Volocopter and Canada’s CAE launch first eVTOL pilot training program

Volocopter Geely UAM China

Leading global electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) craft manufacturer Volocopter is teaming up with Canadian aviation tech and instruction company CAE to create what the partners call the world’s first eVTOL pilot training and development program. The scheme seeks to produce certified pilots in time for Volocopter’s planned launch of air taxi service for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Volocopter prioritizes eVTOL pilot training as air taxi launches loom

Germany-based Volocopter and CAE (formerly known as Canadian Aviation Electronics Ltd.) agreed to develop, obtain certification, and roll the program out on an international level in coming months. Hailing it as the first of its kind, the CAE and Volocopter eVTOL pilot training scheme aims to produce a field of graduates capable of safely navigating air taxi and other urban air mobility (UAM) craft across a wide range of expected services. First among those will be flying VoloCity craft Volocopter will introduce for local urban passenger transport operations.

The partnership seeks to combine CAE’s advanced capacities in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, mixed reality, and data analytics with Volocopter’s experience in developing eVTOL operations and integrating those into the wider UAM ecosystem. 

As part of their effort to ramp up the number of certified pilots for those activities, CAE has committed to expanding its global training network with an expected investment of $40 million. The new program will step up activity to keep pace with Volocopter’s eVTOL pilot training demands. The deal will also involve the German startup buying one of CAE’s eVTOL simulators for its own pilot development efforts.

“As we scale our UAM services in cities around the world, specific pilot training and qualification for our Volocopters will be an important element,” said Florian Reuter, Volocopter CEO. “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. It will greatly benefit Volocopter’s entry-into-service timeline and scale. We are excited about CAE’s endorsement and look forward to collaborate as partners focused on combining future-oriented technologies to ensure aviation safety.”

Head-start in European air taxi certification quest

The move follows Volocopter’s acquisition earlier this month of composite glider company DG Flugzeugbau – and its European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Part 21G Production Organization Approval. That certification joins the EASA Part 21J Design Organization Approval Volocopter obtained in 2019 – thus far the only eVTOL manufacturer to gain it. The pair of regulator thumbs-up gives Volocopter a considerable lead over UAM rivals in gaining eventual operational certification across Europe. 

Volocopter plans on launching its air taxi service in the runup to the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris. The company expects to roll out similar passenger transport activity in other European cities over the next half decade – a tight schedule explaining Volocopter’s eagerness to get specialized eVTOL pilot training activity underway as soon as possible.

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