EASA releases framework for small VTOL operation

EASA is one of many airworthiness certification bodies addressing the issue of eVTOL operations. Earlier in 2019, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) released its own guidance on unmanned aerial vehicle airworthiness certification after consulting with five Chinese VTOL manufacturers, including EHang. CAAC plans to finalise a framework by the end of the year.

In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is also working to make sure eVTOL aircraft enter into service with the right safety legislation in place. In April 2019, the FAA issued its first airworthiness approval for unmanned drone deliveries to Wing, owned by Google parent company Alphabet.

Speaking at an event in June, acting FAA head Dan Elwell underscored the importance of avoiding the “wild west” situation that had resulted with the emergence of drones. “With drones, a whole new market appeared overnight, and we were left behind,” he said. “That is why we’re working with everyone to get it right this time.”

As more and more regulatory agencies and certification bodies work towards defining a framework for eVTOL operations, the chances of avoiding such a situation have never been better.

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