A group of aerospace companies said they have completed a concept of operations (CONOPs) showing how air taxi services could be integrated in the U.K. airspace. Its findings are intended to help inform the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), giving the agency recommendations on how to reshape future regulations to support novel technologies and concepts.
The CONOPs was developed around a London case study, which involved computer modelling simulation flights where passengers were transported between a network of vertiports from Heathrow Airport to London City Airport.
Along with the data derived from those simulations, the consortium said it also conducted interactive reviews with the CAA Innovation Hub and its subject matter experts, and held a series of stakeholder engagements to understand concerns and needs related to eVTOL operations.
“This CONOPs focuses primarily on the solutions necessary for near-term challenges that could impact initial commercial [eVTOL] operations,” said Andre Stein, co-CEO of Eve, which is leading the consortium.
Other partners include air navigation service provider NATS, Heathrow Airport, London City Airport, infrastructure operator Skyports, Embraer’s air traffic management subsidiary Atech, German-based eVTOL company Volocopter, and U.K.-based eVTOL developer Vertical Aerospace.
“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,” Stein said. “Our work also indicates how thriving the market for eVTOL flights in the U.K. will be in the future.”
Frederic Laugere, U.K. CAA innovation services lead, said the infrastructure needed to support future UAM operations will be a “key element for the success of this new sector. The significant detail in this report and its real-world scenario means it paves the way to make UAM a reality.”
The consortium joined the CAA’s regulatory sandbox in January 2021 as part of its Future Air Mobility Challenge to explore the airspace designs, regulations, and infrastructure needed to integrate UAM operations in the U.K.’s low-level airspace. The group had published the first phase of its results in October.