoughts of Wendell Moore and his Bell Labs team, resulting in the first “jet pack.” It charmed an entire generation of children as they followed the chronicles of Superman.

Our goal is the same as Da Vinci’s and children of wonder throughout the ages: Make people fly – safely and effortlessly.

Ready… set… GoFly.

 

PRIZE PURSE

The GoFly Prize Competition will award $2,000,000 in prizes over three phases, culminating in a Final Fly Off in the Autumn of 2019.

Prizes will be awarded for each phase of the Competition as follows:

Phase I                   

  • Up to ten $20,000 prizes awarded based on a written report.

Phase II                  

  • Up to four $50,000 prizes awarded based on revised Phase I material (or for new teams new Phase I material) and demonstrated performance of progress to date.

Phase III                    

  • One $1,000,000 Grand Prize awarded for the best overall fly-off score.
  • One $250,000 prize for the quietest compliant entry.
  • One $250,000 prize for the smallest compliant entry.
  • One $100,000 prize awarded for disruptive advancement of the state of the art.

 

A complete set of Technical Rules can be found here

 

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

Teams will keep all of their intellectual property, except that teams will grant limited media rights to GoFly so that GoFly can publicize and promote the Competition and the teams.  The details of this media rights agreement are in the Phase I Competition Agreement.  Other than these media rights, any rights a team has in its inventions, drawings, patents, designs, copyrights and other intellectual property remain with the team.   

The information that Teams provide to GoFly as part of the Competition will only be shared with the Judging Panel and representatives of GoFly who are involved in administering the Competition.  Anyone who has access to a team’s confidential information will have signed a confidentiality agreement and agreed not to share or use such confidential information, except as may be required by law.  In addition, teams will not have access to any nonpublic information about other Teams or their technology or performance during the Competition.

 

INNOVATION INCUBATOR

Even the best and brightest minds can use a little help sometimes.  GoFly empowers innovator teams by providing access to experienced Mentors and Masters in design, engineering, finance, law, and marketing.  In fact, every month (and sometimes twice a month), Teams will have the opportunity to listen to and engage in discussions with the Masters of Aerospace and Business in global webinars.  Have a couple of questions on conceptual design or configuration management?  Looking for insight into cutting edge noise mitigation techniques?  Trying to raise funding to support your build?    Masters lectures speak to those disciplines and more.   Learn from DARPA chiefs, NASA gurus, Boeing Senior Technical Fellows, and the luminaries who actually wrote the textbooks.  Hear about the aerospace fundraising landscape, and take a deep dive into financing decks and pitching VCs.  Learn how to protect your intellectual property from patent specialists.  A list of Masters along with their bios can be found in the Advisors section.

When one-on-one help is needed, all Teams will have access to our Mentor program, where Teams work directly with Mentors in their specific areas of need.  Operationally, the Mentor program is organized so that Teams contact GoFly to request a Mentor within a particular discipline.  Upon contact, that Team will be matched with a Mentor (or multiple mentors) in that area.  During these Mentor sessions, a Team works directly with the Mentor to answer the Team’s specific questions related to their technical build (or financing, or corporate documents, etc.).  This is one-on-one support for the Teams, geared to the precise needs of each Team.   GoFly believes that providing this type of support is the best way to help aspiring inventors all over the world create the kind of ground-breaking devices that the Competition seeks.

 

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?

GoFly believes that solutions can come from anyone, anywhere. Scientists, engineers, academics, entrepreneurs, and other innovators with new ideas from all over the world are invited to form a Team and register to compete. To participate, a Team may organize their own members, recruit additional experts to join them, and can add new members at any time throughout the Competition. 

To be eligible to participate in the GoFly Prize, teams must complete all registration and administration forms, including a short bio for each team member, certain legal documents, and be accepted by GoFly into the competition.

For more information, see “Eligibility” below.

 

TIMELINE AND DELIVERABLES

The GoFly Prize Competition is a two-year Competition launched on September 26, 2017.  There will be three sequential rounds of the Competition.

Phase I                   

  • Submission of a written report and preliminary drawing

Phase II                  

  • Submission of an updated written report and demonstration of progress in development of the personal flying device

Phase III                 

  • Final Fly Off competition


A list of important dates is set forth below:

Description                                                                        Date

Competition Launch and Open of Registration                September 26, 2017

Phase I Registration deadline                                            April 4, 2018

Phase I submission deadline                                             April 18, 2018

Phase I awards issued                                                        May 29, 2018 

Phase II registration deadline                                            December 8, 2018

Phase II submission deadline                                             February 6, 2019

Phase II awards and Phase III fly-off invitation issued     March 28, 2019

Phase III - Flight readiness review                                     September 2019 [TBD]

Final Fly-off                                                                         October 2019 [TBD]

 

Dates and other information are subject to change at the discretion of GoFly. GoFly will post changes on the Competition website to ensure that all registered teams are informed of any change. All submissions must be submitted electronically through the GoFly Competition website.

 

REGISTRATION AND LEGAL DOCUMENTS

To compete in the GoFly Prize, the participant must be a registered Team that has been approved by GoFly.

PHASE I:

Innovators can compete in Phase I both as Individual Innovators and in groups.  To begin the registration process for Phase 1 (the Paper Report phase of the Competition) and be accepted to participate you must:

  1. Sign the Phase I Competition Agreement
  2. Sign the Release of Liability and Indemnification Agreement

All forms can be found here, and all may be accepted and submitted online.   

Submission of the documents will enable access to the Phase I submission form for competing.  There is no registration fee, but upon submission of a Team’s Phase I competition entry, there will be a fee of $250 for Individual Innovators or a fee of $500 for Teams with two or more persons.

 

PHASE II:

There is a big difference between designing on paper and actual building/flying, so the documents involved for those phases of the GoFly Prize differ as well.   In order to proceed from Phase I (the paper, technical specifications phase of the competition) into the actual building (Phase II and III of the Competition), ALL Teams must submit an additional application, and be accepted as a Phase II Team by GoFly. Under no circumstances should any off-paper work or building take place before a Team is admitted into Phase II of the GoFly Prize.   Should any work be done off-paper before being accepted into Phase II in contravention of the foregoing, such work is done entirely outside the scope of the GoFly Prize.

