ASTM International publishes standards for vertiport development 
August 23, 2022
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  • ASTM International, a developer of international voluntary consensus standards, has released what the group believes is the first official vertiport standard specification published in the world. 

    The standards document is a result of a five-year effort by ASTM International’s unmanned aircraft systems committee. According to ASTM fellow Jonathan Daniels, the newly published vertiport standards will provide scalable specifications to guide states and municipalities in developing advanced air mobility (AAM) infrastructure. 

    “Everyone involved in the development and implementation of AAM transportation and its supporting infrastructure will find this standard extremely helpful,” Daniels said in a press release. 

    The specifications outline the requirements for planning, designing and building vertiports for eVTOL aircraft, including those that are piloted and autonomous. The document takes into account a variety of aircraft configurations, including multirotor, life-plus-cruise, vectored thrust, tilt-wing, and tilt-rotor. 

    Rex Alexander, a member of ASTM International and a working group volunteer, said one of the challenges in developing this vertiport standard was balancing safety with practicality. 

    “Without empirical aircraft performance data to rely on, the team’s goal was to develop a practical standard as a starting point that is not only safety centric but provides municipalities with a common-sense path forward,” Alexander said. 

    The group said these standards aim to form the foundation for additional working groups supporting automated vertiports and connections through the vertiport supplementary data service provider (SDSP) work item. 

    In March, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) released guidelines on AAM infrastructure development by publishing its technical design specifications for vertiports. The 179-page document is considered an advanced draft, intended to provide technical guidance, recommendations, and best practices without prejudice to possible future legislative and regulatory provisions. 

    And in February, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a draft engineering brief on vertiport design. Realizing that it wouldn’t be able to complete an official vertiport advisory circular in time to support the first eVTOL operations, the FAA opted to provide industry with interim guidance on vertiport design through an engineering brief.