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UDOT & USU conduct air taxi demonstration using state’s first vertiport

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), in collaboration with Utah State University (USU), has successfully launched the state’s first air taxi from a vertiport using a Bell 505 Helicopter. UDOT says the demonstration showcased how aircraft can take off and land near homes and businesses with minimal impacts.

“In his fiscal year 2025 budget, Governor Spencer Cox identified USD1.9 million in state funding for aerial transportation investments and the Utah legislature funded the request” according to the press release. “UDOT, in close collaboration with public and private-sector partners, is developing a regulatory sandbox to test advanced air mobility technologies statewide.

“The first-of-its-kind demonstration represents the culmination of years of in-depth research to identify suitable locations for vertiports along the Wasatch Front. A vertiport is a defined area used for aircraft that will carry packages and people in the future. Vertiports can range in type from parking lots to the tops of office buildings, and from airports to industrial complexes.”

Paul Damron, UDOT advanced air mobility manager said “We plan to create a well-functioning transportation system in the air that connects safely and seamlessly with the transportation system on the ground. This vertiport demonstration shows how the integration can be done well.”

Dr. Brent Chamberlain, USU associate professor in landscape architecture and environmental planning said “We determined there are many places of optimal vertiport sites in the region that could fit nicely into the local community fabric, supporting commerce and essential services.”

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(Image: Utah Department of Transportation)

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