Policy and regulations

EASA proposes rules for eVTOL operations, including air taxis

Thursday, 19 October 2023

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued its recommendations for the safe operation of vertical take-off and landing aircraft (VTOL) within the European Union (EU), including electric VTOLs (eVTOLs) and urban air taxis.

EASA acknowledges the aerospace industry's efforts in developing innovative technologies, such as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and eVTOLs. These developments align with the European Commission's "Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy" within the framework of the 'smart, green, and digital' cities initiative.

In response, EASA has proposed amendments to existing regulations and introduced new ones in collaboration with the European Commission. EASA's recommendations cover three key areas:

1. Addressing the initial airworthiness of UAS, which must comply with current EU regulations.

2. Ensuring the ongoing airworthiness of UAS categorized under the "specific" category and subject to certification.

3. Implementing operational requirements for manned VTOL-capable aircraft (VCA).

Patrick Ky, EASA's Executive Director, expressed his satisfaction in presenting these recommendations to the European Commission. He emphasized that this proposal is the world's first comprehensive effort to address this emerging field. Ky believes that EASA's opinion will pave the way for a unified regulatory framework in the EU, promoting safe, sustainable, and secure VTOL operations.

Once these recommendations become law, manufacturers and operators will need to obtain the necessary approvals from relevant authorities. However, the regulatory framework for these operations will be fully established.

Patrick Ky concluded by noting that this marks the final piece of regulation needed to launch eVTOL and other urban air vehicle operations in the EU. His second five-year term as EASA's Executive Director ended on September 1, 2023, and he was succeeded by Luc Tytgat as the Acting Executive Director.

Meanwhile, in the United States (US), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has introduced its own plan for integrating eVTOLs and Urban Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) vehicles into US airspace. The FAA's rules aim to streamline entry into service by optimizing existing procedures and infrastructure.

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