FAA, Air Force Sign Collaboration Agreement on Advanced Air Mobility

U.S. Air Force photo by Matthew Clouse

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced October 26 that they have signed a collaboration agreement with the U.S. Air Force to collaborate on the integration of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) aircraft into the National Airspace System.

The FAA is working to enable the integration of AAM into the NAS over the next few years.  The FAA’s AAM Implementation Plan, published last summer, calls for AAM services to be operating at scale in at least some locations by 2028 (possibly coinciding with the 2028 Summer Olympics, held in Los Angeles in 2028.)  AAM aircraft manufacturers are moving towards commercialization even sooner: last week, Archer Aviation announced that the company was on track for commercialization of the Midnight aircraft as early as 2025.

Now, the FAA and AFWERX, a technology directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory, will work together to optimize resources.  “Under an agreement signed during an Oct. 25 event at Duke Field in Florida, the agencies will exchange data and share capabilities and expertise for testing these emerging technologies,” says the FAA announcement.

“A new era of aviation is taking off and safe and efficient operations require collaboration,” said FAA Technology Development Director John Maffei. “This data will help inform FAA certification efforts, policies, standards, and future airspace integration requirements.”

“With this MOU and the ongoing AAM Interagency Working Group, we are accelerating a breakthrough in electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft,” said Col. Elliott Leigh, AFWERX director and chief commercialization officer for the Department of the Air Force. “We are driving progress in propulsion technology, in manufacturing and materials, and in test and safety for a novel class of air vehicles.”

The AAM industry, including urban air mobility, air taxis, and other eVTOL configurations, has garnered major investor attention as well as pre-orders from traditional aviation providers: but a robust infrastructure and regulatory framework for AAM, even in manned configuration, is still in development.

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