Regulators in the UK and the US have announced plans to collaborate on certifying electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft. eVTOL aircraft use electric power to hover, take off, and land vertically.
The Civil Aviation Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration will develop type certifications which will indicate that future aircraft are approved for use and testifies that the type of aircraft meets safety requirements.
The announcement was made yesterday by both parties at the Global Urban & Advanced Air Summit, taking place in Farnborough, UK.
Roadmap for developers
Both agencies hope to build on existing bilateral safety pacts to help lay out a roadmap for eVTOL developers to gain approvals more quickly on both on both sides of the pond.
UK and US officials both expressed their commitment to making entry to the market for newcomers as streamlined as possible. Tim Johnson, CAA Policy Director, commented that several eVTOL developers had expressed desire to gain certification through UK channels specifically.
A pragmatic approach is that which the CAA hopes to adopt when it comes to certifying new planes, Mr Johnson added – “We are not going to adopt technical differences just for the sake of it.”
Key hurdles remain
The main hurdles for eVTOL developers with regard to introducing commercial operations are certifying new power source and flight control systems, according to Jay Merkle, Executive Director of the FAA’s UAS integration office. eVTOL developers must be “realistic” about the time needed to get them into service.
With industry giants Airbus and Embraer, among others, developing and investing in eVTOL technology, there are concerns that government regulation may not be able to keep up with the pace of this booming market. Commentators say some manufacturers hope to get their aircraft in service by the decade end.
With type certification, product certification and approval from operational authorities all yet to be set in stone before eVTOLs can operate commercially at scale, it certainly appears that there is still some way to go before we begin to do away with the aircraft of today.
How soon do you see eVTOLs operating commercially at scale? Let us know in the comments below.