“…DIFCO, for example, initiated construction in mid-April on an “aero-medical” vertiport in Rock Island, Illinois, a partnership project that was announced in early 2021 with Hughes Aerospace and Five Alpha. Also in April, Volatus Infrastructure announced that with community partners, it’s building what it claims will be the first permanent eVTOL vertiport in the Americas at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Archer Aviation is another firm designing vertiports in the U.S. It’s partnering with Reef, which owns about 4,500 parking garages across the U.S., for construction of vertiports on top of these structures, and has committed to launching urban air mobility (UAM) networks in Los Angeles and Miami.
Just how are these vertiports being designed in the absence of official FAA infrastructure guidelines?
Companies do have the draft engineering brief released by the FAA in March to work with (and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) also released its technical vertiport design specs in March).
A final FAA engineering brief is expected in June. However, the formal FAA vertiport advisory circular may not be available until as far in the future as 2024.
This doesn’t mesh well with the timeline for the first eVTOL certifications. Grant Fisk, co-founder of Volatus Infrastructure, said some eVTOL developers are targeting FAA approvals as early as 2023.