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Two RTCA Webinars Shed Light on the Evolution of the Industry and the Safety and Security of AAM

May 3, 2023
Home / News / Two RTCA Webinars Shed Light on the Evolution of the Industry and the Safety and Security of AAM

Third installment in the series coming May 24. 

This spring, RTCA continues to present webinars on Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) and how to support the aviation industry. “We’re pleased to have created this series to hear from a variety of industry leaders on a spectrum of topics, which will educate you, further inspire you in your profession and perhaps even evolve your thinking as to where the industry is today and where it’s going in the future,” said Terry McVenes, President and CEO of RTCA.

The first RTCA AAM webinar, titled The Evolution of AAM took place in late March.  McVenes moderated this panel discussion featuring Brandon Suarez, VP of UAS Integration, of Reliable Robotics, Brett Feddersen, President of AcceleratUM, and Fabrice Kunzi, COO of SkyGrid.  McVenes called for technology development that will bring in entities not currently being served, developing technology that promotes connectivity and speed, and garnering political and legislative support.  Feddersen identified three challenges: aircraft certifications, airspace integration, and public acceptance, and called for government and industry engagement to be firmed up.  Suarez added that from an operational perspective, we should be concerned with technologies that are smaller, lighter, and more autonomous; connectivity that shares data in real time; and developing capabilities such as detect and avoid and those with the ability to integrate navigation sources.  Kunzi has worked with RTCA for a decade, starting in SC-186 developing collision avoidance for pilots, which paved the way for SC-228, bringing these lessons learned to remotely piloted aircraft.  He outlined concerns including cybersecurity and unmanned systems that provide the functions pilots currently perform, that will now be provided on the ground with AAM.  The group discussed what will be needed, including constant and open communication, a flexible framework, rethinking existing standards, harmonization, planning for unmanned AAM now, synchronizing work between RTCA, EUROCAE, and ICAO, addressing weather-related challenges, and outlining sequential steps that must be taken and built upon moving forward.  Finally, they concluded AAM will not eliminate jobs, but introduce a wide range of careers, from military pilots who could become remote AAM pilots, to those who build vertiport infrastructure, to those who service equipment.

The second webinar, titled Safety and Security in AAM, took place in mid-April.  Moderator Tom Ferrell of Joby Aviation led panelists Brian Wynne of AUVSI, Michael Rucinski of TSA and Juerg Frefel of Reliable Robotics, through an examination of the greatest challenges concerning operational safety, including AAM integration, retro-fitting existing aircraft, and courting public support.

“Concepts of AAM have truly become a reflection of aviation’s continued evolution and represents the next inflection point of change in our industry,” said Ferrell.  Panelists concurred, identifying joint safety and security concerns including cockpit safety and vertiport infrastructure security.  They said they believe the best way to proceed is not to look at something new as potentially threatening to safety, but rather understand how technology such as automation, microprocessors that operate more quickly, new software innovations, a successful regulatory environment, and utilizing redundant systems, can enhance safety.
The panelists also urged the industry to be clear on its objectives, package ideas for regulators, and react quickly to cyber and physical security challenges.  Issues that will arise include TSA screening of passengers who arrive at regulated airports from general aviation airports that do not screen passengers with TSA, noise abatement, adapting to an increase in volume, security of aircraft that remains parked overnight, and fostering public buy-in and trust in the safety of AAM, will also help with bringing vertiports to communities.

The third webinar in this AAM series, From ConOps to Operational Deployment, will take place May 24 at 1:00 p.m. ET.  To register for this webinar, please click here. RTCA would like to thank Gold Sponsors Collins Aerospace and NATCA, as well as AAM Series Sponsor GAMA.
To find recordings of these webinars, please visit RTCA’s YouTube channel or visit RTCA’s webinar page for more information.
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