Training pilots for the AAM age

With development within the AAM market gaining pace, aviation consultants VertX Aero are looking at one of the next steps to helping the industry lift off – training the pilots.…

With development within the AAM market gaining pace, aviation consultants VertX Aero are looking at one of the next steps to helping the industry lift off – training the pilots.

Co-founder Julie Garland said the company was bringing in experience from within existing aviation sectors to inform the development of training in the eVTOL space. She explained: “What we’re looking at is pilot training in the eVTOL – we have these hybrid pilots now who are a cross between a helicopter pilot when we’re going up and down and a fixed wing pilot when we’re flying in vertical flight.”

“So we need to bring the confidence of manned aviation but then look towards this hybrid method of flying aircraft and the transitions that will go on between vertical flight and horizontal flight.”

Simulator environment will help pilots embrace new flight dynamics

Simulation will be one method of training which can be used to help AAM pilots to move between the different flight modes. Garland added that a “flawless safety record” would be imperative to industry advancement. She said: “By coming together with the companies that we have and by developing simulator environment where we do the theoretical knowledge, the classroom based knowledge that every pilot is going to have to have, we look at the aerodynamics, we’re going to look at helicopter aerodynamics and looking then towards the fixed-wing dynamics and then combining those for the eVTOL aircraft.”

“We’re looking at the training standards that already exist and now, with the asset notice the proposed amendment that’s just been published, it gives us a regulatory structure and gives us a syllabus for the future pilot training which will be coming in hopefully early next year.”

Future Mobility Campus Ireland will provide prototype testing and pilot training

Garland said with multiple OEMs including the UK’s Vertical Aerospace, Lilium, Joby Aviation and eHang currently “battling for the space,” certification would be the next crucial step to the new era of transportation.She said: “What we need is a certification of these aircraft and [is] what we can do with the coming together of Vertex Aero and providing the pilot training and then certification for pilots. We also have Future Mobility Campus Ireland in the west of Ireland where we can do all of this prototype testing development certification process, train the pilots, have the simulators there for all of this so we’re really trying to build an ecosystem.”

“We’ve got our planning permission through so we have a Vertiport in the west of Ireland, right beside Shannon Airport, so we can operate in controlled airspace. We’re looking towards the integration of manned with the integration of eVTOL into the standard manned aircraft, so if you have an approach and you’re coordinating with an ILS approach into Shannon Airport and Class C airspace, how do we look at the arrival and departure of these aircraft operating from a co-located vertiport?”

Infrastructure is the biggest current challenge to launch of AAM market

Garland said the biggest current challenge to getting AAM eVTOLs into the air was infrastructure development. She explained: “We’re already ticking the box for the sustainability piece and when we look towards electric travel the only limitation we have now is on range, but this is what we need eVTOL aircraft for, that really short-range travel. We’re looking at helicopters, regional jets that kind of scope and scale of operations. The vertiport we have in Shannon has been
commented on – that it’s like having a fax machine – there’s no point just having one, so what we need is infrastructure. We need to be able to move these aircraft around. We’re a little bit off having them being able to land in your garden and collect you from a postcode but we’ll get there eventually.”


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