You know when a new industry is making headway and advancing towards a respected place within the bastion of establishment control… the lawyers appear. The dollar signs begin ringing; phrases like “asset class” and “investment opportunities”, get bandied around; alongside the clarion call of “don’t get left behind!”

One major global law firm, Reed Smith, has grabbed at the chance, and is surfing the eVTOL wave before it’s been barely formed. With 1,500 lawyers in 30 different offices from the U.S to the Middle East, the company made a mouth-watering turnover of USD1.17 billion in 2018/19, representing USD1.26 million per equity partner.

https://www.reedsmith.com/en

Agreed, lawyers get a bad press, where a majority of the public dislike and distrust them, yet want their children to become one at the same time. Occasionally and grubbily referred to as ‘ambulance chasers’, American poet, Robert Frost, sums up this dichotomy when he wrote, “A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.”

For lawyers or attorneys are usually intelligent people who hold an innate ability to beat the best through reason, rationale, psychological persuasion and the clever use of words. A “grudging respect” is a phrase, perhaps, to use?

Reed Smith has become so bewitched by the nascent eVTOL industry that it has devoted a section on its esteemed lexology.com website under the heading: Legal Flight Deck.

https://www.legalflightdeck.com/

Another Perspective (pic: UAP)

The most recent piece from a growing list of articles is entitled, “Vertiports 2022: The Story So Far.” It begins, “We wrote earlier this year about vertiports as an asset class, and a perceived potential lag in the development of these assets compared to that of the eVTOL aircraft that vertiports are designed to support.”

The article or blog continues, “This now seems to be changing, and there has been a real sense of momentum building in this space over the last few months – so much so that it can be difficult to keep up, which is why we set out here a few of the key developments shaping vertiports and eVTOL support infrastructure to be aware of.” Credit to the blogger, Luke Drake, who has done the required research and compiled four separate sections to express his views.

Vertiport Design

EASA is referred to and its Prototype Technical Design Specifications. Drake writes, “One of the most striking innovations is the idea of the ‘obstacle free volume’ which proposes a funnel-shaped designated landing space that simultaneously makes use of the vertical take-off and landing capabilities of these aircraft and recognises the reality of juggling both passenger safety and the flight paths possible in the high-density, built-up urban areas in which these aircraft will operate.”

Drake then points out the need for EASA to develop “fully articulated regulatory requirements for vertiport operations”, and says this will be beneficial for the UK after the CAA announced earlier this week “it will use the certification standards informing the ‘Special Condition for small-category VTOL aircraft’, developed by EASA, as the basis for the certification of new models of such eVTOL aircraft in the UK.”

Vertiport Prototypes

Like many others, he is excited about the success of the ‘Pop-up’ Air One vertiport event in Coventry a few months back, but points out, “While Air-One might have made the biggest recent headlines, other companies like Skyports, Skyportz, Lilium and Ferrovial (to name just a few) are making strides in building the physical and regulatory networks in which these sites will operate.”

Vertiport Support

Drake then moves on to the actual law makers, those that attorneys need to bow down to. He mentions the U.S. House of Representatives who passed the ‘Advanced Aviation Infrastructure Modernisation (AAIM) Act’ in June, that makes funding grants up to USD25 million available to “(1) assist an eligible entity to plan for the development and deployment of infrastructure necessary to facilitate AAM operations in the United States; and (2) make funding available for costs directly related to construction of public-use vertiports or associated infrastructure’. Such amounts would be available until the end of September, 2023.”

Drake says, “(This) is a really significant step forward for the industry. With some developers targeting 2024 as the launch date for commercial operations, this scheme will help to turbo-charge development of support infrastructure in the US over the course of these critical next two years, creating jobs and opportunities along the way.”

Vertiport Analysis

SMG Consulting and Sergio Cecutta’s AAM Reality Index now gains a big tick from Drake, as he refers to the most recent addition AIR or the ‘AAM Infrastructure Readiness Index’. evtolinsights.com has written a fair amount about this development in recent weeks.

Drake remarks, “While the index currently lists only five companies, SMG is working on coverage for an additional 15, which will help the industry and its financiers to better gauge and monitor readiness as the launch of commercial eVTOL operations approaches.”

It warms the heart when one of the largest law firms in the world shows such interest in the eVTOL Industry. It may be for purely monetary reasons, but ‘every little helps’ as a certain UK supermarket chain might say.

(News Source: https://www.lexology.com/)

(Top pic: Volocopter)