America’s FAA Shifts Gears Slightly on Certifying Future ‘Flying Taxi’ Pilots

Flying cars — or even electric flying taxis — are the dream of several well-funded manufacturers building "electric vertical-takeoff and landing aircraft" (or eVTOLs). But will they face stricter government regulations than anticipated? Long-time Slashdot reader wired_parrot reports that America's Federal Aviation Administration has shifted gears — "revising it certification requirements for eVTOLS from small aircraft to a powered-lift category." (The original submission cites a "growing number" of issues for the industry to resolve — and asks whether this raises concerns about the viability of the whole potential eVTOL market.) Meanwhile, AVWeb reports: According to a Reuters report, the impetus for the shift came from an ongoing audit by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of the Inspector General. The IG said so-called Urban Air Mobility vehicles present the FAA with "new and complex safety challenges...." In a written response to a request for clarification, an FAA spokesperson told AVweb: "The FAA's top priority is to make sure the flying public is safe. This obligation includes our oversight of the emerging generation of eVTOL vehicles. The agency is pursuing a predictable framework that will better accommodate the need to train and certify the pilots who will operate these novel aircraft. "Our process for certifying the aircraft themselves remains unchanged. All of the development work done by current applicants remains valid and the changes in our regulatory approach should not delay their projects. As this segment of the industry continues to grow, we look forward to certifying innovative new technologies that meet the safety standards that the public expects and deserves."

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