The coming years and decades will be among some of the most exciting and transformative times for the aerospace industry since the popularisation of the jet engine in the 1950s. The push for ever cleaner forms of aviation will see innovative new technologies determine the direction of the next era of flight, with hydrogen, sustainable aviation fuels, AI-enabled efficiency savings all taking a front seat.
This evolution of aerospace technology is already underway, with demonstrators, testbeds, and collaborations across the UK. In few areas is this step change more prevalent than the continued growth of the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industry, that will see electric-powered flight over short distances provide an entirely new array of mobility-by-air connectivity options.
There is a lot of enthusiasm from ADS members for this new, emerging industry. To list just a few, ADS members are designing and manufacturing the new electric Vertical Take-off and Landing (eVTOL) ‘flying taxis’; innovating on composite materials that will provide the same strength but weigh less than traditional materials; implementing the airspace integration technologies that will allow eVTOLs to fly in the airspace we use today; and developing the new infrastructure that eVTOLs will utilise – known as ‘vertiports’.
ADS’ AAM Special Interest Group (AAM SIG) coordinates and leads supporting and growing AAM in the UK. Through its three workstreams – making the case, building UK value, and unlocking the pathway – over the past few years the group has focussed on the what, why and how of AAM. Previous work has included the ADS AAM Market Outlook, thought leadership around Distributed Aviation and Regional Air Mobility, among many others.
Through ADS’ work with members, ADS have developed industry positions on key questions facing the new industry. This has recently included setting out what action the UK Government would need to take, support for the development of Unmanned Arial Systems (UAS) regulations with the CAA and submitting to the US’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s eVTOL consultation. By coordinating industry positions, ADS is able to advocate on behalf of our members to support the growth of the AAM industry in the UK.
The AAM SIG’s Chair – Furqan, Technical Authority for AAM at GKN Aerospace – set out the potential of the new eVTOL market:
“I believe eVTOL aircraft and their operations provide two significant opportunities for the UK. As found by the ADS Market Outlook, there are socioeconomic benefits valued in the billions annually that could be realised as a result of major time savings in congested urban areas as well as areas that are poorly connected by the existing transport network or separated by challenging geographical features.
“Secondly, the world leading capabilities of the UK aerospace supply chain combined with our cutting-edge research and technology developments in sustainable aviation could be leveraged to support the growth of the eVTOL market globally. Unlocking these opportunities will require further investment in infrastructure, technology as well as continuous collaboration within the UK AAM ecosystem.”
If you would like to get involved in this emerging space, or find more about what ADS are doing to help grow the industry in the UK, please reach out to email@example.com.