ABOVE: Could you envision sharing the circuit with a VTOL craft?

The UK Civil Aviation Authority has launched a consultation on design proposals for vertiports at existing aerodromes, ahead of the anticipated entry of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) craft into service.

Although these aircraft will not require a traditional runway, ‘using existing infrastructure will give VTOL aircraft a place to operate from whilst the aviation industry becomes more familiar with their design, operation and performance’ notes the CAA, which says additional safety requirements on existing aerodromes are also being considered.

“UK aerodromes are vital in unlocking the future of aviation operations,” commented Sophie O’Sullivan, Head of Future Safety and Innovation at the CAA. “By leveraging existing regulation, we’re enabling future operators and aerodromes to develop their understanding and operational expertise, at the same time as growing our collective knowledge of the technology and operational scenarios to support this infrastructure”.

This new generation of aircraft, sometimes referred to as ‘flying taxis’, are predominately electric in design (eVTOLs) – such as Vertical Aerospace’s VX4, which founder CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick recently committed to invest $50 million of his own money into.

The consultation closes on 15 March 2024 and responses can be made via the CAA’s dedicated consultation webpage.

IMAGE: CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY