Initial detailed guidance for the design of vertiports, the take-off and landing zones for urban air mobility vehicles, has been drawn up by the European aviation safety regulator.
Infrastructure requirements for eVTOL and similar vehicles will assist the industry and urban planners to create safe vertiport designs, says the European Union Aviation Safety Agency.
The guidance covers such aspects as dimensions and visual aids, approach and take-off areas, downwash protection, taxi routes, and protected side slopes, as well as emergency procedures.
EASA will develop a fuller set of regulatory requirements under a rulemaking procedure which will include design specifications plus operational and regulatory oversight considerations.
“Urban air mobility is a completely new field of aviation and we therefore have a unique opportunity to develop a set of infrastructure requirements from scratch,” states EASA executive director Patrick Ky.
He says EASA wants to provide a “gold standard” in frameworks for vertiport operation and design, and ensure they are harmonised.
With vertiports likely to be located within cities – such is the localised transport advantage envisioned by VTOL developers – the guidance will offer “new and innovative solutions”, adds EASA.
These include a funnel-shaped zone above the vertiport which will be designated an obstacle-free volume.
“This concept is tailored to the operational capabilities of the new VTOL aircraft, which can perform landing and take-off with a significant vertical segment,” says EASA.
It adds that omnidirectional trajectories will also be achievable in some cases, offering more flexibility to deal with noise restrictions than conventional heliport operations.