FAA Taking Case-by-case Approach to UAM Certs

 - July 7, 2021, 10:09 AM
The FAA is evaluating certification applications from UAM developers one by one, addressing issues that will have to be considered before their flying machines can carry passengers.

Performance-based Part 23 regulations are opening the door to new urban air mobility (UAM) technologies, but the FAA is holding off on setting blanket standards while it examines the technologies of each company applying for type certification.

EASA late last month released for consultation its second publication of proposed means of compliance with the special condition for VTOL vehicles. The U.S., however, is working through VTOL/UAM projects individually, said Mel Johnson, the FAA’s director of organizational performance division in the Aircraft Certification Service. Johnson made his comments during a recent webinar on “General Aviation Post Pandemic—An Opportunity to Provide Alternative Air Transportation,” which was hosted by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

“Unlike EASA, we haven’t come up with something that we can send out as generalized conditions," Johnson noted. "We’re working directly one on one with each applicant.” He added that the agency will publish any special conditions or exemptions that result from these evaluations.

Helping these efforts, Johnson said, is the new performance-based approach adopted under the Part 23 rewrite. “We have been working very hard in the FAA to try to make sure that we don't have a situation where we develop standards that...create such high barriers that we stop safety enhancements from entering into the market, and that's been something that we've been quite passionate about,” he said.

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