Until the 1960s the upper limits of controlled airspace were in the order of FL185 – 18500 ft. It allowed for the protection of operations for the then most advanced piston engine airliners such as the Lockheed Constellation, Douglas DC-4/6/7 family.
A major change to global airspace was required to protect aircraft operations occurred in the 1960s when jet airliners such as the Boeing 707, Douglas DC-8, Convair 880 and De Havilland Comet entered worldwide service with their enroute operations vastly exceeding the then upper limit of controlled airspace up to FL350, etc.
The time is ripe for a major review of the entire airspace system to allow for the expanding commercial operation of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) platforms such as Unmanned Aerial Systems or manned aerial taxies, being used in close proximity to existing airport and urban infrastructure.
Modern aeronautical navigation systems combined with the exceptional reliability of modern aircraft allow these aircraft to operate within just a few metres of a surveyed flight path. They have also enabled separation standards to be reduced to make more efficient and equitable use of airspace than was the case even 5 years ago. This now provides the opportunity to reduce the dimension of the Class C type Control Zones (CTR) that surrounds major airports to protect just the authorised flight paths, normally aligned with runways, to allow the other areas of the existing CTR to be used by AAM platforms, Police and Ambulance flight operations, aerial parcel delivery, etc, without interaction with Air Traffic Control (ATC).
Such a reduction in CTR dimensions would also enable Vertiports to be located at appropriate hubs outside areas of interest to ATC that would enable an effective network of flexible transport services to local and regional communities without impacting on the safety or efficiency of airport operations.
The rapid development of AAM platforms, Vertiport design and location and the myriad of support services and regulations required to bring these exciting, efficient, and safe systems to our daily environment will result in another evolution of our airspace system.
To find out more about how Aviation Projects can enable AAM operations in your part of the world, contact us.
Image source: evtol.com
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