Government publishes Future Flight 2030 Action Plan

From: techUK
Published: Mon Mar 25 2024

The government has unveiled a plan for the development and industrialisation of emerging aviation technologies.

Developed in partnership with the aviation industry and government, the Future Flight 2030 Action Plan, sets out the approach for the making the UK a leader in Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS), more commonly known as drones, and all electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing vehicles (eVTOLs).

The vision for Future Flight

The UK is aiming to be a leader in emerging aviation technologies, with a sustainable industry and thriving ecosystem at home and UK companies providing a range of services around the world by the end of the decade.

By 2030, UK industries and the public will enjoy economic, social and environmental benefits thanks to the widespread availability of these technologies across the economy, communities and transport networks. Use-cases for UAS include drones used to deliver mail to remote areas and improving NHS efficiency through using Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to deliver surgical implants and pathology samples between Trust sites. e-VTOLs may be capable of joining cities such as Liverpool and Leeds in just 26 minutes, supporting regional connectivity.

However, scaling this technology is contingent upon a series of strategic objectives to achieve in the years to come. For UAS, these relate to achieving routine operations beyond the pilot's visual line of sight (BVLOS). For eVTOL, these are focused on delivering initial, and then routine operations carrying passengers or cargo and achieving demonstrations of autonomous operations - during which the aircraft is operating without pilot intervention in the management of the flight.

The pathway to 2030

The Plan has outlined a wide series of commitments and deliverables across Government, the Civil Aviation Authority, and industry. These focus on improving operational capabilities, access and regulation, physical infrastructure and sectoral development.

In balancing the conditions correctly, it is hoped that UAS operations will move from their current usage conditions of 90-day trials in segregated airspace to every-day usage. Longer-duration testing environments, known as Temporary Reserved Areas, will help scale routing operations while a UK version of the Specific Operating Risk Assessment (SORA) will introduce a standardised way to assess and manage the risk posed by a UAS operation.

In the case of e-VTOL, there is an expectation operational networks will grow in scale and range from initial routes to large scale networks between nodes comprising both established aerodromes and new vertiports, offering urban and regional transport options to the consumer. These nodes will also need to develop the charging infrastructure and appropriate electrical energy provision.

Digital infrastructure

The future of flight is dependent on a secure UK-wide connectivity network that supports a safe and efficient ecosystem. techUK continues to engage widely with Government in order to ensure the UK has the foundational cross-cutting systems and structures in place needed to support emerging industries.

Next steps to taking flight

techUK will continue to monitor the evolution of this sector and the implementation of the Action Plan which may include targeted interventions. Members wishing to discuss this sector are encouraged to get in touch.

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