NASA has wrapped up the second round of integrated dry run tests for its Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) National Campaign, setting the stage for developmental testing with Joby Aviation’s eVTOL air taxi prototype.
The “build two” tests took place in March at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, using a Bell OH-58C Kiowa helicopter provided by Flight Research Inc. Tests pilots used the helicopter to simulate various urban air mobility (UAM) flight profiles, including instrument flight rule approaches to heliports and vertiports, terminal area hover tasks, diverting in the case of flight changes, and avoiding buildings.
“By using a helicopter as a surrogate air taxi vehicle, we were able to exercise our data collection systems, scenarios, and test techniques,” explained Shivanjli Sharma, deputy lead for the AAM National Campaign, in a press release. “This will inform gaps in policy and standards to enable certification and operation of a wide range of UAM vehicles in the national airspace.”
The team is now preparing to conduct flight tests with Joby’s eVTOL aircraft to lay the groundwork for National Campaign (NC)-1 in 2022. Activities will include designing flight scenarios for the NC-1 participants to fly, testing acoustics, and exercising range deployment and data collection protocols across operational safety use cases, NASA said.