 

The Phase II and III Application forms will be available in December 2017.  Each Phase II and III Team is required to complete the package of legal documents which will govern the Competition, including the following:

  • Master Team Agreement (similar to the Phase I Competition Agreement with updates)
  • Certificate of Insurance (required by the Master Team Agreement)
  • Updated Team Release of Liability and Indemnification Agreement
  • Updated Team Member Release of Liability and Indemnification Agreement
  • Media Rights Agreement
  • Incubator Equity Agreement
  • For Grand Prize Winner Only: Boeing Warrant Agreement

Of note, Phase II and III Teams must participate as corporate entities. GoFly will help any Phase I team wishing to continue into Phase II with corporate formation.


FOR ALL PHASES OF THE COMPETITION:

Teams must sign all Legal Documents and comply with all requirements therein to be admitted to the Competition.  Once GoFly determines that a Team has complied with all requirements of the Legal Documents and these Competition Guidelines, it will notify the Team that it is approved for entry into the Competition.

Team shall designate a Team Member to act as “Team Leader”. The Team Leader will be responsible for communicating with GoFly and the Judging Panel. The Team Leader (and all Team members) must be at least 18 years old (or the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence, if such age is older than 18 years).  Team may replace the designated Team Leader at any time through the Team Portal.

As part of the Registration Form, each Team must list each individual that is part of the Team, and such list shall include all individuals or entities involved in the design, development, or testing of the Submission (“Team Members”).  All Team Members must register at the Competition website and sign the Phase I Competition Agreement.  Team may add and/or remove Team Members at any time through the Team Portal.  Team has sole responsibility for adding and removing Team Members. 

Teams may revise registration information at any time and are responsible for keeping information up to date.   New teams who have not participated in Phase I are still eligible to participate in Phase II by completing registration by the Phase II registration deadline.  Existing teams from Phase I must register their intent to participate in Phase II by the Phase II registration deadline.

As part of this Competition, GOFLY may receive some of Team’s and Team Members’ personal information. The collection, use, and disclosure of this information will be governed by GOFLY’s Privacy Policy. The Privacy Policy includes several ways to contact GOFLY with questions.  By submitting such information, Team agrees that (i) GOFLY may use the personal information collected as described in the Privacy Policy and (ii) GOFLY may disclose such Team’s and Team Members’ contact information and Competition registration information to Boeing.  Team expressly authorizes Boeing to contact Team if Boeing so desires.  Teams have the right to access, withdraw, and correct their personal information. 

 

ELIGIBILITY

Individual Innovators: The Competition is open to individual Innovators who (a) are at least 18 years old (or the age of majority in his/her jurisdiction of residence if it is older than 18), (b) comply fully with all terms and conditions of the Phase I Competition Agreement, and (c) are able to participate without violation of any third-party rights or obligations, including without limitation an employer’s policies or procedures.

Exclusions: Individual Innovators may not be (a) a Boeing employee or a member of any Boeing employee’s immediate family, (b) located in a jurisdiction where participation in the Competition is prohibited or otherwise restricted by law (or an individual with a residence in or who is a national of Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea or Sudan) or (c) subject to export controls or sanctions of the U.S.

Business Entities:  The Competition is open to business entities that wish to compete as a team and (a) are validly formed and in existence under applicable law, (b) comply fully with all terms and conditions of the Phase I Competition Agreement, and (c) are able to participate without violation of any third-party rights or obligations.    

Exclusions:  Entity Innovators must not have any presence in Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea or Sudan or be subject to export controls or sanctions of the United States.

Beginning at Phase II of the Competition, to be eligible to participate in the Competition, Team must be a validly existing legal entity (e.g. corporation, LLC, etc.) that is duly organized and in good standing in its jurisdiction of organization.   For those Teams who enter Phase I of the competition without being a legal entity, GoFly will provide guidance in incorporation.
Each Team’s compliance with these requirements and eligibility for the Competition will be determined by GoFly in its sole discretion.  Only Teams meeting all of the eligibility requirements set forth in the Phase I Competition Agreement as determined by GoFly will be recognized as a participant in the Competition. 

Each Team must obey all local, national, and international laws in undertaking any activities related to the Competition.  Team must fully comply with all applicable laws and acquire all necessary licenses, waivers, and/or permits from the applicable regulatory bodies or other applicable third parties. GoFly is not required to advise Team regarding such legal and regulatory compliance, and GoFly shall have no responsibility for Team’s compliance with laws applicable to Team and hereby disclaims any responsibility for advising on the applicability of laws or regulations applicable to a Team’s participation in the Competition or Team’s compliance therewith.  GoFly’s acceptance of Team into the Competition does not constitute approval of Team’s compliance with laws applicable to Team.

 

TEAM SUBMISSIONS

For each Phase of the Competition, Teams will be required to submit the materials and writings described in these Guidelines (“Submissions”).  All Submissions must comply with the following requirements:

  • Except for purchased or licensed content, any Submission must be original work of Team;
  • Submission must include only content (including any technical information, algorithms, designs, music, audio, visual or illustrative content, including logos, images, graphics, art, or other content, information, or materials protected any intellectual property right) that Team owns or has proper rights to use;
  • Team is required to disclose any purchased or licensed content that is part of a Submission.
  • Submissions must not contain any incomplete, corrupt, damaged, or malicious material;
  • Submissions must not contain material that violates or infringes another’s rights, including but not limited to privacy, copyright, trade secret, patent, trademark, publicity or any intellectual property rights;
  • Submissions must not disparage GoFly or any Competition Sponsor;
  • Submissions must not contain material that is inappropriate, offensive, indecent, obscene, tortious, defamatory, slanderous or libelous and must not contain material that promotes bigotry, racism, hatred or harm against any group or individual or promotes discrimination based on race, gender, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, or age; and
  • Submissions must not contain material that is unlawful, in violation of, or contrary to laws or regulations.

 

JUDGING PANEL

INDEPENDENT JUDGING PANEL

No Judge, nor any member of Judge’s immediate family, shall participate in any team.  All members of the Judging Panel will promptly disclose to GoFly any such current, former, or expected future conflict of interest with GoFly, Boeing and/or any team or team member.

ROLE OF THE JUDGING PANEL

The duties and responsibilities of the Judging Panel will include, but not be limited to: (i) evaluating teams’ compliance with the Competitors Agreement, these Competition Guidelines, and the Rules and Regulations for the purposes of the Competition; and (ii) the awarding of points and selection of teams that will receive prizes for each phase of the Competition.

GROUNDS FOR JUDGING PANEL DECISIONS

Official decisions made by the Judging Panel will be approved by a majority of the Judges that vote on each such decision after careful consideration of the testing protocols, procedures, guidelines, rules, regulations, criteria, results, and scores set forth in the Master Team Agreement and these Competition Guidelines. If any vote of the Judges results in a tie, then the Judging Panel shall determine, in its sole and absolute discretion, the mechanism to settle the tie. Similarly, if one or more teams are tied at any stage during the competition, the Judging Panel shall have the sole and absolute discretion to settle the tie. 

