The eVTOL certification challenge
The eVTOL certification challenge
The development of the eVTOL industry depends on regulators agreeing to certify new vehicles. The FAA and EASA are tasked with certifying these aircraft, but there are still many obstacles to overcome before that happens.
Flying car certification: The story so far
For the average person on the street, the idea of a flying car would be a dream come true. But with the amount of work that has to go into making it reality, it may be a while before you're able to buy one at your local car dealership. In this article, we'll look at some of the issues facing eVTOLs (electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles), including an overview of what they are and some of their flying capabilities.
We'll also discuss some of the challenges they face when trying to obtain certification from aviation regulators around the globe; what obstacles are in their way? How can these obstacles be overcome? What risks do those solutions pose for people who live near airports where eVTOLs will operate? And finally: what is going on with eVTOL certification in each region around world...and why does it matter?
The eVTOL certification challenge
Designing and manufacturing an airworthy eVTOL aircraft at scale is a formidable challenge. The potential hazards are numerous, ranging from the risk of fire to the noise levels emitted during cruising flight. Obstacles such as regulatory barriers to cross and technical challenges that need to be overcome are also considerable — this is now the challenge facing eVTOL aircraft developers worldwide.
EASA progress on certifying air taxis
TheEuropean Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is working on an air taxi certification scheme, and it's already made progress. The agency recently published a draft of its new proposal for the development of certification rules for vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. It's been developed in collaboration with other organizations like the FAA and NASA, who are also looking forward to testing these kinds of vehicles in their own airspace.
The goal is to allow companies to bring their products quickly from concept through testing—and eventually into production—all while ensuring safety standards are met throughout the process.
EASAs role in eVTOL certification
EASA'srole in eVTOL certification
TheEuropean Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is responsible for the development and implementation of civil aviation regulations across the EU. As such, they playa central role in ensuring that all aircraft types operate safely in European airspace.
EASAhas a role to play in eVTOL certification. Their work focuses on developing a framework for certifying autonomous vehicles and systems, as well as establishing safety standards for their operation on public roads. They're working with other regulators including the Federal Aviation Administration(FAA), EASA and other international bodies to develop this framework for certifying eVTOL aircraft
FAA and the flying car certification challenge
TheFederal Aviation Administration (FAA) is in the process of creating a new rule for small unmanned aircraft, which would allow for extended missions and more complex operations. The FAA has also developed rules enabling commercial operations of small UAS (sUAS). These rules require that sUAS weigh less than55 pounds and have an operating ceiling below 400 feet above ground level(AGL).
This article will focus on the eVTOL certification challenge.
What happens next?
TheFAA is working on a new certification process for eVTOLs, and the agency is working with industry to develop a new training program.
- In June 2019, the FAA's Small Aircraft Directorate (ASD) will open an Office of Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration (OUSAI). This office will lead the FAA's efforts to integrate unmanned aircraft systems into national airspace. The office will also oversee all matters related to small unmanned aircraft systems, including innovation and research as well as safety regulation.
- In May 2019, ASD released its "eVTOL Pilot Program" report detailing how the agency plans to move forward with making sense of the growing number of eVTOLs in U.S skies. The report outlines three main areas where they intend to focus their efforts: 1) Working with manufacturers and operators on establishing standards for airworthiness certification; 2) Working with manufacturers and operators on developing training programs; 3) Facilitating data sharing so that real-time information about eVTOL operations can be collected as part of an evaluation effort (which will assist in making informed decisions about future regulations).
What do the experts say?
There is a lot of discussion about who will certify eVTOL aircraft, and whether any existing agencies are suited for the job. Some experts contend that EASA might be best equipped to oversee the certification process because it's familiar with certifying both manned and unmanned aircraft. Others point out that theFAA has been working on developing a new office devoted solely to small unmanned aircraft—which would include eVTOLs—and could adopt those standards as its own.
Regardless of which agency ends up overseeing it all, there will be challenges ahead foreVTOL developers looking to get their devices certified: they'll need to meet stringent safety standards while still making their vehicles affordable and accessible enough for anyone who wants one (except maybe Donald Trump).
Designing and manufacturing an airworthy eVTOL aircraft at scale is a formidable challenge, involving a large number of innovations, potential hazards, and regulatory barriers to cross. However, this is now the challenge facing eVTOL aircraft developers worldwide.
The EASA certification process is not a one-time affair. The certification of an airworthy eVTOL aircraft at scale is a formidable challenge, involving a large number of innovations, potential hazards, and regulatory barriers to cross. However, this is now the challenge facing eVTOL aircraft developers worldwide.
The FAA has been working on this for years, with the latest version of its Part 23rewrite expected by 2020. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) recently published its own regulations for electrically powered vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) drones that can carry people in addition to cargo as well as remote piloted or fully autonomous unmanned systems (UAS).
What impact will eVTOL aircrafts have on the traditional airline companies?
The future of eVTOL and its implications on the traditional airlines.
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