The HAI Government Affairs team covers approaching deadlines for input about AAM initiatives and the BVLOS NPRM for UASs, the latest on NOTAM modernization, and EASA’s air taxi noise assessment proposal.
USDOT Issues Request for AAM Information
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a Request for Information (RFI) to get public input on the development of a national strategy on advanced air mobility (AAM) as required by the Advanced Air Mobility Coordination and Leadership Act. DOT has formed a team composed of multiple executive agencies comprising the AAM Interagency Working Group. The DOT, working with its federal interagency partners, seeks information from stakeholders and the public on the issues of importance in drafting a national AAM strategy. Respondents may provide information for any topic or question below. Through this RFI, DOT primarily seeks information regarding:
- What should be addressed in the AAM national strategy
- What respondents believe are existing barriers to successful AAM implementation
- What steps the federal government should focus on in the short, medium, and long term to maximize the potential for successful AAM implementation in the United States. Commenters may wish to identify specific steps for specific federal agencies.
Comments are due Jul. 17, 2023. Read or download the RFI.
Responses to Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma UAS/AAM Request for Information Due May 31
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) Department of Advanced Technology Initiatives (ATI) seeks to identify academic and industry groups actively engaged in researching and developing airspace management tools and systems for uncrewed aircraft systems (UASs) and advanced air mobility (AAM). Specific areas of interest include UAS traffic management, improved weather observation/prediction tools, sensor networks, and ground-based radar systems that support future airspace management at low altitudes.
The format for RFI responses is limited to 10 pages and should not include any cost proposals. For a copy of the RFI, please email [email protected]. RFI responses in PDF format are due by 5:00 pm central (UTC -5) on May 31, 2023.
FAA Releases NPRM on UAS Beyond Visual Line of Sight Operations
This week, the FAA released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations for uncrewed airspace systems (UASs). As the FAA reviews the recommendations of the UAS (BVLOS) Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), it is considering the expansion of BVLOS operations in certain operating environments with the appropriate safety mitigations to ensure no adverse safety impact. The FAA is seeking public comment to gather additional technical input on key concepts and potential approaches that it is contemplating for use in future exemptions.
The final report of the UAS BVLOS ARC, issued in March 2022, contained a thorough set of recommendations to facilitate the expansion of UAS operations. The FAA acknowledges the substantial safety, societal, and economic benefits associated with BVLOS operations. Numerous individuals or groups have submitted petitions for exemptions, proposing different approaches to safely conduct UAS BVLOS operations. The FAA will publish separate summaries in the Federal Register for each petition that affects projects and will solicit comments on each petition for exemption. The FAA seeks public comments that address how UAS BVLOS operations can be applied without adversely affecting safety.
HAI invites our members to provide as much information as possible on any questions of interest. The comment period closes Jun. 14, 2023. Read the NPRM.
NOTAM Improvement Act Reaches President’s Desk
This week, the House of Representatives announced its final approval of the NOTAM Improvement Act (H.R.346), sending the bill to President Biden’s desk. The bill, which addresses issues related to the Jan. 11, 2023, NOTAM malfunction that grounded flights nationwide, was initially approved by the House in January, amended, and adopted in the Senate on May 9, and passed in its final form in the House on May 22.
The NOTAM system provides pilots with timely information on matters such as runway changes or flight restrictions and is essential to safe flight operations. The malfunction, caused by human error, highlighted the need for the technology system to be modernized.
If the president signs the bill, the NOTAM Improvement Act would create a task force of aviation experts to make recommendations for modernizing, securing, and ensuring adequate backup of the NOTAM system and would subsequently require the FAA to implement an upgraded NOTAM system by Sep. 30, 2024.
EASA Publishes Proposal for Assessing Air Taxi Noise
Earlier this month, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) released the first proposal worldwide for assessing the sound generated by air taxis. The Environmental Protection Technical Specifications (EPTS) document outlines standardized criteria for noise assessment that can be used in the type certification of these emerging electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky emphasized the importance of addressing sound levels, citing a study EASA conducted in 2021 on urban air mobility that showed survey participants were mostly concerned about noise, followed by environmental worries and overall safety. Ky stated that the EASA proposal prioritizes the noise concern, providing guidelines for measuring noise levels and establishing limits to prevent excessive noise pollution.
EASA noted that the document’s goal is to achieve a consistent and high level of environmental protection while mitigating significant adverse effects of noise on human health within the European Union (EU), as mandated by the EASA Basic Regulation. The proposal includes technical specifications, procedures, and maximum allowable noise levels.
The proposed specifications aim to address a regulatory gap and are based on an internationally harmonized noise certification standard that applies to heavy helicopters. This approach ensures fairness and allows for technological comparability. Furthermore, a hover noise assessment has been developed to assist in evaluating the sound impact of operations near vertiports, which are the locations where these aircraft will take off from and land. The maximum permissible noise levels for these assessments align with the latest limits established for heavy helicopters by the International Civil Aviation Organization. Meanwhile, EASA will continue to gather additional noise data through certification projects for these designs. The EPTS document is open for public comment until Jun. 15, 2023, and comments can be submitted using the Comment Response Tool.