Volocopter announced on January 15th that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has accepted their application for concurrent Type Certificate validation which they submitted earlier in December. This sets the basis for Volocopter to bring their electric air taxi services to the American market.
Volocopter is the first and only electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) company in the world with Design Organization Approval (DOA), which gives them license to develop and build certified aircraft from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The company is currently in the process of receiving EASA Type Certification for their multi passenger VoloCity aircraft, and is now concurrently seeking FAA approval to enter the U.S. market with its EASA type certificate in order to accelerate its worldwide expansion.
Volocopter stated in a press release that they’re focused on promoting seamless, 100% electric mobility within congested cities, and have engaged in partnerships with Singapore, Paris, and Dubai as global pioneer cities for the aerial mobility industry.
“By focusing on a collaborative approach to success, we are bringing excellence, expertise, and experience to the table together with our partners, and with that, we are leading the way to bring urban air mobility to life in cities around the globe,” said Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter. He added that certification was a primary consideration for Volocopter while creating their aircraft, and that design considerations took into account requirements of certification. Ideally, this will allow a quicker timeline to certification once flight testing and data collection efforts become required.
The VoloCity, Volocopter’s electric air taxi, is designed to meet the highest aircraft safety standards and features the lowest noise development in the industry. Volocopter developed the VoloCity specifically to meet growing demand for better intra-city mobility in large cities like Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. among others. Volocopter added that these types of aircraft would promote job creation in deployment cities and that the ultimate target is on-demand air taxi services that are of comparable costs to a traditional taxi.
Volocopter is currently working with EASA on certification for commercial launch planned in the next 2-3 years. When Volocopter receives type certification approval from EASA, immediately followed by the FAA validation in this timeframe, they will be positioned to enter the electric air taxi market and pave the way for the UAM industry to expand services globally.
Another component of this certification announcement from the FAA is the availability of concurrent type certificate validation. Concurrent type certification validation allows Volocopter to show compliance to their regulatory governing board, EASA, whereby the FAA would then claim concurrent credit for these activities. What’s not known is how the FAA will either honor or create additional requirements to the Special Conditions for eVTOL certification that EASA has created, given VoloCity will be an aircraft of novel configuration without an similar comparator that has previously been certified.
Why it’s important: The FAA’s agreement to allow for concurrent type certificate validation reduces a huge amount of certification workload for Volocopter and will pave the way towards an FAA certified aircraft in the coming years. The industry should now expect many European eVTOL makers to follow a similar path, though EASA concurrent type certification of FAA natively certified aircraft has not yet come to fruition.