The Federal Aviation Administration has taken another key step toward safely enabling advanced air mobility this week by proposing a comprehensive rule for training and certifying pilots.  

“These proposed rules of the sky will safely usher in this new era of aviation and provide the certainty the industry needs to develop,” said Acting Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety David Boulter. 

New rules are necessary because many of the proposed aircraft take off and land like a helicopter but fly enroute like an airplane. The powered-lift proposed rule is designed to provide certainty to pilots and the industry on what the requirements and expectations will be to operate these aircraft once it is finalized. Under the proposed rule: 

  • A clear pathway is proposed for pilots to earn powered-lift ratings specific to each type of aircraft they fly. 
  • Pilots who work for powered-lift aircraft manufacturers could serve as the initial cadre of flight instructors, who could then train instructors at flight schools, training centers and air carriers. 
  • To safely accelerate pilot certification, alternate eligibility criteria would enable certain pilots to meet flight-time experience requirements faster. This would apply to pilots who already hold a commercial pilot certificate and are instrument rated. 
  • Powered-lift aircraft would follow the same set of operating rules as traditional aircraft that are used in private and commercial flights and air tours. 

The proposal would conform to International Civil Aviation Organization requirements, enabling U.S. pilots to operate in other countries. 

Individuals can comment on the proposed rule for 60 days after it publishes in the Federal Register.

The proposed rule closely follows another integration milestone. Last month, the FAA released an updated blueprint for airspace and procedure changes to accommodate future air taxis.  

For more information, visit the FAA’s Advanced Air Mobility website.

Why it’s important: The FAA has published their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for powered-lift aircraft operations. This rule-making effort is critical to defining the certification path for civil operation of many eVTOL air taxis currently in development, and emphasizes a collaborative effort to best recruit expert knowledge from throughout the industry.

Posted by Naish Gaubatz