The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is the first air transport safety regulator in the world that offers technical design guidance to urban planners and eVTOL manufacturers looking to build Drone and VTOL vertiports across Europe.
In Prototype Technical Design Specifications for Vertiports EASA provides detailed description of the physical characteristics of a vertiport, the required obstacle environment, visual aids, lights and markings, as well as the concepts for alternate vertiports for continued safe flight and landing en-route. EASA’s executive director, Patrick Ky, admits the unique opportunity the Agency has faced in development of completely new infrastructure requirements given the fact that the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) is an entirely new field of aviation.
EASA’s guidance introduces the concept of a funnel-shaped area above the vertiport, designated as an “obstacle-free volume” and here is how the agency explains its need:
This concept is tailored to the operational capabilities of the new VTOL aircraft, which can perform landing and take-off with a significant vertical segment. Depending on the urban environment and on the performance of certain VTOL-capable aircraft, omnidirectional trajectories to vertiports will be also possible. Such approaches can more easily take account of environmental and noise restrictions and are more suitable for an urban environment than conventional heliport operations, which are constrained in the approaches that can be safely applied.