NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) National Campaign has moved to the next stage of its NC Integrated Dry Run Test, which will start this month following the completion of the first phase in December 2020.

This will involve a Bell OH-58C Kiowa helicopter provided by Flight Research, to act as a stand-in advanced air mobility vehicle. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Flight Research test pilots will be flying different types of maneuvers with the helicopter at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, to assess procedures and infrastructure while also developing a data baseline for future industry partnership flight testing.

The data collected during these flights will be used in developing lessons learned in operational procedures.

Starr Ginn, NASA’s AAM National Campaign lead, said: “These initial flights enabled feedback in two key areas of Urban Air Mobility operations: pilot feedback on UAM approach procedures and helipad markings that will support research flight tests.”

The final round of dry run testing will collect even more flight characteristics data and finalize the National Campaign flight test infrastructure development prior to deployment and flights with industry partners.

This will also prepare the National Campaign for the next step in the process – the developmental test with Joby Aviation which is planned for Spring 2021.

Testing with Joby’s eVTOL aircraft will include activities to prepare for NC-1 in 2022, such as designing flight scenarios for NC-1 participants to fly, exercising range deployment and data collection protocols across operational safety use cases.