Volocopter Completes First Air Taxi Flight at an International Airport
31 August 2019 || 5 min read
Successful integration of piloted air taxi into Air Traffic Management system
Volocopter has successfully performed the first flight of an Air Taxi at an International Airport (Helsinki) integrated into both Air Traffic Management (ATM) and Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) systems.
This demonstration is the final component of the Gulf of Finland (GOF) u-space project showing how ATM and UTM systems will enable Urban Air Mobility (UAM). The GOF space project is a portion of the larger Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Program. The GOF U-space flight trial demonstrated how ATM and UTM can act in combination to enable safe and efficient air taxi operation in urban environments, including airports.
Source // ANS Finland
Air Traffic Management is an essential part of aviation keeping all air traffic participants in controlled airspace safe and ensuring efficient operations. Today, the system is primarily used by commercial airliners. New aviation technologies such as drones or air taxis plan to fly in the Very Low-Level Airspace (VLL), which is not yet controlled. SESAR is the technological pillar of Europe’s ambitious Single European Sky (SES) initiative to create one coordinated and integrated airspace for commercial, general and drone aviation alike. It pools all EU research and development activities in ATM, with more than 3,000 experts from around the world to develop the new generation of ATM.
Volocopter performed a series of tests with three different leading UTM service providers: AirMap, Altitude Angel and Unifly.These companies were participating in a project for UTM systems and services for the Very low level airspace, and were tested for compatibility, functionality and usability. Volocopter integrated the necessary software and hardware (position reporting sensors) to perform different test scenarios including ground tests, unmanned and piloted flights. This is important since Volocopter has the ability to utilize varying VLL platforms, increasing the breadth of serviceability locations.
“We are happy to say that all providers we tested were compatible with the Volocopter systems,” said Jan-Hendrik Boelens, CTO of Volocopter. “We know that air taxi technology is viable: certification has been defined by the EASA, we will build our first VoloPort infrastructure before the year is out and with the GOF U-Space demonstration we have now shown that the existing UTM technologies are viable for UAM. The indispensable aspects of the ecosystem exist, now it’s time to bring Urban Air Mobility to life.” GOF U-Space will present the result of all trials over the past year in early October in Helsinki and Tallinn respectively. These events are open for the public. The Volocopter will next fly publicly in Stuttgart, Germany on 14 September and present its VoloPort structure later this year in Singapore.
Why it’s important: Volocopter has accomplished a unique milestone in completing this flight as the company is advancing beyond design and development of its flight control and aerodynamic systems – and is moving toward full-scale integration of its air taxi that would support commercial air taxi operations in the future. This flight at Helsinki International Airport demonstrated the ability to integrate not only with existing Air Traffic Management (ATM) technologies, but also with UTM (low altitude airspace management) platforms as well. This integration pair is crucial to the large scale success of air taxi operations in the future.
Learn more about Volocopter. Source // Volocopter PR