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Volocopter flies at Helsinki airport in air traffic management demo

Volocopter on Aug. 29 successfully flew its 2X multicopter at Helsinki International Airport in the final demonstration of the Gulf of Finland (GOF) U-Space project.

Volocopter eVTOL Helsinki
With the GOF U-Space demonstration, “we have now shown that the existing UTM technologies are viable for UAM,” said Volocopter CTO Jan-Hendrik Boelens.

Certified test pilot Damian Hischier was at the controls of the eVTOL aircraft during the demonstration, which showed that the aircraft could successfully integrate into both air traffic management (ATM) and unmanned aircraft system traffic management (UTM) systems, a prerequisite for safe and efficient air taxi operations in urban environments.

The project was conducted within the framework of the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) program, the technological pillar of Europe’s Single European Sky (SES) initiative to create one coordinated and integrated airspace for commercial, general, and drone aviation alike. As project coordinator Maria Tamm from Estonian Air Navigation Services (EANS) explained, “As air traffic continues to rise in number and kinds — especially with the arrival of unmanned aircrafts and air taxis — the technology and rules for using VLL [very low-level] airspace needs updating.”

For the demonstration at Helsinki International Airport, Volocopter performed a series of tests with three different leading UTM service providers — AirMap, Altitude Angel, and Unifly — assessing compatibility, functionality, and usability. For the tests, Volocopter integrated the necessary software and hardware (position report sensor) to perform different test scenarios including ground tests, unmanned, and piloted flights.

“We are happy to say that all providers we tested were compatible with the Volocopter systems,” stated Jan-Hendrik Boelens, CTO of Volocopter, in a press release. “As a member of the SESAR consortium, we have the rare opportunity to work at the forefront of integrating ATM/UTM with all relevant stakeholders at the table: regulators, airports, air navigation service providers and UTM providers. This pan-European ATM initiative puts another indispensable part of urban air mobility ecosystem into place.”

GOF U-Space will present the result of all trials over the past year in public presentations planned for early October in Helsinki and Tallinn.

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