Volocopter flies at Helsinki airport

+VIDEO The Volocopter 2X flying prototype air taxi has taken its first step towards working with other airspace users.

The 18-rotor electric aircraft performed a flight at Helsinki International Airport successfully integrated into both the Air Traffic Management (ATM) and Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) system.

The Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) Programme is the technology pillar of Europe’s ambitious Single European Sky (SES) initiative to create one coordinated and integrated airspace for commercial, general and drone aviation alike. It pools all EU research and development activities in ATM, with more than 3,000 experts from around the world to develop the new generation of ATM.

“As air traffic continues to rise in number and kinds – especially with the arrival of unmanned aircraft and air taxis, the technology and rules for using VVL airspace needs updating,” said project coordinator Maria Tamm from Estonian Air Navigation Services (EANS).

At Helsinki Airport, Volocopter performed a series of tests with three different leading UTM service providers, namely AirMap, Altitude Angel and Unifly. The providers were tested for compatibility, functionality  and usability.

For the tests, Volocopter integrated the necessary software and hardware (position report sensor) to perform different test scenarios including ground tests, unmanned and piloted flights. It shows that Volocopter can avail itself of a variety of existing UTM services once in operation.

Volocopter Helsinki
The Volocopter 2X electric air taxi prototype flies at an international airport for the first time, integrating into the air traffic management system

“We are happy to say that all providers we tested were compatible with the Volocopter systems,” said Jan-Hendrik Boelens, CTO of Volocopter.

“As a member of the SESAR consortium, we have the rare opportunity to work at the forefront of integrating ATM/UTM with all relevant stakeholders at the table: regulators, airports, air navigation service providers and UTM providers.

“This pan-European ATM initiative puts another indispensable part of Urban Air Mobility ecosystem into place. We know that air taxi technology is viable: certification has been defined by the EASA, we will build our first VoloPort infrastructure before the year is out and with the GOF U-Space demonstration we have now shown that the existing UTM technologies are viable for UAM.

“The indispensable aspects of the ecosystem exist, now it’s time to bring Urban Air Mobility to life.”

The Volocopter will next fly publicly in Stuttgart, Germany on 14 September and present its VoloPort structure later this year in Singapore.


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