Introducing Vertical Aviation International.

I’m proud to write to you for the first time as chair of the Board of Directors of Vertical Aviation International! It’s an exciting time for the whole association as we take on a new identity and expand our leadership and services to the entire vertical aviation industry.

While the name, logo, and tagline are all new, they should feel familiar. That’s because they reflect you, our members.

Nicole Battjes.

The board recognized several years ago that the emergence of new vertical flight technologies presented an opportunity for the association to rebrand and expand its purpose. But a decision of this magnitude required careful thought. Since the association’s founding 75 years ago, our members have consistently advanced the boundaries of what vertical aviation can do, so it only made sense to seek their input—your input—about whether we should rebrand.

The board and the association’s leadership set out to do just that. We conducted in-depth interviews with industry leaders, held workshops, and surveyed the entire membership. We asked what you thought, what you hoped for, and what you envisioned for yourself and the association. We took all that feedback and used it to build a Strategic Industry Plan.

The first strategic initiative in the plan—to unify the industry around a new vision of vertical aviation—was only possible if we assumed a more inclusive identity, and so the decision was clear. The board voted unanimously in 2022 to rebrand because that was the desire of the members.

We continued to seek your input over the past year as we designed the new brand. We’ve thought carefully about every detail to make sure our new brand focuses on what unites us—the unique capabilities of all vertical aviation aircraft.

My favorite part of the new logo is the power bar that forms the “I” of VAI. It perfectly captures VAI’s vision to lead the evolution and expansion of vertical flight, or as our new tagline puts it, “Powering Up.” In this case, “Up” encompasses all aircraft capable of a vertical or short takeoff and landing—regardless of their missions or how they are powered or piloted.

“Up” also connects our past to our future. Within the power bar, I can hear the sound of a helicopter’s rotors reaching full flight, see a fully charged eVTOL rising from a vertiport, and feel the sensation of vertical flight.

With the new brand comes a new name for our annual conference and trade show, starting with next year’s event, which will be VERTICON 2025. This name connects directly to our modern identity that enables us to be more inclusive of the entire industry. Although the show will have a new name, it will retain the essential features that make it a must-attend event: education sessions, industry panels, the latest aircraft and technology, and the opportunity to build your network with other vertical aviation professionals.

Our journey as VAI is just beginning. Over the next few years, the board and the staff will continue to implement the strategic plan, and we will continue to seek your input on our airspeed, direction, and altitude. I can’t wait to see where we’ll be in five years. But I know one thing for sure: We Power Up!

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Nicole Battjes

Nicole Battjes

Nicole Battjes is the owner and director of operations for Rainbow Helicopters, a Part 135 air tour operation based in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the 2023–24 chair of the VAI Board of Directors. She is a dual-rated pilot, flight instructor, and check pilot with more than 3,500 flight hours in helicopters. An active industry volunteer and advocate, Nicole has worked on issues such as community compatibility and SMS implementation for small operators in the Hawaiian Islands.