FAA Nolen Addresses National Airspace Safety in the Era of Advanced Air Mobility

On August 3, Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen spoke about the capabilities of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) at the White House Summit and emphasized the need to address risks if the technology is to live up to its potential.

“With AAM, we are likely to see electric powered taxis landing in your city, taking you across town or perhaps to the airport in just minutes, while the same car journey would have taken much longer. AAM planes can also be used to transport larger goods. , or assistance in firefighting, air ambulance and search and rescue operations.

And AAM could ultimately be a more equitable form of transportation, as it has the potential to connect disadvantaged rural communities with big cities. This may be particularly beneficial for communities that depend on aviation, such as in Alaska. And because these vehicles will be powered by electric power, they can provide a more sustainable means of transportation.”

Nolen said the technology is “on the way” and revealed that two companies expect to receive FAA certification for their AAM vehicles as early as 2024.

While developing these vehicles, the FAA is working to establish operational rules and standards for pilot training and how these new vehicles can best be integrated into the national airspace system.

“We are adjusting our regulatory approach to enable powered lift operations including certification of powered lift vehicles and the pilots who operate them. In the long term, the agency plans to continue developing permanent regulations to safely enable electric lift operations and pilot training and certification.

AAM also has unique qualities compared to conventional aviation. So we also have to think differently. For example, aircraft pilots are traditionally required to communicate with air traffic controllers. But what if the software that enables an autonomous vehicle to stay in the air also allows it to safely separate itself from other aircraft?

“As with all aspects of aviation that came before, this new era will be an evolution, as progress to the next step will depend on safety. As safety regulators, it is the mission of the FAA and its peers around the world to help ensure that innovation does not come to Safety Calculation Safety should be viewed as an enabler, because nothing will establish these innovations faster than accidents or accidents.

“And just like with drones, we learn and address community concerns about AAM operations in and around urban areas. For this effort, we engage with state, local, and tribal governments and communities.

“One of our initiatives is to work with NASA on a national campaign to help communities learn about AAM. We have been testing AAM concepts, collecting data in areas such as automated flight plan communications, BVLOS, traffic avoidance, path management and approaches to landing and takeoff areas.

“There is a lot of work to be done to move towards AAM integration and we will need a broad range of voices at the table. We encourage communities to get involved now, while we are in these early stages, and we need to continue to listen to the industry, many of which are represented here today.

“We are also networking globally. Many of the players seeking to operate AAM in the United States are also seeking to operate in other countries. Therefore, the FAA is working with civil aviation authorities from other countries to explore how we can coordinate our integration strategies.

“Two weeks ago, I was in the UK to meet with aviation officials in government and industry around the world. I was encouraged to see that many US and UK manufacturers of AAMs are moving through their home country certification process and are now asking to be verified by their US or British counterparts.

“We are working to establish these operations. One example of this is a group called the National Aviation Authorities Network, a partnership that includes the Federal Aviation Administration, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

“Through this group, we are looking at how to align our certification processes and standards for AAM aircraft. We are keen to work with other nations so we can share experiences and share progress with each other.

“Only a short time ago, the idea of ​​airlifting prescription drugs to your door during a pandemic or taking a flying car to the airport was a science fiction. Today, there is a real opportunity for these technologies to become an everyday reality. This industry is writing and rewriting the history of aviation in time. Actual, we have the opportunity to lay the foundation for the next decade while inspiring the next generation.

“We must continue to work together – across government, industry and with our international partners – to ensure that these technologies are safe and sustainable. Then and only then, will they deliver on their promise.”

Read Acting Director Nolin’s letter at the FAA

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