DECISIONS OF THE JUDGING PANEL ARE FINAL

The Judging Panel shall have sole and absolute discretion: (i) to allocate duties among the Judges; (ii) to determine the degree of accuracy and error rate that is acceptable to the Judging Panel for all competition calculations, measurements, and results, where not specified in the Rules and Regulations; (iii) to determine the methodology used by the Judging Panel to render its decisions; (iv) to declare the winners of the competition; and (v) to award the prize purses and other awards. Decisions of the Judging Panel shall be binding on teams and each team member. Teams agree not to dispute any decision or ruling of the Judging Panel, including decisions regarding the degree of accuracy or error rate of any competition calculations, measurements, and results. Teams shall have no right to observe other teams’ testing or evaluation, or to be informed of other teams’ calculations, measurements, and results, unless such information is made publicly available by GoFly. 

 

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE AND CURRENCY

The official language of the Competition is English. All communications with GoFly must be in English. All references to currency are expressed in United States Dollars (USD).

Guidelines
Schedule
Advisors

GoFly Masters Program

Even the best and brightest minds can use a little help sometimes.  Each month, Teams will have the opportunity to listen to and engage in discussions with the Masters of Aerospace and Business in global webinars.  See the Lecture Archive here.

Masters are listed below in alphabetical order. 

 

Dr. Shane Arnott, Director, Boeing Phantom Works International; Senior Technical Fellow, Boeing Defense, Space & Security

As Director of Boeing Phantom Works International, Dr Shane Arnott is responsible for the Phantom Works international presence in Australia, the United Kingdom, Korea, India, and Saudi Arabia. The Phantom Works mission is to engage customers to understand their needs, and the development of resulting prototypes of new products and systems. Arnott is a Senior Technical Fellow with Boeing, recognised as being within the top 0.1 per cent of Boeing engineers, and is the international spokesperson for the fellowship. Arnott has been with the company since 1997. He holds a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours (First Class) and a PhD in Systems Engineering.

Paul Bevilaqua, Manager of Advanced Programs, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works (retired)

Dr. Paul Bevilaqua has spent much of his career developing Vertical Take Off and Landing aircraft. He joined Lockheed Martin as Chief Aeronautical Scientist and became Chief Engineer of the Skunk Works, where he played a leading role in creating the Joint Strike Fighter. He invented the dual cycle propulsion system that made it possible to build a stealthy supersonic VSTOL Strike Fighter, and suggested that conventional and Naval variants of this aircraft could be developed to create a common, affordable aircraft for all three services. He subsequently led the engineering team that demonstrated the feasibility of building this aircraft.  The propulsion team received the Collier Trophy for this accomplishment.

Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, he was Manager of Advanced Programs at Rockwell International’s Navy aircraft plant, where he led the design of VSTOL interceptor and transport aircraft. He began his career as an Air Force officer at Wright Patterson AFB, where he developed a lift system for an Air Force VSTOL Search and Rescue Aircraft. He received degrees in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and Purdue University, as well as an honorary degree from Cranfield University in the UK.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He received a USAF Scientific Achievement Award, both the AIAA and SAE Aircraft Design Awards, both the AIAA and AHS VSTOL Awards, and the Lockheed Martin AeroStar and Nova Awards.

Mark Bezos, Brand Experience Consultant

Mark Bezos is the Founder of DemoMode Marketing - a branding and customer experience consultancy. For 10 years, Mark worked at Robin Hood, the leading poverty-fighting charity in New York City, where he served most recently as Senior Vice President for Development, Communications & Events. Mark joined Robin Hood following the sale of Bezos Nathanson Marketing Group, his advertising agency, excited to have found a way to use his powers of persuasion for good. In addition to his work in philanthropy, Mark is the Captain of a Volunteer Fire Company. He is continuously amazed and motivated by the everyday acts of heroism–big and small–that surround him.

Akif Bolukbasi, Senior Technical Fellow, Boeing

Dr. Bolukbasi is an internationally recognized expert in aircraft crash safety and impact dynamics. His technical knowledge spans multiple disciplines including structures and materials, dynamics, biomechanics, test and evaluation, subsystem design and integration, information technology, and computational methods. He was a program manager and principal investigator for over 20 IR&D, CR&D, and IAD projects. He was also instrumental in technology transition from R&D activities into Boeing products and is an accomplished author, presenting over 20 technical papers at industry conferences and been published in several industry journals.

He was one of the founding engineers of Simula, Inc., a small technology company specializing in aircraft structural crashworthiness and ballistic armor. He has been recognized for many accolades, including the AHS Jensen Award (2011) “Boeing Active Crash Protection System Development”, and served as the Technical Chairman of the 62nd AHS Forum, and currently serves as an Advisory Board Member of ASU Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Dept.

Pete Buck, Lockheed Martin Senior Fellow

Peter Buck is a Lockheed Martin Senior Fellow. He has worked at the Advanced Development Programs (ADP), also known as the Skunk Works® since 1981. In this capacity he has worked as a senior engineer, project lead and chief engineer on many development projects ranging from very low speed to very high speed flight systems. In addition to his Lockheed Martin duties, Mr. Buck co-designed the Sonex, Waiex and Xenos Light Sport kit aircraft of which there are more than 600 flying examples worldwide, earning him the 2003 August Raspet Award presented by the Experimental Aircraft Association for Outstanding Contribution to the Advancement of Light Aircraft. In 2010 Mr. Buck developed an all-electric powered version of the Waiex aircraft. Pete is an active member of ASTM serving on both the F37 Light Sport Aircraft Committee and the F44 General Aviation Aircraft and was awarded the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) Standards Excellence Award in 2012 for his efforts in the development of Electric Propulsion Standards. Mr. Buck is an active licensed pilot and FAA certified mechanic. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from California State University-Northridge.

Aditi Chattopadhyay, Regents’ Professor, Arizona State University; Ira A. Fulton Chair, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Director of Adaptive Intelligent Materials & Systems (AIMS) Center.

