Third building block to enable safe VTOL operation and new air mobility in Europe

Cologne, Germany, May 25, 2020 - The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) today published proposed methods how to certify hybrid or electric air taxis (VTOL). Therefore, the Agency invites stakeholders and other interested parties to review the plans and provide their comments. 

This is the latest milestone in EASA’s roadmap to enable safe VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) operations and new air mobility in Europe. The first building block published in July 2019 contained the certification framework for manufacturers to start developing innovative air taxi vehicles (Special Condition VTOL).

The second block proposed certification requirements for electric and/or hybrid propulsion systems and is currently subject to a public consultation until June 19, 2020. 

Now that the industry is moving from prototypes into more mature designs, guidance on how to comply with the certification requirements is needed. The third block published today therefore proposes means of compliance for key certification requirements such as the structural design envelope, flight load conditions, crashworthiness, capability after bird impact, design of fly-by-wire systems, safety assessment process, lightning protection and minimum handling qualities rating. 

These subjects were identified and discussed with industry members and representatives from other aviation authorities worldwide. The requirements and guidance cater for a wide variety of flying vehicle architectures and enable innovative designs. The scope for the guidance remains “person-carrying small VTOL aircraft with 3 or more lift/thrust units used to generate powered lift and control”. 

Some preliminary information - presented at the last EASA Rotorcraft & VTOL Symposium in December 2019 - is available online. The Agency will continue working with industry to enable them to develop new forms of mobility. This will be followed by additional guidance to extend progressively towards new technologies as they emerge. 

The next package of guidance material will be presented during the 2020 EASA Rotorcraft and VTOL Symposium scheduled November 10 - 12, 2020 as part of the new Rotorcraft event EUROPEAN ROTORS