A look at Australia’s draft vertiport design guidelines

By Emma Kelly | December 1, 2022

Estimated studying time 8 minutes, 16 seconds.

Australia has adopted the European Union and the U.S. with the discharge of its personal draft guidelines for vertiport design on Nov. 30.

The draft advisory circular (AC) is open for public remark till March 31, 2023, with Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) eager to obtain suggestions on whether or not the content material and construction of the doc is obvious and enough, match for goal and capable of assist improvement of the superior air mobility (AAM) sector.

Local stakeholders, together with Australian vertiport firm Skyportz, have welcomed the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s (CASA) draft advisory round on vertiport design. Skyportz Image

As a part of the session course of, CASA plans to carry 4 data webinars from December to February to supply an introduction to vertiports and the draft AC, in addition to spotlight the bodily traits of a vertiport, impediment limitation surfaces for a vertiport, and what visible aids are required.

CASA stated the steerage is designed to help these within the early stage of vertiport improvement. The security regulator doesn’t suggest a particular vertiport format, however quite gives a versatile framework for builders to create a vertiport that may be constructed in numerous areas and utilized by totally different rising plane.

“We’ve began the ball rolling by inspecting and outlining what vertiports might look like, the place and the way they may function, in addition to the protection necessities wanted,” stated Joe Hain, CASA’s crew chief for future aerodromes. “The goal is that vertiports will be constructed the place they’re wanted, whether or not it’s on prime of a skyscraper in a high-density metropolis, or in an open house in a regional city.”

Comparisons to U.S. and European guidelines

Like the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA) vertiport design paperwork — each of which had been launched earlier this 12 months — CASA’s guidelines are meant to evolve because the AAM sector grows.

Similar to the FAA and EASA’s guidelines, CASA makes use of eVTOL plane operated by a pilot onboard flying visible operations as the premise for its guidelines. With restricted efficiency information out there for eVTOL automobiles, all three paperwork are meant to supply interim steerage and are topic to alter as extra information turns into out there. The International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) requirements and really useful practices and different worldwide requirements in improvement may additionally affect the steerage, CASA stated.  

As with the FAA and EASA paperwork, CASA’s intent is to supply guidelines for vertiport designers and builders relating to web site choice and downwash safety, bodily traits, impediment limitation surfaces (OLS), and visible aids, together with markings, markers and lights.

EASA’s prototype technical design specifications and the FAA’s engineering brief on vertiport designs are extra detailed and prescriptive than CASA’s, and canopy extra points, together with emergency procedures, rescue and firefighting companies, charging infrastructure, safety and security, in addition to guidelines for vertiports positioned at airports.

CASA acknowledges that its AC doesn’t cowl all vertiport improvement concerns, declaring that points, together with noise, safety, the atmosphere and privateness, require session with related stakeholders and adherence to native, state and federal necessities.

Australia vertiport
The basic bodily traits of a vertiport for CASA comprise a number of ultimate strategy and take-off space (FATO) — the form of which is optionally available — in addition to a number of contact down and lift-off areas (TLOF), safety areas, taxiways or taxi routes, and stands. Graphic from CASA’s guidelines for vertiport design

Vertiport markings

Vertiport identification marking is an space of distinction for all of the paperwork and is an instance of CASA’s much less prescriptive strategy. While EASA has chosen the letter V for vertiport identification marking and the FAA is proposing a damaged wheel image, CASA stated the vertiport identification marking needn’t be restricted to a single kind for all vertiports, but it surely must be constant throughout a facility.

“For instance, a vertiport operator might select to make use of a vertiport identification marking outlined by one other aviation authority, or they could select to make use of a company brand or model,” CASA recommended.

CASA recommends that H and X aren’t used to keep away from confusion with heliport and unserviceability markings.

Downwash velocity

CASA gives basic guidelines for optimum downwash velocity, however stated this must be complemented by research taking into consideration the particular native circumstances and related wind consolation standards.

Australia vertiport
An illustration of a easy vertiport impediment limitation floor (OLS), displaying an impediment free quantity, vertical process floor (VPS), VPS reference circle, a single strategy/climb-out floor and transitional surfaces. Graphic from CASA’s guidelines for vertiport design

Vertiport bodily traits

The basic bodily traits of a vertiport for CASA comprise a number of ultimate strategy and take-off space (FATO) — the form of which is optionally available — in addition to a number of contact down and lift-off areas (TLOF), safety areas, taxiways or taxi routes, and stands.

In phrases of the OLS, the guidelines describe a set of areas and surfaces that can be utilized to ascertain both easy or advanced association of surfaces, however these are depending on the flight paths of the plane. As a end result, the event of a particular vertiport’s OLS would require coordination with potential plane operators, CASA stated.

In addition, the AC doesn’t embrace procedures regarding impediment restriction or safety with respect to things exterior of the vertiport — that is depending on native planning, state coverage and the scope of operations.

Australia vertiport
An instance of correct vertiport lighting, based mostly on heliport lighting requirements, with some provisions held in reserve pending additional evaluation and trade suggestions. Graphic from CASA’s guidelines for vertiport design

Other visible support and lighting guidelines

While CASA’s visible support guidelines are based mostly on heliport visible aids, there are some variations, together with the truth that many provisions have been simplified and a few markings are made optionally available, in addition to flexibility relating to vertiport identification markings.

CASA’s vertiport lighting guidelines are additionally based mostly on heliport lighting requirements, with some provisions held in reserve pending additional evaluation and trade suggestions, CASA stated. Regarding the world of lighting, CASA stated it continues to undertake performance-based specs by describing photometric necessities as acceptable quite than prescribing advanced mild output requirements.

Support for Australia’s draft vertiport guidelines

Local stakeholders have welcomed CASA’s guidelines, together with Australian vertiport firm Skyportz.

“It is sending a transparent message to the world that we [Australia] are open for enterprise, and we’re critically making ready the ecosystem to assist AAM, which is able to want our community of vertiports to meet its potential,” stated Clem Newton-Brown, Skyportz CEO.

Skyportz has recognized greater than 400 potential vertiport websites in Australia, with CASA’s guidelines used to assist “fine-tune” its vertiport design and supply the trade with confidence to put money into vertiport infrastructure, Newton-Brown stated.


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