More eVTOL aircraft developers chosen to join Volocopter and begin flight testing in France as part of urban air mobility project

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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Jason Pritchard

Jason Pritchard is the Editor of eVTOL Insights. He holds a BA from Leicester's De Montfort University and has worked in Journalism and Public Relations for more than a decade. Outside of work, Jason enjoys playing and watching football and golf. He also has a keen interest in Ancient Egypt.

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