FAA Issues Updated ‘Blueprint’ for Air Mobility Operations

The Federal Aviation Administration recently released what it is calling an “updated blueprint” for airspace protocols to accommodate future air taxis and other Advanced Air Mobility or AAM operations.

[Above image by the FAA]

Under this new blueprint, the rules governing air taxi and AAM aerial operations will mirror the protocols followed by most helicopters, FAA said – using existing routes and infrastructure such as helipads and early vertiports. Pilots will communicate with air traffic controllers where required, the agency noted in a statement.

The operational blueprint is a key step — along with certifying the aircraft and pilots — in the FAA’s effort to safely usher in and support this next era of aviation. The blueprint aims to provide a common frame of reference to the FAA, NASA, and industry stakeholders to help guide their research and decision-making.

As the number of operations increases, air taxis are expected to fly in corridors between major airports and vertiports in city centers. The complexity of the corridors could increase over time from single one-way paths to routes serving multiple flows of aircraft flying in both directions, FAA noted – adding that, over time, those corridors could link an increasing number of routes between vertiports.

The FAA said it expects aircraft technology will evolve as well, with aircraft automation and real-time data sharing between aircraft will likely play increasing roles in these corridors.

On a related note, the agency added that – in partnership with the Association for Uncrewed Vehicle Systems International or AUVSI – it will co-host the 8th Annual FAA Drone Symposium and the first-ever AAM Summit August 1-3 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland.

The agency said in a separate statement that those two events will bring together representatives from the FAA, other government agencies, international aviation experts, industry leaders and academia. The presenters and panelists will discuss the latest information and advancements related to the diverse uses of drones and the safe integration of AAM aircraft, like air taxis, into the National Airspace System.

The theme of the 2023 drone symposium is “Time to Accelerate,” with sessions and workshops focused on how the FAA continues to safely integrate drones while creating a regulatory framework to accelerate advanced operations such as beyond visual line of sight and UAS Traffic Management or UTM.

Meanwhile, the theme for the agency’s first-ever AAM Summit is “Leveraging the Skies,” with sessions and workshops will focus on how air taxis and electric vertical take-off and landing or eVTOL aircraft will change the future of aviation. FAA panelists and speakers will highlight the agency’s ongoing work to enable safe, efficient and secure operations that “meet the high safety standards the public expects and deserves.”

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