Sarah Nilsson JD, PhD, MAS
Sarah NilssonJD, PhD, MAS

Regulations / Policy



Regulations play an integral role in coordinating, standardizing, and ensuring safety throughout all parts of the NAS.

In the gradually evolving NAS of the past 60 years that has supported the relatively static dominant application of commercial aviation, the existing regulatory function has succeeded in driving exceptional safety and improving efficiency.


Primum non nucere (first, do no harm) is the mantra of regulators across the globe.


Regulators will want technology developed to support AAM to be compliant with all current and foreseeable future regulations and meet universally accepted performance criteria.

But beyond this, AAM brings changes to the assumptions under which today’s regulatory function evolved and with it requires a new way that the regulatory function must work.

Regulations will have to change to accommodate a new wave of innovation in aviation.

New technologies must find a way to be certified.

New, diverse, and constantly evolving applications of flight will displace the gradual evolution of commercial aviation.

Flight will take place between highly granular destinations and over short distances that were never before considered economically or technically feasible.

Many changes are required to enable this, but regulations are notoriously difficult to change and implement.

It is not uncommon for a decade or longer to pass before a new rule or requirement is adopted. Regulators are working around this by adopting a posture of risk-based approval for certain unmanned operations while operating within the current regulatory framework.

The major concern is that at present, the risk cannot be determined for non-stochastic processes and designs that are new and have no historical basis.

These changes to enable AAM cannot occur on their own and cannot be accomplished by a single party—not even a regulator with the authority to do so.

The recent rewrite of 14 CFR Part 23 certification rules is an example, bringing together regulators, industry and trade associations, standards development organizations, and others to complete it. Experience, data, and coordination between the public and private sectors are critical requirements to enacting change, and standardization plays a central role.

The mandate within the public sector and regulatory function to pursue the technological progress that comes with advanced aerial mobility is the single most critical enabler to successful execution.

With respect to aircraft certification, this is one existing capability area that transfers well into the future requirements.

However, changing flight standards or airspace architecture is a wholly different undertaking.

The large number of new entrants is notable in that a variety of firms are offering aircraft concepts targeting the AAM market.

Many of these have never certified an aircraft for commercial (i.e., passenger or cargo) transportation.

A new certification construct could greatly improve AAM market participation by these new, especially non-aviation, entrants, though it must be designed so that current safety standards are maintained within these new platforms.



Because UAM operations occur so close to where people live and work, there is much community interest in controlling a number of aspects of UAM, including UAMaerodrome location, community noise, operational limitations such as curfews, operations path planning, and other major concerns. Localities are permitted to develop their own ordinances, but ordinances that conflict with federal law or interfere with an exclusive area of regulation belonging to a federal agency (e.g., navigable airspace in the United States is exclusively regulated by the FAA) are preempted. Localities can have ordinances that address issues not preempted by federal law, so local ordinances impacting UAM typically cover topics that regulate the nature of use including zoning, noise, and privacy. Local regulators are also able to control development of a UAM market through mechanisms such as business licensing and safety inspections (suchas those performed by a fire marshal).



The FAA is collaborating with the NASA on their Advanced Air Mobility National Campaign.

In June 2020, FAA developed and shared the UAM Concept of Operations (ConOps) version 1.0 with both internal and external stakeholders 

March 2022: US Senate supports advanced air mobility legislation. This is the bill S.516 - Advanced Air Mobility Coordination and Leadership Act. Both the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) applauded the bill, with Pete Bunce, president and CEO of GAMA, stating that coordination at the government level will be needed to usher in this growing aviation sector.

Safety certification of autonomous vehicle systems.


One of the most important certification concerns is to ensure the vehicles are safe to fly and to land, especially in emergency situations in crowded urban areas. 


For eVTOLs to be deployed commercially at scale, 3 core aviation regulatory approvals will be required in most jurisdictions:


1. type certification - Type certifications are the regulatory approval of the airworthiness of a particular manufacturing design (type design), and are the first step for commercialization of any eVTOL. Many companies are currently in this phase of their business plans, as they design their eVTOL aircraft and pursue a type certificate.

The first step in obtaining a type certificate for an eVTOL involves airworthiness approval of the aircraft and its components according to its type design. 

FAA Order 8110.4C

To address eVTOL type certification, the FAA applies one of two existing certification processes in 14 CFR Part 21.17(a) and (b).

Part 21.17 (a) involves the designation of applicable airworthiness standards when the aircraft closely matches the characteristics of a particular airplane or rotorcraft class, along with special conditions to address any differences.

Part 21.17(b) is used for special classes of aircraft, and the FAA will apply airworthiness requirements derived from other regulations as appropriate, in addition to other airworthiness criteria that the FAA may find to provide an equivalent level of safety to existing airworthiness requirements.


The FAA is currently working on draft policy and guidance for eVTOL type certification and has indicated that it is deciding whether the process under Part 21.17(a), using the airworthiness standards for Normal Category Airplanes under 14 CFR Part 23, or the process under Part 21.17(b) will apply to eVTOLs.

