The UK Air Mobility Consortium has delivered a concept of operations (Conops) for integrating eVTOL aircraft into existing airspace to the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The study was built around case studies exploring how urban air mobility (UAM) services could work to carry passengers across a network of vertiports between Heathrow Airport on the west side of the British capital and London City Airport on the east side, close to the main financial district.
The consortium included eVTOL aircraft developers Eve, Vertical Aerospace and Volocopter, as well as air traffic management groups NATS and Atech, ground infrastructure specialist and drone operator Skyports, and both of the London airports. Since January 2021, the project has been conducted through a partnership with the CAA’s Innovation Hub through its Regulatory Sandbox team as part of its Future Air Mobility Challenge.
“The infrastructure required to support the future implementation of UAM will be significant and a key element for the success of this new sector,” commented Frederic Laugere, who leads the CAA’s Innovation Services group.
According to the consortium, its first milestone accomplishment has been to establish a baseline describing the key regulatory challenges that need to be addressed to support safe, efficient, and scalable UAM operations. That has resulted in the CAA’s new Civil Aviation Publication 2272 document. The process involved leveraging quantitative data produced by computer modeling simulations to evaluate the proposed operating concepts, as well as input from multiple stakeholders to take account of their concerns and preferences.
“This Conops focuses primarily on the solutions necessary for near-term challenges that could impact initial commercial operations,” said Eve co-CEO Andre Stein. “The London use case and Conops provide a tangible example for the CAA to better understand the aims of UAM and support the development of future regulations accordingly. Our work also indicates how thriving the market for eVTOL flights in the UK will be in the future.”