(Bloomberg) -- US aviation regulators on Wednesday unveiled their first framework for how to train pilots for the expected new breed of electric-powered urban air taxis designed to revolutionize short-hop travel in cities.
The Federal Aviation Administration published a proposed set of regulations that attempt to create an orderly process for building a pipeline of pilots on the devices, which don’t currently fit into existing regulations.
It would allow flight crews trained on existing aircraft to take credit for that experience as they transition to the new devices known as electric vertical takeoff and landing, or eVOTLs, the FAA said in a statement. It also creates a pathway for pilots to receive FAA sign-off for specific new aircraft and attempts to merge the new technology into existing rules as much as possible, the agency said.
“These proposed rules of the sky will safely usher in this new era of aviation and provide the certainty the industry needs to develop,” David Boulter, FAA’s acting associate administrator for aviation safety, said in the release.
The proposal is a key step in allowing the new aircraft — which take off vertically like helicopters, but can fly with the efficiency of fixed-wing planes — to be introduced into the US aviation system. The agency has estimated that it will approve a handful of the devices as early as 2025.
But many steps remain before these small aircraft are routinely hopping over urban areas carrying passengers for hire. The FAA must also sign off on the safety of the aircraft designs, manufacturing facilities and individual new operators, among other things.
Industry officials and the public will have 60 days to comment on the FAA’s proposed training regulations. The agency will review the comments before finalizing the rules, which can take a year or more.
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