Small Airplane Issues List (SAIL) Q1 FY 2022 Release

The latest SAIL and prior versions

FAA Design Approvals

Going forward, Part 21.17(a) may offer eVTOL companies more certainty with the FAA using existing airworthiness standards if the eVTOL design closely matches the characteristics a particular airplane or rotorcraft class (e.g., Normal Category Airplanes).

The FAA has also updated the airworthiness standards in Part 23 to provide for a performance-based approach, which will offer some flexibility in the special conditions applied to eVTOLs under the Part 21.17(a) process. 83 FR 21850

Part 21.17(a) may also expedite certification transferability across jurisdictions as compared to the special class process under Part 21.17(b).

Given the unique designs of eVTOL concepts, however, type certification under Part 21.17(b) may offer eVTOL companies a greater degree of flexibility. Many current eVTOL concepts differ in significant ways from available certification requirements, and future concepts are expected to require further changes to the type certification process (e.g., automation). Some examples include unique aircraft configurations, electric distributed propulsion, energy storage and distribution systems, high voltage architecture, fly-by-wire flight control systems, advanced or automated systems, crashworthiness requirements, and noise standards. In connection with the process under Part 21.17(b), these additional certification considerations are dealt with on a case-by-case basis or through Issue Papers to provide the FAA with detailed system descriptions and an understanding of what specific systems do and what other systems they are connected with, allowing the FAA to develop the requisite standards.

FAA Order 8110.112A


2. production certification - Production certification will allow mass production of a particular eVTOL and is granted when a manufacturer can demonstrate that it can produce aircraft that will meet the standards of a type certificate.

Once a type certificate is issued, eVTOL manufacturers will need to obtain a production certificate, which requires that a manufacturer demonstrate its ability to produce the aircraft to the same standards. 


3. operational authorities - To operate eVTOLs commercially by transporting passengers or cargo, additional operational requirements and authorizations for commercial operations are required.

These government approvals align with requirements for traditional commercial aircraft used in passenger and cargo operations. However, civil aviation authorities worldwide are in the process of adapting regulatory frameworks to account for fundamental differences in eVTOL technology and operations as compared to traditional aircraft.

Companies wishing to operate eVTOLs commercially must also obtain an Air Carrier Certificate from the FAA under 14 C.F.R. Part 135, which carries additional safety, maintenance, performance, and operational requirements. eVTOL operators must also obtain economic authority from the DOT to operate commercially and will be subject to associated US ownership and control requirements. Given varying requirements based on aircraft type, the FAA’s decisions around eVTOL type certification will be critical in determining the applicability of specific rules to future regulatory issues such as operations, pilots, and infrastructure, or whether new rules will be required.

14 CFR Part 135 Air Carrier and Operator Certification


Future eVTOL applications will include autonomous operations, without pilots, which present many of the same regulatory challenges that unmanned aircraft systems (UAS or “drones") have been grappling with in recent years.


AAM Coordination and Leadership Act.pdf
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A Guide to the Rulemaking Process.pdf
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AAM GAO Report_AS495.pdf
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Airspace in a Green Economy.pdf
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In the State of Arizona, in the House of Representatives, in the 55th Legislature, First Regular Session, 2021, Chapter 197 was enacted from House Bill 2485.


Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

Section 1. Urban air mobility study committee; membership; duties; report; delayed repeal

A. The urban air mobility study committee is established consisting of the following members:

1. Three members of the senate who are appointed by the president of the senate, not more than two of whom are members of the same political party.  The president of the senate shall designate one of these members to serve as co-chairperson of the committee.

2. Three members of the house of representatives who are appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives, not more than two of whom are members of the same political party. The speaker of the house of representatives shall designate one of these members to serve as co-chairperson of the committee.

3. The chief executive officer of the Arizona commerce authority or the chief executive officer's designee.

4. The director of the department of emergency and military affairs or the director's designee.

5. The director of the department of transportation or the director's designee.

6. A member of the Arizona technology council who is appointed by the governor.

7. A representative from the league of Arizona cities and towns.  The governor shall appoint this member.

8. Two members from cities with populations greater than two hundred fifty thousand persons.  The members shall be from different cities.  The governor shall appoint these members.

9. One member from a city with a population of less than one hundred thousand persons.  The governor shall appoint this member.

10. One member from the Arizona association of counties.  The governor shall appoint this member.

11. One representative from a metropolitan planning organization.  The governor shall appoint this member.

12. One representative from a university in this state.  The governor shall appoint this member.

13. One representative from a community college in this state.  The governor shall appoint this member.

14. Three members from the urban air mobility industry.  The governor shall appoint these members.

15. A member from an organization in this state that helps persons with disabilities.  The governor shall appoint this member.

16. Two members from the business community.  The governor shall appoint these members.

17. A member from an organization in this state that represents underserved transportation areas.  The governor shall appoint this member.

