Airbus, EHang, Pipistrel Aircraft and Vertical Aerospace will join Volocopter in conducting eVTOL aircraft flight testing in France, after being selected as winners of a worldwide call to set up an Urban Air Mobility industry branch in the country.

The initiative – which was launched by the RATP Group, Groupe ADP and Choose Paris Region – called for expressions of interest last year with the support of Paris Region.          

It was structured around five categories: Vehicle Development, Urban Infrastructure, Operations, Airspace Integration – and received 150 applications from 25 different countries. The winning companies will now look to conduct experiments in a testing area at Pontoise-Cormeilles-en-Vexin airfield – about 16km northwest of Paris – from June 2021.

In close cooperation with the French civil aviation authority (DGA), the support of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Eurocontrol, tests will be carried out in a real aeronautical environment at Pontoise, with respect to parking, takeoff and landing operations, as well as operations around the vehicle, whether for maintenance or electrical recharging.

Edward Arkwright, Deputy CEO of Groupe ADP, said: “The success of this call for international interest shows that there is strong support for the structuring of an air mobility industry in the Paris Region. Alongside all these industrial, academic and research players, and thanks to the setup of a test area at our Pontoise airfield, the first of its kind in Europe, we will now be able to boost its development.

“The test area integration within the airfield has been the result of collaborative work with French civil aviation authority teams. Today, Groupe ADP wants to explore and make possible all the futures of aviation, both carbon-free and innovative.”

The success of this call for expressions of interest has brought together leading industrial players in the field of air mobility, as well as international start-ups and major academic and research institutions, including the University of Berkeley and the French Civil Aviation School.

Each winning company will now be able to share their expertise, identify synergies and deploy experimentations in the coming months at Pontoise.

Franck Margain, President of Choose Paris Region, added: “The success of the call for expressions of interest conducted alongside ADP Group and RATP Group demonstrates the international attractiveness of the Paris region as well as the importance of our region for the development of tomorrow’s mobility.

“Through the collaboration of public and private players, and by inviting innovative companies from around the world to join us and complete our value chain, we are building a unique ecosystem to develop the urban air mobility sector, reinforce the attractiveness of the Paris region and to support responsible industries and employment.”

The winners chosen by the jury for the five categories are:

  • For Vehicle development:

–      Airbus (France)

–      Ascendance Flight Technologies (France)

–      Ehang (China)

–      H3 Dynamics (Singapore)

–      Pipistrel (Slovenia)

–      Safran Electronics & Defense (France)

–      Volocopter (Germany)

–      Vertical Aerospace (United Kingdom)

–      Zipline (USA)

  • For Operations:

–      Air France (France)

–      CAE (Canada)

–      Dassault Falcon Services (France)

–      ESTACA (France)

–      Helifirst (France)

–      Helipass (France) 

  • For Urban Infrastructure

–      Green Motion (Switzerland)

–      IDEMIA I&S (France)

–      Leosphere (France)

–      Skyports (United Kingdom)

For Airspace integration:

–      Cergy University and ESSEC (France)

–      ENAC (France)

–      Internest (France)

–      M3 Systems (Belgium)

–      Thales SIX (France)

For Public Acceptance:

–      Bruitparif (France)

–      Polytechnique School (France)

–      Envirosuite (Australia)

–      UC Berkeley Institute of Transportation studies, NEXTOR (USA)

–      ONERA (France)

–      Royal Netherlands Aerospace Centre (Netherlands)

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