The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) today published the Special Condition document that will govern development and certification framework for hybrid- and electric-powered vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. These new rules will apply to small VTOL aircraft with lift/thrust units to generate powered lift and control. The small category is for aircraft with nine or fewer passenger seats and maximum takeoff weight up to 3,175 kg (7,000 pounds).
The VTOL Special Condition also establishes a direct correlation between the airworthiness requirements for these aircraft and the type of operations for which they will be used. An enhanced category will apply to operations in which passengers are being flown on a for-hire basis over congested areas with a view to protecting third parties, including people on the ground. Lighter requirements will apply to non-commercial flights over uncongested areas under the basic category.
“We are actively engaging with the industry to develop the right technical requirements to take benefit of the new technologies bringing safety and environmental benefits to the community,” said EASA executive director Patrick Ky. “The establishment of a common set of conditions for the certification of these new concepts of vehicles will enable a fair competition on the European market, as well as clarity for future manufacturers and their investors.”
Announcing the new Special Condition, which was subject to public consultation initiated in October 2018, EASA said it will be “the first building block” to enable the safe operation of VTOL aircraft. The agency is now the wider rulemaking process will be guided by the Special Condition document to take full account of the new technologies and operational air transport concepts emerging in the fast-growing VTOL sector.