VPorts announced the creation of a corridor for advanced air mobility, or AAM, last week. It connects Syracuse Hancock International Airport and Mirabel, Québec, Canada. VPorts has a vertiport—essentially a heliport designed for AAM vehicles—located in Mirabel. The company claims that this is the first international electric AAM corridor.
In a recent interview with Avionics International, Dr. Fethi Chebil, President and Founder of VPorts, explained, “The corridor is an identified airspace where we will do a safety risk assessment to demonstrate to regulators that flying an eVTOL within this corridor is safe.”
“We are working with NUAIR, which already has a 50-mile corridor for drones,” he added. “We work together in building this corridor between Syracuse and Mirabel.” In addition to NUAIR, other international organizations such as Aéro Montréal, Innovitech, the Unmanned Aerial System Centre of Excellence (Alma), and operator Helijet International all signed a Memorandum of Understanding with VPorts to establish international corridors for AAM that connect the U.S. and Québec.
“We considered the obstacles between these two vertiports, the weather, and characteristics of eVTOLs for testing the corridor,” said Dr. Chebil. VPorts chose to focus initially on transportation of cargo. “We believe that the business case is there for cargo,” he shared. “The eVTOL could provide options to make the supply chain for movement of goods between two countries efficient, reliable, and sustainable.”
VPorts also plans to deploy an operational control center to assist with eVTOL operations. This includes flight plans and integrating weather data in addition to information about the airspace configuration. The control center will then be able to provide clearance or instructions, Dr. Chebil explained.
“We are assessing different options for corridors between these two vertiports and considering data about the airspace configuration,” he commented. “We have an idea of what this corridor will look like. The next step is to work with the team to do a safety risk assessment, because then we can go to the FAA, Transport Canada, and eventually NAV Canada to start doing flight testing under their supervision.”
NUAIR CEO Ken Stewart also commented on the announcement, saying, “The development of this international AAM corridor between Syracuse, NY, and Montreal will help lay the foundation for regional air mobility operations for underutilized airports, assisting with cargo deliveries and strengthening United States supply chains.
VPorts made another big announcement this week, sharing news of a historic partnership to establish an advanced air mobility integrator center in Dubai. VPorts is partnering with the UAE
General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and the Mohammed bin Rashid Aerospace Hub (MBRAH) on this project. The center will require an initial investment of $40 million over three years and will begin construction in 2023. Operations and flight testing could begin as early as 2024.
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