U.S. eVTOL developers not waiting on standards harmonization

Harmonization with EASA on eVTOL certification standards doesn’t appear to be a top priority for the FAA.

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This post appeared as part of our Three Points Newsletter on August 12, 2022

After the FAA changed course on eVTOL certification earlier this year — deciding to certify winged eVTOLs as powered-lift aircraft under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations 21.17(b), rather than as Part 23 small airplanes — there was speculation that the change could make it easier for the FAA to harmonize its approach with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. This impression was bolstered by EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky, who was quoted in Aviation Week as saying: “I think that the FAA has converged with us on their certification basis for eVTOL, which will make it much easier for both sides to have convergence and to have a common, harmonized way of certifying [these] aircraft.”

Whatever the long-term prospects for harmonization, however, the first wave of U.S. eVTOL developers are evidently counting on moving forward with FAA type certification of their aircraft without having to wait for the bureaucracies to align.

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