2019 has been a year of rapid expansion into the urban aerial mobility industry for the NBAA.  

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has shown prominent support of aerial mobility technology and infrastructure throughout the year. NBAA’s support for UAM was evident at the recent Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), which featured, for the first time, an exhibit area for UAM aircraft, many education sessions about this emerging technology and the release of a report, co-authored by NBAA and NEXA Advisors, detailing the financial and business case for UAM.

Related: Aerial Mobility Takes Center Stage at NBAA Las Vegas

Photo of the Bell Nexus air taxi from NBAA-BACE Las Vegas 2019. Credit // NBAA

The business aviation community continues to evolve, and NBAA is looking internally for ways to shift its focus toward UAM as the industry continues to gain traction and feasibility. As a result, the NBAA is adding to its board of directors two new members who bring backgrounds in UAM and aviation systems and aerospace. These additions are Kate Fraser, who is head of safety for California-based eVTOL developer Joby Aviation, and Charlie Precourt, a former astronaut who is v-p and general manager of propulsion systems at Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems.

Before her work at Joby, Fraser led aviation policy for Uber and has worked with regulators and policymakers to pave a path for UAM. She also has served with the FAA’s Office of Accident Investigation and Prevention, collaborating with industry partners on both the Commercial Aviation Safety Team in Europe and South America and the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee.

In a press release, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen had the following to say:

Joby Aviation S4

Joby Aviation’s eVTOL prototype, for which NBAA board member Kate Fraser is the Safety Lead. Credit // Joby Aviation

NBAA is honored to have the diversity of experience and knowledge that Kate and Charlie bring to our board, which will help inform and enhance NBAA’s programs and operations. As both an aviation young professional and an urban air mobility pioneer, Kate brings fresh ideas and future vision to our organization. Charlie, as a propulsion expert and former astronaut, brings to NBAA deep aviation systems and aerospace experience.”

Also in 2019, NBAA became a founding member of the Community Air Mobility Initiative (CAMI), a new Washington-based organization dedicated to providing communities and policy makers with the information and tools that will be vital to the successful integration of UAM aircraft into daily transportation options. Other founding members of CAMI include Bell, Joby Aviation, and Karem Aircraft. CAM, CAE, NBAA senior vice president of strategy and innovation, Mike Nichols, reinforced:

NBAA is a strong proponent of UAM and eVTOL, as there’s a clear connection to this technology for business aviation – whether it’s transporting employees within or between cities, or connecting transportation centers with local businesses. We have a great infrastructure in place with our regional representatives and regional business aviation groups to advocate in support of UAM and we look forward to working with CAMI to achieve this.

Why it’s important: The NBAA is an outspoken and valuable proponent for the advancement of aerial mobility technology and infrastructural development in the upcoming decade. Recently, it applauded the Trump administration for its attention to UAM and eVTOL technology in its 2020 budget priorities. The 2020s are expected to see an expansion of UAM aircraft – both developers and operators – and the backing of the NBAA is vital to garnering public support and financial adoption.

Sources // NBAA; AINOnline

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Posted by George Gatsios

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