The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has assembled a group of industry representatives and aviation experts to advance safety for eVTOL aircraft operations. The new eVTOL Safety Leadership Group (eVSLG), announced at last week’s HeliTech Expo trade show in London, includes executives from eVTOL aircraft developers Vertical Aerospace and Joby, as well as prospective aircraft operators Bristow Helicopters and Virgin Atlantic, both of which have placed provisional eVTOL orders.
According to the CAA, which since the UK’s Brexit departure from the European Union, has operated independently from Europe’s EASA safety agency, the group is, “an open space for industry and is outside of usual CAA governance and assurance processes.” The group is co-chaired by Rick Newson, head of the CAA’s rapid capabilities office, and Matt Rhodes from Bristow who is co-chair of the Offshore Helicopter Safety Leadership group.
“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,” Newsom commented. “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.”
The following organizations are also represented on the new group: the UK’s Air Accident Investigation Branch, the British Helicopter Association, private aviation operator Flexjet, the General Aviation Safety Council, and air traffic management provider NATS.