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EASA consults on new regulatory framework for VTOL aircraft operations

The NPA proposes new and amended acceptable means of compliance and guidance material (AMC and GM) related to Opinion No 03/2023 which introduced such innovative operational and mobility concepts. The NPA aims to foster the evolution of the manned VCA market, support innovation and development in the IAM field, and reinforce its acceptance by European citizens.

For Air Ops, this NPA proposes the AMC & GM to the draft implementing rules on IAM operations that were published with EASA Opinion No 03/2023.

The AMC & GM were developed with the primary objective of ensuring safe IAM operations taking into account the VCA specificities and expected operational risks, especially in congested (urban) areas. The main concerns regarding IAM operations relate to the pre-flight preparation, selection of vertiports and diversion locations as well as fuel/energy management. Therefore, the main efforts focused on the development of the means to demonstrate compliance with important operational requirements such as:
— the preparation of an operational flight plan for each intended flight in VFR day conditions with the surface in sight;
— the use of adequate vertiports, diversion locations and VEMS operating sites, including the policy and procedures for their selection and the associated documentation. The relevant AMC & GM will assist operators also in complying with weather minima and fuel/energy scheme requirements;
— the use of diversion locations in cross-border operations;
— the establishment of a point of commitment for landing at the destination from which at least two safe landing options should be selected. The pilot-in-command (PIC) should make sure that the committed landing option is available and the remaining energy is sufficient to perform a safe landing;
— the establishment of a final fuel/energy reserve amount and protection. The flight should be so planned that from any point along the route, should a critical failure for performance (CFP) occur, a safe landing can be performed with the final fuel/energy reserve preserved. For that purpose, the IAM operator should consider the certified minimum performance (CMP) data set of the VCA obtained by considering the effect of single failures and combinations of failures that are not extremely improbable on the nominal performance parameters. If in flight the reserve fuel/energy reserve can no longer be protected, then a fuel emergency should be declared.

The specific objectives of the proposed amendments are to:

  • enable operators to safely implement the applicable regulations to operate manned VCA in the single European sky (SES);
  • ensure that the conditions are met as regards the safe operation of manned VCA in the ATM environment;
  • support innovation and development in the field of innovative air mobility (IAM) through the implementation of an efficient, proportionate, and well-designed regulatory framework which does not unnecessarily hinder the development of the manned VCA market;
  • provide guidance to the competent authorities of the EU Member States for the application of the regulations on manned VCA;
  • provide guidance to manufacturers and operators of manned VCA for the deployment of operations with manned VCA.

View the document here

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