July 8, 2021
Aviation training firm CAE has teamed up with Volocopter, which is developing urban air mobility (UAM) services, to develop, certify, and deploy an innovative pilot training program for electric vehicle takeoff and landing (eVTOL) operations. The eVTOL pilot training program aims to develop the “pilot workforce of the future” to ensure safe introduction of eVTOL operations globally. The program will leverage CAE’s advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, mixed reality, as well as data analytics and Volocopter’s understanding of requirements for integration into the UAM system.
Volocopter’s family of electric aircraft are designed to relieve fossil-fueled, inner-city traffic for both people (via VoloCity and VoloConnect) and goods (through VoloDrone). The company’s first commercial eVTOL aircraft, the VoloCity, is going through certification with the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), with services expected to launch by the 2024 Olympics in Paris. The company said it plans to launch services in several cities globally (including the U.S.) within the next five years.
CAE said it is expanding its worldwide training network with a forecasted investment of up to $40 million to meet Volocopter’s projected pilot demand in the early years of operation. CAE said it will deploy training equipment and instructors in lockstep with Volocopter’s growth. As part of the agreement, Volocopter will purchase a simulator from CAE to be used in its pilot training program certification. CAE said it will create new, student-centric courseware, specifically designed for the pilots of the future as Volocopter’s courseware provider and will also offer pilot trainees customized resources to enable faster, more efficient pilot training.
The VoloCity program is going through European Aviation Safety Agency certification, with services expected in time for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
“As we scale our UAM services in cities around the world, specific pilot training and qualification for our Volocoptrs will be an important element,” said Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter. “We are proud to be partnering with CAE, who have a track record in developing best-in-class, innovative pilot training solutions for new aircraft programs.”
CAE said advanced air mobility will create an additional surge in the demand for pilots, with an estimated 60,000 pilots needed within the first decade of operation. Volocopter and CAE plan to work closely together to obtain regulatory approval for their pilot training program.
“As a high-technology company and the industry leader in pilot training, we continuously look at providing solutions that make the world a safer place,” said Nick Leontidis, group president, civil aviation training solutions, at CAE. “We are committed to supporting Volocopter’s inspiring vision and we look forward to leading in the design of UAM pilot training that prioritizes safety of operations through our data-driven solutions, world-class pilot training experience, and longstanding relationships with civil aviation authorities across the globe.
Volocopter has showcased a number of public flights, including one in Singapore’s Marina Bay in October 2019, and the world’s first autonomous eVTOL flight in Dubai in 2017. In March, the company announced raising $241.5 million in an oversubscribed Series D round. For more details on the Volocopter efforts, visit its website here.
CAE has also written a whitepaper around advanced air mobility, which you can download here.