The group, announced at the HeliTech Expo in London, will consider the safety challenges that need to be solved to allow eVTOL aircraft and drone taxis to come to market.
The eVTOL Safety Leadership Group (eVSLG) consortium contains potential operators, existing rotorcraft experts and aviation companies, including the Bristow Helicopters and Virgin Atlantic, as well as eVTOL manufacturers such as Joby and Vertical Aerospace.
While eVTOL aircraft are not yet in operation, these vehicles have the potential to launch commercially in the UK within the next five years. To begin operations and receive regulatory approval, any aircraft needs to stand up to the strictest standards of aviation safety.
An open space for industry
The eVSLG consortium is an open space for industry and is outside of usual Civil Aviation Authority governance and assurance processes. The group is Co-Chaired by the Head of the UK Civil Aviation Authority's Rapid Capabilities Office, Rick Newson, and Matt Rhodes from Bristow Helicopters, who is also co-Chair of the Offshore Helicopter Safety Leadership Group.
Commenting on the launch, Newson said: “The formation of the eVSLG consortium is a significant milestone toward a future of eVTOL aircraft and drone taxis becoming a reality in UK airspace. With commercial operations potentially starting in the next five years, it is vital that a strong safety culture is built into the heart of eVTOL operations.”
Rhodes added: “The vertical flight industry has evolved significantly over the last half century. Many of the lessons learned, practices and procedures that have been developed over this period, will undoubtedly read across into this new era of powered vertical flight.”
Recently, Dufour Aerospace and Swiss air rescue Rega have signed a letter of intent to cooperate on development of an air ambulance version of Dufour’s tilt-wing Aero3 eVTOL aircraft.