Vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles are a widely accepted part of aviation. From helicopters to F35B fighter jets, vertical take-off and landing has shown many benefits. In fact, many electric aircraft designers are focusing on creating electric or eVTOL aircraft in order to create commuter flight services that may one day have less environmental impact and cost than conventional airplanes.
A VTOL aircraft reduces the need for a runway and, in many cases, for other transportation to move you from those runways to where you actually need to go. VTOL offers direct point-to-point transportation. The direct nature of VTOL flight is why helicopters are commonly used in military and emergency medical situations.
From an environmental perspective, VTOL reduces the fuel used during the runway and taxiing portions of the flight, along with time spent circling busy airports waiting for runway space. But from a safety perspective, increased VTOL aircraft usage presents a host of new safety concerns.
Increased VTOL Use Could Lead to Serious Safety Concerns
Although VTOL aircraft provide some safety benefits over traditional airplanes—including not needing a runway to taxi, take-off, or land—there are still real challenges behind the move to increase VTOL transportation. As with the move to self-driving vehicles, the move to eVTOL will have its benefits, but could also have very real drawbacks.
Not requiring all aircraft to land at an airport will change traffic patterns in the sky above the cities. Already, some tourist attractions boast enough aircraft that critics say the sky in the immediate area is too crowded, and the regulations aren’t strict enough on air tour companies. With more aircraft in the sky above cities, regulators will have to move to ensure that not only are the aircraft themselves safe, but also that they are operated in a safe manner.
Consider what might happen when VTOL air-taxi services begin landing at the tops of buildings downtown. That could create massive air traffic, with only a limited number of controllers to tell operators when it is safe for them to take off or land. This increases the risk of a catastrophic accident involving a VTOL aircraft. Accidents in urban areas increase the risk of fatalities on the ground, as well.
And, while the aircraft might be smaller than typical planes, they could still cause a lot of damage if they were to crash into a building.
These are all issues for regulators to explore before VTOL aircraft becomes widely used as an alternative commercial transportation system. Although the damage caused by a VTOL accident might be small compared with that of a passenger jet, it’s possible that accident patterns could become similar to those of passenger cars. A lot of small accidents involving one or two VTOL aircraft can quickly add up to a large number of severe injuries or fatalities.
Multiple lawyers recommended Wisner Baum to me and I have been consistently impressed with the quality of their work.- Best Law Firms Survey
Wisner Baum are not only amazing attorneys but more importantly, they are activists. They are about changing the systems which got us into trouble in the first place. They understand their role in the process of making change.- Kim Witczak
The Wisner Baum firm has some of the top legal minds in the country; they are driven, determined, trustworthy, ethical and passionate.- From Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms
Thanks to your efforts I was able to recover from a tragic experience and turn my life around for the best.- W.T.
A special thank you to your Spanish-speaking staff for the extra effort put into this case. The language barrier was never a problem, and we are so very thankful to them. Your name holds much respect in our family.- G.C. & C.C
It is obvious that the people at Wisner Baum believe in what they do. And that you all really care about your clients.- The B. Family
I appreciate that you care about how I feel and that you take time to use your talents to ensure your every contact with me is warmly professional.- A.D.B.
I wanted a fair settlement within an appropriate time frame, and without any public scrutiny. With your hard work and dedication, we were able to achieve those goals.- T.O.