EASA, the regulating aviation authority for the European Union, has released guidance for the development of vertiports supporting aerial mobility. The specifications are built to give private developers and government officials information to make informed decisions and design choices about the operation of eVTOL aircraft at vertiports.

EASA prescribes an “obstacle free volume” for eVTOL operation in their recent guide to vertiport builders.

With safety and environmental impact at the top of the priority list for EASA, the specifications aim to illustrate how vertiport facilities can integrate into dense urban environment without negatively impacting the surrounding areas.  This is first achieved by prescribing an “obstacle free volume” above the site, similar to regulations surrounding approach airspace into existing commercial airports. The study also recommends developers explore the development of noise abatement procedures to minimize impact on the urban environment. 

“Urban air mobility is a completely new field of aviation and we therefore have a unique opportunity to develop a set of infrastructure requirements from scratch,” Patrick Ky, Executive Director of EASA said. “With the world’s first guidance for safe vertiport operations, EASA’s ambition is to provide our stakeholders with the ‘gold standard’ when it comes to safe vertiport design and operational frameworks. By harmonizing design and operational standards for vertiports we will support European industry, who are already starting to embark on exciting projects in Europe and around the world to make new urban air mobility a reality.”

The specifications were authored by EASA in cooperation with leading manufactures and infrastructure developers. The next step will be for EASA to develop hard coded regulatory requirements for vertiport design, construction, and operation. 

Why it matters: As eVTOL products near entry to commercial service, the infrastructure space is heating up just as much. With the development of standardized landing and takeoff facilities, regulators will have an opportunity to create a safe and minimally envasive environment for aerial mobility. As EASA continues to develop regulations for aerial mobility, expect so see similar studies from the FAA and other regulatory bodies.

Posted by Ross Piscoran