18. A representative of an airport located in a county with a population of more than one million persons. The governor shall appoint this member.

B. Appointed members serve at the pleasure of the person who made the appointment.

C. Committee members are not eligible to receive compensation, but members appointed by the governor are eligible for reimbursement of expenses under title 38, chapter 4, article 2, Arizona Revised Statutes.

D. The committee shall:

1. Review current laws in this state that could impact the urban air mobility industry and discuss necessary revisions.

2. Identify potential laws in this state that will create jurisdictional consistency for urban air mobility operations throughout this state.

3. Foster public acceptance and awareness by creating an outreach campaign to educate the general public and lawmakers about urban air mobility technology and its benefits.

4. Collaborate with local governments to identify the best ways to integrate urban air mobility into transportation plans.

5. On or before July 1, 2022, submit a report regarding the committee's activities and recommendations for administrative or legislative action to the governor, the president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives and provide a copy of this report to the secretary of state.

E. This section is repealed from and after September 30, 2023.




Los Angeles DOT UAM Policy

Tampa Bay Area Regional Transport Authority UAM

City of Orlando AAM


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In contrast to the approach adopted by the FAA in relying on existing regulations, EASA is developing draft regulations and a new eVTOL certification framework through a series of key building blocks. The result will be a new set of rules, with incorporation of existing regulations where possible.


The first building block to EASA's approach to certification was its July 2019 proposed special condition for Small-Category VTOL Aircraft (SVTOL).

Special condition - Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) Aircraft (SC-VTOL-01 download below)

In May 2020, EASA published its first set of means of compliance for the SVTOL.

Proposed Means of Compliance with the Special Condition VTOL (proposed_moc_sc_vtol_issue_1 download below)

In June 2022 EASA published its third set of means of compliance for the SVTOL

Third Publication of Proposed Means of Compliance with the Special Condition VTOL (moc-3_SC-VTOL_Issue_1 download below)

In May 2021, EASA published phase two of the SVTOL.

Means of Compliance with the Special Condition VTOL (moc_sc_vtol_issue_2 download below)

In Dec 2022, EASA published phase three of the SVTOL

Means of Compliance with the Special Condition VTOL (moc_sc_vtol_issue_3 download below)


EASA’s SVTOL means of compliance are intended to provide clarity to eVTOL manufacturers and investors on the airworthiness standards for issuing eVTOL type certificates and how EASA will address the unique characteristics these aircraft. Like the FAA, safety remains the top concern for EASA. With its draft regulations, EASA aims to develop a “one size fits all” approach to ensure that all eVTOL designs accomplish a comparable safety level. While EASA is still developing the SVTOL, eVTOL companies are already proceeding in obtaining their certification basis under SVTOL. Similar to FAA Issue Papers, this process is being conducted through Certification Review Items, which are a formal administrative means for EASA to record certification subjects and interpretations throughout a certification project.

CRI and CAI writing and management


Similar to the FAA, EASA also requires companies manufacturing type certificated products to obtain a Production Organization Approval.

Production Organisations Approvals

eVTOL operators must obtain an Air Operator Certificate, which outlines EASA’s technical requirements and administrative procedures for airline certification. However, current EASA AOC requirements are tailored to existing types of aircraft and eVTOLs. Additionally, operational authorizations are currently handled by each EU Member State.

EASA is therefore conducting a rulemaking process to address the integration of eVTOLs into European airspace.

ToR RMT.0230


Similar to the FAA’s decisions on eVTOL type certification, EASA’s decisions around the SVTOL will be an important factor in determining the rules that will ultimately apply to other regulatory issues critical to the commercial deployment of eVTOLs, such as operations, pilots, and infrastructure.

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DGAC published the updated version of UAS in the specific category, and included UAM.

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MagazineDGAC_393 (1).pdf
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Italy AAM

01_Piano Strategico Nazionale AAM_ENAC_w[...]
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02_AAM Italian Ecosystem – Project overv[...]
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03_AAM Business Plan_web.pdf
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The roadmap sets out Australia’s future approach to aviation safety regulation and oversight for remotely piloted aircraft systems and advanced air mobility. It has been developed as an initiative under the National Emerging Aviation Technologies Policy Statement. To create the roadmap, the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel set up a technical working group to help the co-design process with industry.

The Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Strategic Regulatory Roadmapoutlines Australia's approach for RPAS and AAM regulations over the next 10 to 15 years. It sets out their long-term plan for safely integrating these technologies into Australia’s airspace and future regulatory system, alongside traditional aviation.

The RPAS and AAM Strategic Regulatory Roadmap Glossary

The roadmap has been developed using 6 regulatory areas across 4 time horizons. These guide the activities set out in this roadmap.

Time horizons

Immediate term – 2022 to 2023

Near term – 2023 to 2026

Medium term – 2026 to 2031

Long term – 2031 to 2036

Use cases

Regulatory areas

Aircraft and aircraft systems

Airspace and traffic management




Safety and security



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