Dr. Aditi Chattopadhyay received a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from IIT Kharagpur, followed by MS and PhD degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her current research areas include multifunctional materials, multiscale modeling, structural health monitoring and damage prognosis, and multiaxial fatigue. She has been the Principal Investigator on numerous grants and collaborated with defense and government laboratories on significant technical transitions. Her research activities span from fundamental concept development to applied projects with immediate benefits to the industry. She has published over 170 journal papers and over 380 other publications (conference papers, book chapters, and NASA Technical Memorandum). Her research has led to several academic, research, best paper, and NASA Tech Brief awards. She is the recipient of several academic, research and best paper awards. She received the Georgia Institute of Technology Council of Outstanding Young Engineer Award (1995) and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) (2013). She is the recipient of the Faculty Achievement Award – Excellence in Research, Arizona State University (2000). Dr. Chattopadhyay is a Fellow of American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) and a Fellow of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Dr. Inderjit Chopra, Distinguished University Professor and Alfred Gessow Professor,

Aerospace Engineering;  Director of the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center at the University of Maryland.

Dr. Inderjit Chopra received his Sc.D. (Aero & Astro) from MIT in 1977 and joined NASA Ames/Stanford University Joint Institute of Aeronautics & Acoustics before joining the University Maryland as a faculty member in 1981. He has worked  on various fundamental problems related to aeromechanics of helicopters including aeroelastic stability, active vibration control, composite blades, rotor head health monitoring, aeroelastic optimization, smart structures, micro air vehicles, and comprehensive aeromechanics analyses.

He has been the principal investigator of six major research programs, served as associate editor major journals like the International Journal of Micro Air Vehicle (2013-cont.), and been a part of the advisory board of five journals. Dr. Chopra earned a number of prestigious awards, including the 2012 AHS Igor Sikorsky International Trophy and 2016 ASME Spirit of St. Louis Aviation Medal.

He has been a member of the Army Science Board (1997-2002), NASA (NRC) Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (2007-12) and NASA (NRC) Research and Technology Roundtable Board (2011-15). He is a Fellow of AIAA, a Fellow of AHS, a Fellow of ASME, a Fellow of Aero Society of India, and an Honorary Fellow of AHS.

Roger Connor, Curator, Vertical Flight, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Instruments & Avionics, Aeronautics Department, Smithsonian Institute. 

Roger Connor received his BA from Virginia Tech and holds a MA in Museum Studies from The George Washington University, a MA in American History from George Mason University, and is currently a PhD student in American History at George Mason University.

At the Smithsonian, Roger curates a number of collections, including vertical flight, Army ground force aviation aircraft, unmanned aircraft systems, ground effect vehicles, aircraft instruments and avionics, bombsights and gun sights, air navigation, and air traffic control. Roger is an experienced fixed wing commercial pilot with over 4,000 hours of flight time, including over 3,000 hours in dual instruction given. He has held flight instructor certificates in the United States and United Kingdom, holds a seaplane rating, and served as a designated private pilot examiner for the UK CAA. He was awarded Associate Fellow status by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for his work in support of the American Helicopter Society's history endeavors. He co-authored In the Cockpit II: Inside History-Making Aircraft of World War II and is currently writing a book on Virginia Aviation. His doctoral research centers on the role of federal stewardship of technology in mid-20th century America as viewed through the case studies of rotorcraft development.

Blanche Demaret, Program Director for Rotorcraft at ONERA ONERA (National Research Center for Aeronautics and Aerospace)

Blanche Demaret is an aeronautical engineer and Program Director for Rotocraft at ONERA. From 1977 to 2004 she served as Delegation Generale for l’Armement (DGA), part of the French Ministry of Defense. She has had several positions managing and contracting for rotorcraft R&T industry, research centers and specialized universities. She is in charge of the management of studies encompassing all the scientific disciplines of helicopter domain, such as aerodynamic and dynamic flight mechanics. She has a degrees from the EPF Engineer School in Paris, France.

Matt Desch, CEO, Iridium Satellite

Mr. Desch is CEO of Iridium, operating the world’s largest low earth satellite system providing global communications for aircraft, ships, governments and militaries all over the world.  An early pioneer in the wireless industry, he was previously CEO of Telcordia (now part of Ericsson), President of Nortel Networks, and started his career at AT&T Bell Labs. An avid pilot, he also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and AOPA Foundation.  He’s also a member of the US President’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Council (NSTAC).

Fernando Dones, BDS-PW, Advanced Vertical Lift/, Technical Fellow – Vehicle Management Systems, Boeing

Fernando Dones’ expertise in the Flight Controls was developed over a 35 year career making technical leadership contributions on programs such as Advanced Digital/Optical Control System (ADOCS), V-22, CH-47, TX, Phantom Swift, Bell-Boeing 609, Rotorcraft Aircrew Systems Concepts Airborne Laboratory (RASCAL), and Adaptive Vehicle Management System. His contributions to these programs include systems architectures, innovative safety monitors, redundancy management algorithms, FCS actuator servo loop approaches with safety monitors, and software architectures optimized for system safety and handling quality performance. His broad practical experience complemented by deep technical understanding and ability to explain complex concepts make him a highly sought technical advisor and a celebrated mentor.  Worked as System DER for the Bell-Boeing 609 for Flight Controls. Has been working on Electric-VTOL technology over the past 5 years and holds of being an Engineer Technical Fellow of the Boeing Company.   He holds a Single Engine Land Private Pilot License with an IFR certificate.

Richard Golaszewski, Partner and Executive Vice President,  GRA, Incorporated
Richard Golaszewski is Partner and Executive Vice President of GRA Incorporated. He has also conducted a number of assessments of technology development programs and written on the economics of aeronautical research and technology investments for NASA and other organizations He was a member for the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board of the National Academies for six years, and was named a Lifetime National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences in 2003 for his significant pro bono involvement in its aerospace and air transportation activities. Mr. Golaszewski received a B.S. in Accounting (magna cum laude) from LaSalle College and an M.P.A. in Public Sector Management and Finance from the Wharton Graduate School, University of Pennsylvania. He was a military officer and helicopter pilot from 1967 to 1972.

Helen Greiner, Founder, CyPhy Works

Helen Greiner is Founder of CyPhy Works, a company that builds flying robots for military and industrial applications. In 1990, she co-founded iRobot Corporation [NASDAQ: IRBT] and served as President and Chairman until 2008.  iRobot Corporation is the most successful mobile robot company in the world with more than 15 million  Roomba ™ vacuuming robots delivered to date.  Recently Endeavor Robotics was spun out of iRobot to focus on the military market with the PackBot ™ and SUGV ™ tactical mobile robots.  

Ms. Greiner received a BS Mechanical Engineering and an MS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science both from MIT and honorary Phds from both WPI and Clarkson.  She has been honored as a demo god, best leader, pioneer, global leader of tomorrow, young global leader, entrepreneur of the year, innovator of the next century, national academy member, presidential advisor, and good housekeeper! 

