By Chris Stonor
Now less than three years away, focus on the most significant future eVTOL event – the Paris Olympic Games 2024 – where the world’s unveiling of these aircraft takes place, is underway. Leading the charge is UK-based Skyports, who is planning and developing Europe’s first trial vertiport in France.
This will be designed, built and operated by Skyports at Groupe ADP’s Cergy-Pontoise Airfield in Paris, initially serving as “a technology testbed to provide a safe and realistic environment for Skyports and members of the initiative to integrate and test the critical technologies required to enable AAM in Europe,” reports a press release.
Inside of Vertiport
The program is part of the Re.Invent Air Mobility initiative led by French airport operator, Groupe ADP, global mobility company, RATP Group, and Choose Paris Region, a French agency for business and innovation.
This is the first development of its kind in Europe and is being supported by DGAC, the French Civil Aviation Authority and EASA, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.
Augustin de Romanet, Aéroports de Paris SA, Groupe ADP Chairman and CEO, commented, “Our Pontoise airfield brings together a unique ecosystem around new air mobility and the trial platform we are launching today is unprecedented in Europe. It will function as a concrete experiment to explore the field of possibilities of a decarbonised and innovative aviation, and to develop the low altitude aviation market (below 300 metres), which has been largely unexplored until now.”
He continued, “In Pontoise, we will test all the components of Urban Air Mobility. Groupe ADP will fully play its role as an aggregator of activities to facilitate the surge of new uses that reconcile a smaller environmental footprint, innovation and common utility.”
Augustin de Romanet
The trial vertiport is to be equipped with a suite of technologies including biometric identity management, re-charging equipment, situational awareness capabilities and weather stations. The data collected during the testing phase will be essential for the development of AAM regulatory frameworks.
Ankit Dass, CTO at Skyports, remarked, “Technology will play a critical role in ensuring the safety and operational efficiency of vertiports. The integration of technology is at the core of our design, development and operation.” Adding, “At Skyports we are developing our systems in collaboration with vehicle manufacturers, operators and leading aviation tech companies.”
The operational testbed will be used by leading eVTOL vehicle manufacturers such as Volocopter, Vertical Aerospace, Airbus, Pipistrel, eHang and others to conduct trial flights and demonstrations over the next three years in the run-up to the 2024 Olympics.
The vertiport will be constructed using modular technology, so that it can be easily relocated to a new location at the end of the program.
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