Dinner Meeting – March 20th – Model Based Systems Engineering for the Future of Vertical Lift

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The Vertical Flight Society Southwest Chapter presents

Model Based Systems Engineering for the Future of Vertical Lift

by Steven Skinner

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

This presentation examines the transition from requirement-based to model-based systems engineering (MBSE) and how it has helped transform the way vertical flight systems are developed for commercial and government applications in a digital world.

Steve Skinner recently retired after more than 45 years developing systems for atmospheric science, aviation, aerospace, and defense industries. Since moving to Texas in 1992, Steve has worked as an electrical engineer and systems engineer for TI/Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Bell Helicopter. Steve retired from Bell in 2015 after 10 years in systems engineering management for the ARH and FLRAA development efforts, and a few years leading functional systems engineering. After “retiring”, Steve returned to Bell as an independent consultant advising the V-280 Valor tiltrotor team for another 7 years to secure the US Army FLRAA contract.

Steve also served as an adjunct professor for 12 years at SMU Lyle School of Engineering creating and teaching graduate systems engineering courses, concentrating on Department of Defense processes for product acquisition, reliability, and system integration.

Steve earned a PhD and MS degree from Southern Methodist University in Systems Engineering, and a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Colorado.



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Dinner Meeting – December 6th: Drone Light Show Technology

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The Vertical Flight Society Southwest Chapter presents

Drone Light Show Technology

a presentation by Preston Ward, Chief Pilot, and Rick Boss, Director of Business Development for Sky Elements

Wednesday, December 6th, 2023

Sky Elements is the leading provider of drone light shows in North America. Their drone light shows are made to inspire both in person and on video.

Check out their Website and Youtube for more information and videos.

Though located here in North Texas, their work has been on display across the nation and they are the proud winners of a Guinness World Record for “largest aerial sentence” formed by drones, achieved during the North Richland Hills Fourth of July celebration!

Preston Ward is a practicing attorney who has a love for fireworks, drones, and all things technology. As Chief Pilot, he is Sky Elements’ drone flight expert. He has flown all over North America piloting countless drone light shows and has an expansive knowledge base that has been honed by hours of flying in different environments. Preston has a degree in business administration with an emphasis in information systems from the University of Texas at Arlington. He also obtained his Juris Doctorate from the Texas A&M School of Law, and LLM from the University of Texas at Austin.

Rick Boss leads the Sky Elements Business Development side and spearheads the team’s product management and sales division. As the Director of Business Development, he is the face of Sky Elements and works tirelessly to ensure that the drone light show experience is seamless for clients from start to finish. Rick’s coordination, business acumen, and years of experience leading successful startups help keep the company moving forward on the right path, making him a key component of their team’s success.



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Call for Abstracts – 2024 Robert Lichten Regional Competition

VFS Southwest Region

2024 Robert L. Lichten Award Competition

The Southwest Region of the Vertical Flight Society will hold its annual Robert L. Lichten Award regional competition on Tuesday, December 5th, 2023 in Bell’s Fort Worth Headquarters Tech Auditorium from 4:00 – 6:30 PM. Competitors will be invited to present in person or via live stream/webinar platform.

The purpose of the Lichten competition is to promote the exchange of technical information by encouraging VFS members to write and present papers dealing with all areas of rotorcraft technologies. This competition is especially tailored to provide new presenters an opportunity to be recognized for their contributions to the field. All VFS members who have not previously presented a paper at a national or regional meeting of the VFS or other technical societies are eligible. Please refer to the Procedures and Eligibility Statement for the official rules.

Competitors will make a 20-minute presentation in front of judges and other VFS members. The winner of the regional competition will receive a $250 honorarium from the VFS Southwest Region and will be nominated to the international competition. A $100 and $50 honorarium will be presented to 2nd and 3rd place respectively from the VFS Southwest Region.

The winner of the regional competition will write a paper due no later than February 28, 2024 to be judged at the international level. The winner of the international Lichten Award will be invited to present his/her paper at the Vertical Flight Society’s 80th Annual Forum & Technology Display, May 7-9, 2024 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and receive a travel reimbursement stipend of up to $1,500 to attend the Forum, complimentary registration and lodging, and a $500 honorarium. The international Lichten Award first runner-up will also be invited to present their paper and will receive complimentary registration.

If you are interested in competing for the VFS Southwest Region Lichten Award, submit an approved* abstract/outline of your presentation and the Lichten Eligibility Checklist by C.O.B. Wednesday, November 15, 2023, to Southwest Region Lichten Award Coordinator Loren Ahaus at email lahaus@bellflight.com. The Lichten Eligibility Statement and guideline is available for download at: Lichten Eligibility Checklist.