Mike Hirschberg, Executive Director, AHS International

Mike Hirschberg assumed the duties of the AHS Executive Director on June 1, 2011, after 20 years in the aerospace industry, primarily in vertical flight. As the Executive Director, he is responsible for the execution of the strategic direction set by the AHS Board of Directors.

He was previously a principal aerospace engineer with CENTRA Technology, Inc., providing technical and program management support for over 10 years to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Office of Naval Research (ONR) on advanced aircraft and rotorcraft concepts. Prior to this, Mr. Hirschberg worked from 1994 to 2001 in the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program Office, supporting the development of the X-32 and X-35 vertical flight propulsion systems.

Mike  is an internationally-known lecturer,  and is the author/co-author of more than 100 publications on helicopter, V/STOL and advanced aircraft developments, including three books. He holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Virginia and a M.E. Mechanical Engineering from Catholic University of America. He completed a Master of Business Administration at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University and is an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS).

Emily Howard, Senior Technical Fellow at Boeing

Dr. Emily Howard is a Senior Technical Fellow within the Engineering Home Office in Boeing Defense, Space & Security, and currently the lead for applying sociotechnical analyses in complex systems, ensuring effective interaction among hardware, software, people, tools and processes. Dr. Howard specializes in human information processing, perception and cognition. She has worked across the company on projects for both Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Boeing Defense, Space & Security. Dr. Howard is also Chair of the Boeing Technical Fellowship and responsible for identifying and developing opportunities to grow and strengthen the Fellowship program. Dr. Howard earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Franklin & Marshall University, and a master’s and PhD in cognitive psychology, both from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Greg Hyslop, Chief Technology Officer, The Boeing Company; Senior Vice President, Boeing Engineering, Test & Technology

Dr. Greg Hyslop is the chief technology officer of The Boeing Company and senior vice president of Boeing Engineering, Test & Technology. Hyslop oversees the development and implementation of the enterprise technology investment strategy, and his portfolio of responsibilities includes the companywide Boeing Engineering function; Boeing Research & Technology (BR&T), the company’s advanced central research and development organization; Boeing Test & Evaluation (BT&E), the team that verifies and validates Boeing’s commercial and defense products; and the Intellectual Property Management organization, which works to protect and strategically leverage the company’s intellectual property.

In his role leading the Engineering function, which includes more than 50,000 engineers around the world, Hyslop partners with the Engineering leaders for Boeing business units to ensure One Boeing solutions that support programs across the enterprise. He also plays a key role in decisions that affect the technical integrity of Boeing products, services and processes.

Vijay Kumar, Nemirovsky Family Dean,  Penn Engineering, Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, Computer and Information Science, and Electrical and Systems Engineering, University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Kumar's group works on creating autonomous ground and aerial robots, designing bio-inspired algorithms for collective behaviors, and on robot swarms. Kumar is a fellow of ASME and IEEE and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He received his Bachelor of Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 1987. He has been on the Faculty in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics with a secondary appointment in the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania since 1987. Dr. Kumar has held many administrative positions in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, including director of the GRASP Laboratory, chair of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, and the position of the Deputy Dean. Additionally, he served as the assistant director of robotics and cyber physical systems at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

 

John S. Langford, Chairman and CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation

John S. Langford is the Chairman and CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation, which he founded in 1989. Langford worked for the Lockheed Corporation as an engineer on the development of the F-117 stealth fighter. In 2014, the National Aeronautics Association (NAA) awarded John the Cliff Henderson Trophy for “significant and lasting contributions to the promotion and advancement of aviation and aerospace in the United States”. He has been a competitor or U.S. team manager in twelve space model world championships and serves as the U.S. liaison to the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI).

Earl Lawrence, Director, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Office

Earl Lawrence is the Director of the UAS Integration Office and is responsible for the facilitation of all regulations, policies, and procedures required to support FAA’s UAS integration efforts. He also represents the FAA on the Senior Steering Group of the UAS Executive Committee, focusing on coordination and alignment of efforts among key federal government agencies.

He previously served as the Manager of the FAA’s Small Airplane Directorate and was the designated executive focal for unmanned aircraft systems within the Aircraft Certification Service. Prior to joining the FAA, Earl was the vice president of industry and regulatory affairs for the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). He has also worked for Rockwell Rocketdyne, first as a rocket engine mechanic and then as a manufacturing engineer on the International Space Station.

Earl has served as a board member of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association and on the ASTM International Board of Directors, and was the founding chairman of the ASTM International Committee F37 on Light Sport Aircraft. He received the 2003 Robert J. Painter Memorial Award from the Standards Engineering Society for his standards work for Light Sport Aircraft. Earl holds a commercial multi-engine pilot certificate as well as an airframe and powerplant mechanic certificate with an Inspection Authorization. He is a graduate of Northrop University in Los Angeles.

Kristin Little, Associate Technical Fellow, Crew Systems & Human Factors, The Boeing Company

J. Kristin Little is an Associate Technical Fellow with The Boeing Company with expertise in Human Systems Integration design, development and testing. She specializes in crew interfaces and the area of Controls and Displays Design, and is the Crew Systems Lead for Boeing’s AH-6 helicopter and the weapons console design lead for Boeing’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent Program.

Previously, she has been Human Factors and MANPRINT Lead for the Future Combat System/Brigade Combat Team Modernization’s Lead System Integrator, and was the Controls and Displays Technical Lead within the Crew Systems team for the Apache Longbow. She has received numerous awards, including the Boeing Military Aircraft Vertical Lift Division Engineering Excellence Team Award, McDonnell Aircraft and Missile Systems Quality Achievement Award, McDonnell Douglas Teammate of Distinction Award, and has been recognized as an Apache Longbow Honorary Test Pilot. 

Kristin is a Boeing Inventor with a patent in Vertical Navigation Information Presentation on a Digital Moving Map, and has more than 60 publications. She is a member of the AHS International Technical Council as Deputy Director Systems Integration, has served as Crew Stations and Human Factors Technical Committee and Forum Technical Session Chairs, and is the President of AHS’s Arizona Chapter. Kristin graduated Cum Laude from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Bioengineering.

