- 21 Apr 2021 01:40 PM
VFS eVTOL Infrastructure Workshop Review — Advancing Technology through Policy
By Rex Alexander, VFS Infrastructure Advisor, and Jim Sherman, Director of Strategic Development
Vertiflite, May/June 2021
Since 2014, the Vertical Flight Society has been leading efforts to promote the advancement of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and their operations for a variety of advanced air mobility (AAM) missions, including for the subset of urban air mobility (UAM).
On March 2–4, VFS held its fourth semi-annual Workshop on eVTOL Infrastructure for UAM (www.vtol.org/infrastructure) to enhance the understanding and requirements of eVTOL technology and AAM infrastructure. While the goal of these workshops is centered on education, the primary objective has always been to provide attendees with actionable information they can use today for the development of AAM infrastructure tomorrow.
Starting with the first workshop, held in Washington, DC, in September 2019, VFS has provided a collaborative environment where stakeholders can come together to discuss the defining challenges for advancing eVTOL aircraft infrastructure, with a focus on identifying a successful path forward. Previous workshops have focused on identifying challenges and potential technology solutions; this fourth workshop focused on policy at all levels. VFS, along with many others, recognizes that to advance eVTOL as an efficient, sustainable and inclusive transportation model, a cornerstone for success must be the implementation of comprehensive and standardized policy that clearly addresses the technology and informs all interested parties.
To that end, the fourth workshop was dedicated to the development of standardized AAM state and municipality policy. Each of the three days was divided into specific areas of interest. The first day was dedicated to identifying current and future challenges with three separate panels led by Yolanka Wulff and Anna Dietrich of the Community Air Mobility Initiative (CAMI) and Todd Petersen from Ellis & Associates.
The second day focused on state and municipality strategic considerations. The moderators for the three panels were Zach Shuman of Woolpert, Scott Cary of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Rex Alexander of Five-Alpha.
Tying together days one and two, the final day focused on how policy could be best leveraged to advance AAM technology. This included a deep dive into aviation planning conducted by a panel led by Matt Metcalfe of Deloitte, followed by Dawn Zoldi of P3 Tech Consulting with a legal review panel discussion. The day wrapped up with Michael Dyment of NEXA Capital Partners and a panel discussion on hydrogen-powered eVTOL infrastructure policy.
The workshop was a great success as it peeled back numerous layers of the policy puzzle that must first be solved to make way for this advanced transportation technology. VFS is grateful to PS&S and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) for their sponsorship of the program, and to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and CAMI for their partnership in organizing the event.
The next infrastructure workshop is being planned for September 2021, and the agenda will expand to encompass the greater focus of AAM infrastructure operations and safety.
If you have missed or been unable to attend the workshops, the most recent three (which were virtual) have been recorded and can be accessed via the VFS website, linked from www.vtol.org/infrastructure. Presentations from all the workshops are available for purchase in the VFS store. The outputs from these workshops represent some of the most comprehensive information available in the industry on the topic of AAM infrastructure development.
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