Hydrogen Vertical Lift

Rotor Safety Challenge (RSC)
Tracks:
Safety; Operations; Pilot
Instructor: John Piasecki

Hydrogen vertical lift is an innovative aviation technology that combines hydrogen fuel cells with vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities. This approach provides a clean energy solution for aircraft, producing only water vapor as a byproduct, thus significantly reducing the environmental impact. It is especially relevant for a variety of aircraft, including drones and urban air mobility vehicles. As a technology at the forefront of aviation innovation, hydrogen vertical lift addresses challenges such as hydrogen storage and integration into practical aircraft designs. Its potential extends to transforming urban transportation and emergency services and reducing the carbon footprint of the aviation industry in alignment with global sustainability goals.

Instructor Bio

John W. Piasecki is president and CEO of Piasecki Aircraft Corp., a pioneering flight research company focused on developing and demonstrating advanced rotorcraft and uncrewed aerial vehicle platforms and technologies for military and commercial applications. Over his 30-plus–year career in the rotorcraft industry, John has focused on corporate strategy, requirements, program development, and management oversight of the company’s programs, including flight demonstration of the X-49A high-speed compound helicopter, the Turais air-launched uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) flight demonstration, an Air Guard flight demonstration of the world’s first autonomous autogyro, and the KlearPath flight demonstration of the world’s first fully autonomous person-rated helicopter. Current focus areas include development of the ARES modular multimission VTOL UAS, adaptive flight control research, collaborative developments in hybrid and hydrogen–electric propulsion, and development of the PA-890 hydrogen fuel cell–powered electric VTOL (eVTOL) aircraft. John is the 2021 recipient of the Vertical Flight Society’s  Paul E. Haueter Award for outstanding contributions to the field of VTOL aircraft development. He serves as the elected at-large director and vice chair of the Vertical Lift Consortium, an industry-wide organization formed with the US Department of Defense as a primary interface for the advancement of vertical lift technologies for the US military. John also serves as a trustee of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, focusing on national security issues. He graduated in 1989 from Yale University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and is an FAA-certificated fixed-wing pilot.

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