Jim Murray, Partner, PJT Partners

Jim Murray is a Partner at PJT Partners, having joined the firm in August of 2014. Over the past two decades, Murray has established durable relationships with senior executives at wireless carriers, mobile device manufacturers, satellite communications ventures, aerospace and automotive primes, remote sensing providers, media conglomerates, and major Internet companies in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Murray has built a broad network of contacts in the venture capital community that fuels ongoing technology and business model innovation in these industries. Murray consults frequently with regulators and lobbyists in Washington who influence the evolution of mobile technology. Murray has led advisory teams on public and private company mergers, leveraged buyouts, special committee assignments, and corporate restructurings. Over the course of his career, he has accumulated extensive public and private capital markets experience, helping clients raise over $150Bn in investment grade and non-investment grade bank debt, bond, and equity capital. Murray has advised on the successful IPOs of numerous TMT companies on the NYSE, NASDAQ, and LSE. Murray spent 14 years at Morgan Stanley in New York and Chicago, where as a Managing Director he was responsible for coordinating the firm’s relationships globally with the satellite and wireless industries. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Murray spent 5 years at Monitor Company, a strategy consulting firm. Based in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Boston, Murray focused on corporate strategy, competitive intelligence, supply chain optimization, brand marketing, and point-of-sale activation for consumer goods companies. Murray also worked closely with global telecom firms on market entry alternatives, with an emphasis on the then-emerging economics of wireless technologies and spectrum auction strategy. Murray received an AB in Government, magna cum laude, from Harvard College and studied International Relations and Economics at the London School of Economics.

Dan Newman, Senior Technical Fellow, Configuration Development; Chief Engineer, Phantom Works - Rotary Wing Aircraft, Defense Space & Security; The Boeing Company

Dan Newman is a Senior Technical Fellow of The Boeing Company in aircraft configuration design and development.  He serves as the Chief Engineer for vertical lift aircraft research and development, and supports Commercial Airplane Product Development. He previously served as a Program Manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), as the Technical Director of the AHS International vertical flight technical society, and as an Adjunct Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.  He received his Masters in Aerospace Engineering from the Rotorcraft Center of Excellence at the University of Maryland, and his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University.

 

Darryll J. Pines, Dean, Clark School of Engineering; Professor of Aerospace Engineering

Dr. Darryll J. Pines currently serves as the Nariman Farvardin Professor of Engineering and Dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering. In addition, Pines served as the 2015 chair of the National Academy of Engineering-NAE Frontiers in Engineering Education-FOEE Symposium which recognizes faculty from around the United States for their innovations in engineering education. At $141 million, the school's research expenditures are at a record high, and the school was ranked as high as 11th worldwide in 2011 by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, which focuses on research citations, and as high as 17th in the US News and World Report Graduate Rankings. He is the co-author of over 70 journal articles, three edited book volumes, eight book chapters, and 150 conference papers. Dr. Pines also is the holder of 7 co-authored Patents with his students and collaborators.

Boris Popov, Founder, BRS Aerospace Inc.

Boris Popov founded BRS in 1981, and is currently the Director / Senior Vice President of Sales. He was born in Munich, Germany, and immigrated to the United States in 1949 through Ellis Island. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s in Economics and a minor in Aeronautical Engineering in IT. He holds rating as a Private Pilot and FAA Ground instructor and in Sailplanes, Hang-Gliding, and Floatplanes. He has received many awards over the past years, including the 1986 Lycoming Aviation Safety Award, the 2005 Aviation Week & Space Technology Laureate Award, the 2010 Sperry Award, the 2015 Flieger Magazine Award, and the 2017 NALL Award. He has also been inducted into the 2000 EAA Ultralight Hall of Fame, the 2005 Space Hall of Fame, and the 2016 Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame.

Will Porteous, General Partner and COO, RRE Ventures

Will works with media and hardware companies primarily. He is a Director of BuzzFeed, Paperless Post, Spaceflight, and Spire. He is a former Director of Whiptail Technologies (acquired by CSCO), Frictionless Commerce (acquired by SAP), Skyhook Wireless (acquired by Liberty Media), Tacit Network (acquired by PKTR), and Xobni (acquired by Yahoo!). Will is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia Business School and the Chairman of the Dockery Farms Foundation, which he founded.

Before entering the venture capital industry, Will held senior management positions with SupplyWorks and NetMarket, the e-commerce pioneer now owned by Cendant Corp. Will holds an MBA from Harvard University, an MSC from the London School of Economics, and a BA with Honors from Stanford University, where he served as Captain of the Varsity Crew.

 

Dr. Daniel P. Raymer, President, Conceptual Research Corporation

Dr. Daniel P. Raymer is President of the design and consulting company, Conceptual Research Corporation. An AIAA Fellow and recipient of the prestigious AIAA Aircraft Design Award, he is recognized world-wide as an expert in Aerospace Vehicle Design and Configuration Layout, Computer-aided Design Methodologies and Design Education.

His career includes positions as Director-Advanced Design with Lockheed, Director-Future Missions at the Aerojet Propulsion Research Institute, and Project Manager-Engineering at Rockwell North American Aviation. During his 10 years at Rockwell, he conceived and did the layout design of Rockwell's entries in what became the F-22, B-2, and T-45 programs, and was Head of Air Vehicle Design for the X-31.

 

Dr. Raymer is the author of the world's best-selling book on aircraft design, and teaches aircraft advanced design methods around the world. He received B.S. and M.S. engineering degrees in Astronautics and Aeronautics from Purdue, an MBA from the University of Southern California, and a Doctorate of Engineering (Ph.D.) from the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology (KTH).

Watch Dr. Raymer's GoFly Master Lecture on Aircraft Conceptual Design

Dr. Stephen A. Rizzi, Senior Researcher for Aeroacoustics, NASA Langley Research Center

Dr. Stephen Rizzi leads NASA’s Perception-Influenced Design effort to develop revolutionary tools and methods for low noise design of transformative air vehicles.  He and his team support several NASA and industry projects, including the NASA Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology, Convergent Aeronautics Solutions, Transformational Tools and Technologies, and the Environmentally Responsible Aviation projects.  He is recipient of the 2015 NASA Exceptional Service Medal for "sustained and exceptional contributions to the acoustics discipline."  He is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and currently serves as Vice-Chair of the AIAA Aeroacoustics Technical Committee and as a member of the Transformational Flight Integration Committee.  He is author/co-author of over 130 journal and conference publications.  He received his BS in Aerospace Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and his MS and Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University.

Dr. Kenneth M. Rosen, President, General Aero-Science Consultants, LLC

Dr. Rosen has over fifty five years of experience in the aerospace, propulsion, turbomachinery, manufacturing, and systems engineering community. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and is a Fellow of the AIAA, AHS, ASME and Royal Aero Society.

