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eVTOL operations a step closer in the UK as aviation regulator looks at vertiport design proposals

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has launched a consultation on design proposals for vertiports at existing aerodromes, paving the way for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft operations in the United Kingdom.

“Vertiports are sites used for the arrival, departure, and surface movement of VTOL aircraft” according to the CAA website. “With hundreds of airfields dotted across the UK, a network to connect communities by air will be possible with the introduction of this infrastructure.

“The policy will help prepare for eVTOL aircraft to operate in the UK. These aircraft, often referred to as air taxis, are designed to land and take off like helicopters, but are powered by electricity and have the potential to provide more efficient and sustainable ways to travel between cities and airports.

“The new consultation from UK’s aviation regulator looks to ensure that the future operations at the aerodromes looking to support the activities of these novel aircraft are safe, efficient, equitable and secure.

“The proposals put forward by the UK Civil Aviation Authority acknowledge that existing aerodromes are already equipped to handle aviation activities and are best placed to have the first design specifications for vertiports introduced.

“The factors being consulted on look at placing additional safety requirements on existing aerodromes should they want to establish VTOL aircraft operations. This includes:

  • “The design of operating areas.
  • “Obstacle limitation surfaces and visual aids.
  • “Rescue and firefighting services.

“The design principles set out will form the initial basis of bespoke vertiport design, the further detail of which will be established once VTOL aircraft manufacturers and operators provide further data.”

Sophie O’Sullivan, Head of Future Safety and Innovation, said “UK aerodromes are vital in unlocking the future of aviation operations. By leveraging existing regulation, we’re enabling future operators and aerodromes to develop their understanding and operational expertise, at the same time as growing our collective knowledge of the technology and operational scenarios to support this infrastructure.”

The consultation closes on 15 March 2024 and responses can be made via the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s dedicated consultation webpage.

For more information

https://www.caa.co.uk/newsroom/news/evtol-operations-a-step-closer-in-the-uk-as-aviation-regulator-looks-at-vertiport-design-proposals/

(Image: CAA)

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