Aug. 27, 2021

NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen highlighted key measures that need to be taken by the aviation community, policymakers and regulators to prepare for the seismic impact advanced air mobility (AAM) will have on global transportation, during a recent webinar hosted by the Helicopter International Association (HAI).

“When we think of business aviation, what we’re really talking about is on-demand air mobility, that ability to get people where they need to be when they need to be there,” Bolen said during the HAI@Work webinar, Our AAM Future: Leading with Vision. “Through the decades our industry has done that with piston propulsion and turbine propulsion, fixed-wing and rotor-wing, aluminum and composites, and now we are seeing an opportunity to build on that with emerging AAM technologies to go to electric propulsion, hybrid propulsion and maybe even hydrogen.

“For that to work, we need more than the AAM vehicles themselves, we need air traffic infrastructure and ground infrastructure,” Bolen added. “NBAA has been working with policymakers, opinion leaders and the advanced air mobility community to understand the needs and requirements to build the physical infrastructure, the human infrastructure and the air traffic infrastructure.”

The webinar also featured former FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, HAI President and CEO James Viola, JTR Strategies founder and former FAA Assistant Administrator Jenny Rosenberg and Gary Gysin, president and CEO of AAM vehicle developer and manufacturer Wisk.

Infrastructure is just one component of the successful integration of AAM into current transportation systems, acknowledged Bolen.

“There are safety aspects, security aspects and sustainability aspects to AAM,” he added. “Thankfully, we have a community of aviation and technology people who are here to solve problems and do it in the interest of the public so that questions can be answered upfront and potential problems identified before this emerging technology becomes a reality.”

Lawmakers will be essential to AAM’s success, said Bolen. “We want to make sure that there’s adequate opportunity and funding for both planning and construction. That takes a long time in aviation; we’ve got to come together now and decide what needs to be built, where it will be built and how it is going to operate.”

Regulators, too, will need to evaluate the needs and demands of the AAM sector, added Bolen.

The benefits of a fully supported AAM sector are immeasurable, said Bolen.

“We have an opportunity in front of us that is going to require a lot of coordination, communication and collaboration,” he said. “This is an epic opportunity and together if we can realize that the legacy for all of mankind will be well served.”