Earlier this year, representatives from the Virginia Department of Aviation (DOAV) and the Unmanned Systems Center at the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC) collaborated with JobsOhio and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to co-lead discussions at the second meeting of the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Multistate Collaborative. The focus was on developing policy frameworks to support this innovative mode of transportation, which promises to open up new markets currently underserved by traditional commercial aviation.

Leaders from JobsOhio and Virginia co-hosted the event alongside aviation officials from 18 states at the National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence (NAAMCE) in Springfield, Ohio. Over two days, state officials had the opportunity to engage in various demonstrations, including Beta Technologies’ vertical flight simulator, ODOT’s air operation center and the SkyVision detect and avoid system. The event also facilitated discussions on minimum service levels, economic and workforce development, and sustainable funding resources.

Acknowledging the diversity in approaches among states in developing AAM frameworks tailored to their specific needs, the Collaborative aims to collaborate with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and industry stakeholders to establish a unified national AAM system. Formed by the DOAV, VIPC, and JobsOhio last year, the group convened its inaugural meeting in November in Herndon, Virginia. Membership in the Collaborative is open to all states.

“State governments will play a vital role in the development of AAM policy and infrastructure, as they have done since the birth of aviation more than 100 years ago,” said Greg Campbell, Director of DOAV. “We’re working together as states to develop a consistent set of policies and uniform facilities to continue the high degree of safety that is expected in the aviation industry.”

Numerous companies and organizations presented to the group on two pivotal topics crucial to the advancement of AAM: Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) and Vertiports. Subject matter experts from Virginia, including representatives from ANRA Technologies of Chantilly, ATA Aviation of Fredericksburg, and the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) in Blacksburg, actively participated in these technical discussions.

“The AAM industry is developing at a rapid pace, with the anticipation of the first certified aircraft entering service as soon as next year,” said Tracy Tynan, director of the Virginia Unmanned Systems Center at VIPC. “This group is meeting regularly and will collaborate with the FAA and industry to build a nationwide network to support the growth of AAM.”

Members shared insights regarding AAM issues with their counterparts from other states at the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) conference in Washington. Furthermore, the group intends to publish technical and policy papers outlining their perspectives on the role of states in fostering an interoperable national AAM system.