Dr. Rosen has served as VP Research & Engineering at Sikorsky Aircraft, Corporate President of Concepts/ NREC, Chairman of the Board of the Rotorcraft Industry Technology Association, Chairman of the UTC Engineering Coordination Steering Committee, Chairman of the AIA Rotorcraft Advisory Group and as a member of NASA’s Aeronautics and Space Transportation Technology Advisory Committee. He is a recipient of both the AHS Klemin Award and the Nikolsky Lectureship. Dr. Rosen is currently an active member of the Board of Army Sciences and the the NRC Assessment Panel on Air and Ground Vehicle Technology for the ARL. Dr. Rosen holds five US patents and has written numerous papers in the fields of helicopter design, tilt rotor optimization, product development, propulsion, aerothermodynamics, icing, and systems engineering.

Suna Said, Founder and CEO, Nima Capital.

Suna Said is the Founder and CEO of Nima Capital, a single family office with a flexible mandate to invest across various capital structures, growth stages, and industries. Prior to founding Nima, Suna was an Executive Director and Investment Officer of Unifund, Inc., a multi-billion dollar international investment firm.

Suna currently serves on the board of directors of Rubicon Global and was previously a director of ONEHOPE, where she served as Vice Chairwoman. She is also an Advisor to 8VC.

Suna currently serves on the boards of Girls Inc., the Chopra Foundation, as well as Pure Edge, Inc. She is also on the Board of Trustees for the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Suna holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

Dr. Arvind Sinha, Director of Engineering, Helicopter Systems Division, Australian Department of Defence​

Dr Arvind K. Sinha has a service record of 42 years, which includes defence forces/establishments, industry and academic institutions. He has several qualifications (Science, Engineering, Technology and Business), scholarships (academic & industrial), awards (military & non military), industrial research projects, research papers, technical reports and invited public presentations to credit. He has held wide positions: Specialist Advisor, Senior Researcher, Manager & Director, and Officer Commanding of Military units in Operation. Sinha holds Two Undergraduate Degrees (Science and Engineering), Three Post-graduate Degrees (Electronics Engineering, Aerospace Technology and Business Administration) and a PhD in Aerospace Engineering – Multi-mission helicopter design.

Marc Sheffler, Chairman, Board of Trustees, of the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center

Marc Sheffler is the Chairman, Board of Trustees, of the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center in West Chester, PA. He retired from The Boeing Company in 2011 after 38 years of service, most recently as Chief Technology Integrator for Boeing Advanced Mobility, representing rotorcraft. He also chaired the Rotorcraft Technology Strategy team and was the Boeing representative to the National Rotorcraft Technology Center/Vertical Lift Consortium’s Technical Advisory Council.

Previously, he served at various Boeing sites as Director of Engineering, Director of Integrated Product Teams for the Apache Program, and Director of Research and Technology. He was Analysis and Integration team lead on the RAH-66 Comanche Program and Boeing’s Principal Dynamicist on the V-22 Osprey.

Marc graduated from Virginia Tech with a BS in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, and Widnener University with an MS in Engineering Mechanics and Engineering Management. He served as the Boeing Executive Focal for Virginia Tech, is a current member of the College of Engineering’s Committee of 100 and is past Chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board. He was awarded the Virginia Tech 2009 Distinguished Service Award and in 2016 was named to the inaugural class of the Academy of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering Excellence.

Marc is a Fellow of the American Helicopter Society International and Ex-Officio Technical Chairman. He serves on the Board of Directors of JDRF (formerly Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).

Dr. Marilyn Smith, Professor, Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering and Associate Director Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence

Dr. Smith received her PhD from Georgia Tech in 1994 while working in industry from 1982 to 1997.  She joined the School of Aerospace Engineering in 1997, and is currently a full professor and Associate Director of the Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence (VLRCOE). Dr. Smith performs research in the areas of non-linear computational aeroelasticity (using CFD) and the integrated multidisciplinary areas of unsteady aerodynamics and acoustic/fluid/structure interactions across rotating and fixed wing vehicles and systems.  Her recent research also includes award-winning development of nonlinear reduced-order models for design and modeling and simulation.  Her research sponsors include all branches of the DoD, NASA, DoE, ARO, ONR, and NSF, as well as industry. She was named a Fellow of the AIAA and a Technical Fellow of the American Helicopter Society (AHS) for her research in these areas, where she has authored or co-authored more than 200 publications.  She has won the AHS Agusta-Westland International Fellowship Award twice and a NASA  Group Achievement Award for her research in rotorcraft.  She is a board member of the AHS, and associate editor of the AIAA Journal, Journal of Fluids and Structures, and Aeronautical Journal.

Dr. Patricia Stevens, MH-139 Program Manager and Manager, Boeing Phantom Works Rotary Wing Technology

Dr. Patty Stevens is the MH-139 program in Boeing Vertical Lift, based in Philadelphia. She is also the Senior Manager of Boeing Phantom Works Rotary Wing Technology Programs, which develops the advanced technologies, configurations, and prototypes to promote Vertical Lift growth into the next decades. In her Phantom Works role, Dr. Stevens manages the R&D portfolio, leads the Vertical Lift Technology Strategy Team, and leads functional engineering for the organization. Stevens also leads the MH-139 program, Boeing’s entry in the competition to replace the U.S. Air Force UH-1N “Huey” helicopter fleet, which currently protects intercontinental ballistic missiles and transports U.S. government and security forces. Previously, Dr. Stevens served as Boeing program manager for DARPA DiscRotor, program manager for Improvised Explosive Device Defeat, lead technologist for Army Systems and technical lead for Sensors and Fire Control for the RAH-66 Comanche helicopter program. She was selected as a Boeing Associate Technical Fellow in 2003. Dr. Stevens earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering, a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering, and a PhD in mechanical and aerospace engineering, all from Pennsylvania State University. She is an active member of the American Helicopter Society, and has served on the Board of Trustees for the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center in West Chester, PA. She was appointed a Penn State Outstanding Engineering Alumna in 2010 and is currently the Boeing executive focal for Penn State.

