The HAI Government Affairs team provides updates on FAA Reauthorization, new FAA rules on vertiports, and more.
HAI Submits Testimony to Congress
HAI provided testimony this week to the Senate Committee on Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation Safety. On Wednesday, the Subcommittee held a hearing on “FAA Reauthorization: Integrating New Entrants into the National Airspace System.”
HAI’s written testimony outlined HAI’s priorities for next year’s FAA Reauthorization bill detailing such topics as the safe integration of new aviation technology into the airspace, community compatibility, sustainability, and workforce development.
In the testimony, HAI President and CEO Jim Viola noted HAI’s leadership role for the vertical flight industry including advanced air mobility (AAM). “Our members have been operating vertical flight missions for nearly 75 years. AAM is a new vertical lift mode of transportation, and it makes complete sense for our members to embrace and use this new technology.”
Viola stated, “Today, helicopters are performing many urban air mobility missions that future AAM aircraft will do. Today’s vertical flight industry is AAM, and HAI proudly represents its interest. We strongly support the development, certification, and safe integration of AAM aircraft into the National Airspace System.”
A copy of Viola’s written testimony can be found on HAI’s Advocacy page.
HAI Visits UND
This week, Cade Clark, HAI’s VP of Government Affairs, and Greg Brown, HAI’s Director of Education and Training Services, visited the University of North Dakota (UND) Aerospace program to learn more about their training program and discuss expansion of pathway programs.
UND recently incorporated a new simulator for spatial disorientation and degraded visual environment training. Eighty-five percent of spatial disorientation accidents occur without pilots recognizing they are disoriented. UND’s program is set up to provide training on developing in-flight decision triggers for pilots to take predetermined action when spatial disorientation or degraded visual environments occur. UND put Greg Brown through the paces in their simulator with several different scenarios, including night-vision goggle (NVG) flights.
Cade and Greg also met with the student helicopter group to provide an overview of HAI. Greg provided an overview of the training and educational opportunities available to students, including networking opportunities at HAI HELI-EXPO®. Cade provided an overview of advocacy efforts and why students should participate in grassroots efforts to strengthen the industry and protect their access to the National Airspace System.
While at UND, Cade and Greg visited the Northern Plains UAS Test Site to learn more about their operations and held informative discussions on issues related to uncrewed aircraft systems.
FAA Releases New Rules on Vertiports
This week, the FAA released new design rules for vertiports that support advanced air mobility (AAM) aircraft. The design standards will serve as the initial step to provide key information for airport owners, operators, and infrastructure developers to begin development of facilities that will support operations of AAM aircraft that are electrically powered and take off and land vertically.
The design standards include critical information that designers and builders will need to follow to allow for safe takeoffs and landings. Some of those include:
- Safety-critical geometry and design elements
- Lighting, markings, and visual aids
- Charging and electric infrastructure
- On-airport vertiports
- Elevated vertiports.
This vertiport guidance will be used until performance-based vertiport design guidance is developed.
H.R. 3482, Advancement of Aviation Center Moves Forward
This week, the House passed H.R. 3482, the National Center for the Advancement of Aviation. The legislation would establish the Center as a private, tax-exempt, federally chartered organization focused on developing a skilled and robust US aviation and aerospace workforce.
The Center’s duties would include:
- Assessing aviation and aerospace workforce challenges
- Creating scholarship, apprenticeship, or mentorship programs, including for individuals in economically disadvantaged areas or for members of underrepresented groups
- Supporting the development of curricula for middle and high schools and higher education
- Building awareness of youth-oriented programs
- Assisting with career transitions for military personnel or veterans with aviation or aerospace experience
- Amplifying and supporting research by the National Aviation Research Plan and work done at the FAA’s Centers of Excellence and technical centers.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved the bill on Apr. 28. The Senate companion to this bill, S. 1753, was introduced by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) on May 20, 2021.