*All abstracts and presentations must go through company management and government approvals. Authors are solely responsible for obtaining these approvals.

Networking Social ft. Executive Director Angelo Collins

The Vertical Flight Society Southwest Chapter presents

A Vision for the Future of the Vertical
Flight Society

a presentation by Angelo Collins, Executive Director, Vertical Flight Society

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Mr. Angelo Collins is the 7th and latest Executive Director of the Vertical Flight Society, the world’s only international non-profit dedicated to the advancement of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft and technology. A member of VFS since 2009, he served as the Administrative Chair of the first Transformative Vertical Flight (TVF) Workshop in 2014. Before VFS, Angelo was an employee of Booz Allen Hamilton, where he supervised a team of engineers and analysts supporting numerous cutting-edge programs in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO).

Collins has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland (UMD) and an M.S. in Engineering Administration from Virginia Tech. Though a native of the Boston, Massachusetts area he has lived and worked in Arlington, Virginia, for 15 years, where he resides with his wife and three children.

A networking social with passed hor d’oeuvres will follow the presentation.

Looking for more fun? The Southwest Chapter will also be holding a fishbowl raffle!
Prizes at this time include:
● VFS Swag
● Tickets to the Fort Worth Aviation Museum
● A private, in-home whiskey tasting for you and three friends
and MORE!



Paypal, payroll deduct (Bell employees) available!



First Dinner Meeting of 2023!

The Vertical Flight Society Southwest Chapter presents

An Introduction to the Zeppelin NT 07 – Passenger Rated Tiltrotor Airship

a presentation by Francis Govers, Associate Technical Fellow for Autonomy at Bell Helicopter

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

This presentation provides an introduction to airships in general and the Zeppelin NT 07 in particular. The Zeppelin NT is a 13-passenger airship with vectored thrust motors and a unique tail rotor that allows function as a VTOL aircraft, and was selected in 2011 by Goodyear to replace the iconic “Goodyear Blimp”. Normal blimps and airships can’t hover and require a large 20 person groundcrew for takeoff and landing but the NT has infinite hover time and needs only 3 ground crew. Airships have by far the best safety record of any flying vehicle with only two fatalities in the last 60 years. We will discuss how airships work, how to live with helium, how they fly with a balance of static lift (buoyancy), dynamic lift and vectored thrust. We will see how an airship is controlled, balanced, and trimmed, and even go through some pilot training.

Francis Govers has contributed to the design of over 30 manned and unmanned land, sea, air and space vehicles. He currently is the Associate Technical Fellow for Autonomy at Bell Textron, and is the founder of the Bell Autonomy Department. He is an Air Force veteran, was head of command and control for the International Space Station, Deputy Chief Engineer for Unmanned Systems at the US Army Future Combat Systems, Chief Engineer of Elbit Systems of America, CTO of Gamma 2 Robotics, participated in the DARPA Grand Challenge, managed a Zeppelin airship, and is a factory-trained Zeppelin ground school instructor. He was responsible for maintaining the “Yellow Line” for NFL football and designed the onboard telemetry systems for NASCAR and IndyCar. He has published 48 articles and papers and authored the book “Artificial Intelligence for Robotics”. He received five outstanding achievement awards from NASA, and recognition from Scientific American for “World Changing Ideas”. Francis earned his Master of Science degree from Brandeis University.



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First meeting of 2022! WEDNESDAY MARCH 2 ft. Erasmo Pinero

Welcome back to the 2022 dinner meeting season! Our goal this year is to host 3-4 hybrid dinner meetings throughout the year to engage with our membership. All dinner meetings will be available to join via a webinar platform as well as in person.

We are also introducing student presentations! Every meeting we will invite a student from the Southwest Region to give us a brief presentation on the research they are doing in the world of VTOL.

And with all that, we are excited to announce our first dinner meeting of the year! Please mark your calendars for WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2. We will be hearing a talk by Erasmo Pinero on the X-22. Erasmo’s presentation will cover the overall design of the Bell Aerosystems X-22A tilt-duct V/STOL research aircraft, its importance to V/STOL research, lessons learned, and contributions to the science of V/STOL flight. The presentation will include the road leading up to the X-22A from concept to contractual hurdles, to flying test bed; and how the program overcame unforeseen technical challenges to become one of the most successful X-planes in the history of V/STOL flight research. The pioneering contributions of the X-22A to more recent powered lift aircraft and vehicles of the future will be explored.

We would love to see you in person, but welcome all our virtual attendees as well! See the attached flyer for more information


For virtual tickets, student tickets, or to use Bell Payroll Deduct, please fill out THIS FORM.


March 2022 Dinner Meeting – PayPal Option Now Available!



February 2020 Dinner Meeting


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