In 2021, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced its goal for the global aviation industry to meet net-zero emissions by 2050. The International Civil Aviation Organisation reinforced the commitment to this target at the most recent UN Climate Change Conference. While there are a number of ways to drive aircraft decarbonisation, in recent years, there has been an increased focus on sustainable fuel to power flight.
Hail a black cab on a busy London street, and you can assume that the driver will follow the ‘rules of the road’ to your destination. However, what can a commuter expect when taxis begin to take flight?
With Airbus, Boeing and even Uber, amongst others, developing and investing in electric take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, the concept of flying taxis is quickly becoming a reality rather than a concept relegated to Sci-Fi. Test flights are currently being conducted on eVTOL aircraft, and while estimations for their commercial roll-out vary, it is likely we will see flying taxis in the next few years. One market research company has estimated that 430,000 air taxis will be in operation by 2040. As such, ‘rules of the air’ are in order for the safe operation of air taxis.…
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (‘CAA’) announced last week that it will use the certification standards informing the ‘Special Condition for small-category VTOL aircraft’ (the ‘Special Condition’ or ‘SC-VTOL’), developed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (‘EASA)’, as the basis for the certification of new models of electric vertical take-off and landing (‘eVTOL’) aircraft in the UK.
What is SC-VTOL?
EASA pioneered VTOL certification through the issuance of the Special Condition on 2 July 2019, which sets out the technical specifications and requirements developers must meet to achieve certification for new models of VTOL aircraft intended to carry passengers.
In doing so it recognised that VTOL aircraft are an entirely new category of vehicle for regulators, noting in the preamble to the Special Condition that ‘despite having design characteristics of aeroplanes, rotorcraft or both, in most cases EASA was not able to classify these new vehicles as being either a conventional aeroplane or a rotorcraft as covered by the existing certification specifications.’
The Special Condition applies to small rotorcraft with:
- a passenger seating configuration of nine or fewer; and
- a maximum certified take-off mass of 3,175 kg.
It is now confirmed that the CAA will use SC-VTOL as a basis for the certification of eVTOL aircraft in the UK.…