Advanced Air Mobility: It is Time for Chapter Two

With our team’s continued work in the areas of vertiport design, airspace and strategic consulting for advanced air mobility (AAM) operations, we are excited to see the progress and beginnings of this new industry. The next two years are going to be critical to the success and longevity of the AAM industry, possibly determining whether we are two or 10 years away from ever seeing these aircraft “take off.”

The industry is officially at an inflection point. The concepts once written on the back of a napkin have turned into full-scale aircraft able to fly in groundbreaking tests each month. As we close out the first chapter in the AAM story, we turn the page on the second. Now is this time when the community and local governments take notice, and what was thought of as a crazy dream is written in the history books. If planned for right and if provided the opportunity to grow while maintaining the protections of safe and smart regulations, early operations of AAM can realistically begin in the next two years.

Whether it be last-mile drone delivery, early adopting piloted cargo or passenger urban/regional air mobility, the time is now to plan inside our communities for how we want to see these operations begin. Things like protecting privacy, public perception, critical safety data integrity and physical infrastructure are ripe to be at the forefront of the conversation.

I am excited to say our clients are beginning to think toward a realistic future of AAM being a part of their multimodal transportation system. We are working with clients to determine the right integration of this technology for them, and what that may realistically mean for their existing infrastructure. The challenges ahead are proving to also serve as unique opportunities to improve those systems that exist today and to re-evaluate what each community wants and needs to grow into a fully connected 21st-century transportation system.

Zachary Shuman

Woolpert Aviation Program Director Zachary Shuman leads many of the firm’s unmanned aircraft system and advanced air mobility projects. He has helped develop standards for operating UAS in controlled airspace, vertiport design and airspace management.