Tony Tether, Director of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), retired 2009

Dr. Anthony J. Tether was Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) from 2001 to his retirement in 2009. As Director, Dr. Tether was responsible for management of the Agency's projects for high-payoff, innovative research and development. In 2009, Dr. Tether re-formed The Sequoia Group (TSG) which he had founded in 1996, which serves government and industrial clients. He is on several Advisory and Corporate Boards, and is a Distinguished Fellow with the Council on Competitiveness located in Washington DC. Previously, he has held positions in the Department of Defense, on Army, Navy, and Defense Science Boards, and on the Office of National Drug Control Policy Research and Development Committee.  He is an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Life Fellow for leadership in the advancement of commercial and defense technologies, and has been distinguished with many accolades, including the National Intelligence Medal, the Department of Defense Civilian Meritorious Service Medal, the Department of Defense Outstanding Public Service Medal, and was also awarded the him the Aerospace Communications Award for aerospace communication contributions by AIAA. Dr. Tether received a Bachelor's of Electrical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Master of Science and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

Chris Van Buiten, Vice President of Innovation, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporations

Chris Van Buiten is the Vice President of Technology and Innovation
at Sikorsky Aircraft, where he runs the Sikorsky Innovations group
responsible for maturing next-generation technologies including X2 technology™, active rotor, and autonomy, as well as defining nextgeneration Products.
Mr. Van Buiten joined Sikorsky in 1989 where he has been engaged in the conceptual and preliminary design of Sikorsky products including the S-92® commercial transport, the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter, and the UH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopter, as well as several advanced concepts.  He has served as Chief of Preliminary Design and Manager of Advanced Design and has led Sikorsky’s Strategic Planning group. Chris led Sikorsky’s acquisition of the PZL Mielec Aircraft Company in Mielec, Poland. He has also served as a Technical Fellow for Advanced System Design.

Mr. Van Buiten was a Glenn L. Martin Aerospace Scholar at the University of Maryland, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace degree in 1989. He received a Master of Science in System Design and Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Sloan School of Business in 1999.

Dr. Steven H. Walker, Acting Director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Dr. Steven H. Walker is the acting director of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Prior to this assignment, he was the deputy director at DARPA from October 2012 to January 2017. Dr. Walker has more than 30 years experience in civil service and is a member of the Senior Executive Service. He has held several senior positions at DARPA, including director, deputy director, and program manager in the Tactical Technology Office. Dr. Walker served as deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for science, technology and engineering, responsible for preparing policy, guidance and advocacy for the Air Force's annual $2 billion science and technology program and managing 14,000+ military and civilian scientists and engineers. Dr. Walker is an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Fellow. He has been awarded the Presidential Rank Award, the Air Force Meritorious Civilian Service medal, and the DoD Exceptional, Meritorious, and Distinguished Civilian Service medals. He holds a Ph.D. and B.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Notre Dame and an M.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Dayton.

Dr. James Wang, Senior Vice President, Leonardo Helicopters​

Dr. James Wang has over 30 years of experience in rotorcraft and aerospace technology, product development, research, manufacturing, sales, and international marketing. He started his career at Sikorsky Aircraft in Engineering, then transitioned to leading strategic campaigns and accounted for billions of sales worldwide.

At AgustaWestland, Dr. Wang, as the VP of Research & Development, reported directly to the CEO of AgustaWestland and was responsible for creating innovations and technology roadmap.  Subsequently, as the Senior VP of Marketing, responsible for the global marketing strategy of all AgustaWestland helicopter products at Leonardo Helicopters.

Dr. Wang is an AHS Fellow.  He holds numerous, major international awards and patents. In 2013, the WIRED Magazine named Dr. Wang “the Steve Jobs of Rotorcraft” for his ability to think “out of the box” and pushing the transportation technology boundaries by inventing and designing the AgustaWestland Project Zero, the world first all-electric VTOL technology demonstrator aircraft.

He received his bachelor degrees in Aeronautical Engineering and in Electrical Engineering from M.I.T., a Master and a PhD from the University of Maryland, a Master degree from the M.I.T. Sloan Business School, and an Executive Training Diploma from the London Imperial College Business School.

Stephen Welby, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for the United States

Stephen Welby served as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering for the US Department of Defense from December 2015 through January 2017. As ASD, Mr. Welby served as the Chief Technology Officer for the US Department of Defense (DoD) and led the largest R&D and Engineering organization in the world, overseeing an annual technology investment budget of $12.5B. He previously served from September 2009 to December 2015 as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Systems Engineering. As Chief System Engineer for the DoD, his responsibilities included engineering design, development and manufacturing of complex military systems, and the engineering review, analysis and technical risk assessment of the Department’s portfolio of major acquisition programs. Mr. Welby has extensive government and industrial experience in technology and product development, including senior leadership positions at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). His experience includes development of leading-edge aeronautical and space systems, robotics, machine learning, high-performance software, and sensor systems. Mr. Welby holds a bachelor of engineering degree in chemical engineering from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, a master’s degree in business administration from the Texas A&M University, and master’s degrees in computer science and applied mathematics from The Johns Hopkins University.

Dan Wolf, CEO and Founder, Cape Air

Daniel A. Wolf founded Cape Air in 1989, now the largest commuter airline in the United States alongside sister airline Nantucket Airlines. He continues to stay current with his Air Transport Pilot license and regularly flies as a pilot for Cape Air.

Before founding Cape Air, a part employee-owned company, Dan managed the Chatham Municipal Airport where he also worked as a flight instructor and aircraft mechanic. In November 2010, 2012 and 2014, Dan was elected to represent Cape Cod and the Islands in the Massachusetts State Senate, where he served from 2011 through 2016.

Dan has worked as a community and union organizer in the Boston area and has served on many of the region’s most impactful non-profit and civic organizations. He received his bachelor’s in Political Philosophy at Wesleyan University and has a degree in Airframe and Power Plant Maintenance from the Quaker School of Aeronautics.

Tom Wood, Chief Technologist, Bell Helicopter

Wood has had an extensive 50 year career a Bell Helicopter where he has been a key figure in many major development programs, has contributed numerous and significant innovations to the field and has mentored at least two generations of rotary wing engineers. In his current position, Wood advises the executive leadership team on technical issues, oversees the senior technical fellow organization and the company’s research and innovation group. All his efforts are closely linked to Bell Helicopter’s military and commercial product line.

Wood’s technical involvement in programmatic roles includes a recent position as technical director for the Bell-Boeing JMR Configuration Trade Analysis contract with the U.S. Army. Additionally, in 2012 he was appointed as a member of the Aeronautics Committee of the NASA Advisory Council and was reappointed in 2014.

Among his awards are the AHS’s Howard Hughes Award in 1984, Paul E. Haueter Award in 2005, AHS Technical Fellow Award in 2010, Dr. Alexander Klemin Award in 2011, and AHS Honorary Fellow Award in 2015. Additionally, he has published an award-winning study on the loss of tail rotor effectiveness.

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