…and on VTOLS
EASA has also released what it calls ‘the first building block’ to enable the safe operation of hybrid and electrical vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. Its aim is ‘to provide the framework for manufacturers to develop innovative person-carrying VTOL heavier-than-air aircraft in the small category, with lift/thrust units used to generate powered lift and control’. This ‘small’ category covers aircraft with passenger capacities of nine or less and MTOWS up to 3,175kg.
Two certification categories are proposed, Basic and Enhanced, linked to the intended type of operation, says EASA. ‘A direct relationship between airworthiness and types of operations already exist, for example when certifying for VFR or IFR operations. Introducing this additional link provides greater scalability in setting safety objectives and allows to assign the highest safety levels of Category Enhanced to protection of third-parties when flying over congested areas and commercial air transport of passengers. Operational rules can then be built on demonstrated aircraft safety levels and adapted as necessary to local particularities. The current regulatory framework has initially been designed for conventional fixed-wing aircraft, rotorcraft, balloons and sailplanes. Propulsion was mostly provided by piston or turbine engines using fossil fuels. The introduction of new technologies and concepts of air transport requires to revisit this framework.’