Volocopter has announced a strategic partnership with global aviation simulation provider CAE to develop a training program for pilots of its electric air taxis.
The German eVTOL developer said it plans to leverage CAE’s advanced technologies — including artificial intelligence, virtual reality, mixed reality, and data analytics — to “develop the pilot workforce of the future and ensure safe introduction of eVTOL operations globally.” Volocopter is currently pursuing European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification of its two-seat VoloCity aircraft with the goal of launching commercial operations in time for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, and in a number of international cities within the next five years.
Under the partnership, Volocopter will purchase a simulator from CAE to be used in its pilot training program certification, and CAE will create new, student-centric courseware as Volocopter’s courseware provider. CAE intends to invest up to US$40 million to expand its worldwide training network to support Volocopter’s projected demand for pilots in the early years of operation, “deploying training equipment and instructors in lockstep with Volocopter’s growth.”
“As we scale our UAM [urban air mobility] services in cities around the world, specific pilot training and qualification for our Volocopters will be an important element,” Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter stated in a press release. “We are proud to be partnering with CAE, who have a track record in developing best-in-class, innovative pilot training solutions for new aircraft programs. It will greatly benefit Volocopter’s entry-into-service timeline and scale.”
Nick Leontidis, CAE’s group president, Civil Aviation Training Solutions, said: “We are committed to supporting Volocopter’s inspiring vision and we look forward to leading in the design of UAM pilot training that prioritizes safety of operations through our data-driven solutions, world-class pilot training experience, and longstanding relationships with civil aviation authorities across the globe.”
Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, CAE recently established an advanced air mobility division specifically focused on pilot training solutions for crewed eVTOL aircraft. In a recent white paper, the company projects that the advent of UAM will create “an unprecedented new workforce requirement” on top of the demand for pilots in the airline industry and business aviation.
Although most eVTOL developers are ultimately aiming for autonomous operations, it is expected that the first UAM aircraft will have onboard pilots to meet existing regulatory and air traffic management requirements.