Drone certification is a cautionary tale for eVTOLs

A regulatory ‘black hole’ for drones could also suck in eVTOL aircraft if the industry isn’t careful.

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A decade ago, many investors expected commercial drone operations to be a lot further along than they are today, particularly in the United States. While there has been some progress on integrating small drones into the national airspace system, it’s safe to say that neither the FAA nor industry has exceeded expectations. In January of this year, the Government Accountability Office faulted the FAA for lacking a comprehensive strategy for drone integration, which has hindered all but the simplest line-of-sight operations.

Charlton Evans, the founder of the consulting firm End State Solutions, provides insight into the current state of U.S. drone regulations in the latest episode of The Vertical Space, a podcast hosted by Luka Tomljenovic of Radius Capital and James T. Barry of Celerity05, a management consulting company. Among other things, Evans addresses a recent industry rumor that the FAA is abandoning its so-called “durability and reliability” (D&R) process for type certifying drones.

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