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Infrastructure Regulation with Frederic Laugere, CAA

Infrastructure Regulation with Frederic Laugere, CAA

The aerospace sector is seeking to reduce emissions and there are two clear trends emerging. One is for more electric aircraft (MEA) achieved through electronically controlled systems in larger aircraft. The second is for completely electrified aircraft in the form of smaller, urban air mobility solutions.

Airport infrastructure compatible with this new electrified flight is a key component for future commercial aerospace operation.

Frederic Laugere, Innovation Services Lead at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), explains: “Innovation in aerospace electrification has largely been focused on the design of vehicles and propulsion systems. But, we must not forget the importance of the wider ecosystem which includes groundside infrastructures.”

With electrification still relatively new in aerospace, regulations and standards around electrical systems, safety and groundside infrastructure are still at an embryonic stage. Frederic and the CAA know there are challenges ahead and are working closely with industry to address key regulatory issues, such as:

  • Electrification’s impact on rescue and firefighting services.
  • Charging procedures and infrastructure requirements.
  • Safety and security of landing areas.
  • Cyber security requirements to ensure all critical network and information systems maintain confidentiality, integrity and availability.

In particular, Frederic emphasised the importance of noise pollution and minimising visual effects’ on public acceptance of electrified aircraft. For example, while you might assume electric aircraft are quieter than traditional aircraft, it remains unclear how their noise levels impact communities on the ground.

Frederic comments: “The industry is very aware that noise can be something that limits social acceptance to the population on the ground. We are encouraging the industry to explore the impact of noise. Innovators will really have to build trust and acceptance from the public. The Innovation Hub has published guidance on Social License to operate and how innovators can build in social engagement”

The CAA have launched two initiatives to address these key questions being asked. Firstly, the aviation industry are being invited to join a Regulatory Sandbox to trial solutions with the guidance of the CAA. Innovators will be able to explore options, demonstrate how solutions mitigate any risks and gather the necessary evidence. Frederic says: “We believe the quickest way to learn is to run tests in a safe environment that poses no threat to public and airspace users.”

The second initiative is an open call to stakeholders to provide insight on risk management and help shape regulatory requirements for future commercial operations. This call is open to all experts who have experience in the design or production of future air mobility solutions, or are involved in related research and risk management activities. This could include the aircraft themselves; landing and take-off infrastructure; passenger services; air navigation software and hardware; and airspace design.

You can find more information on the above opportunities at: www.caa.co.uk/Our-work/Innovation/Regulatory-challenges-for-innovation-in-aviation/ alternatively, for more information, you can contact the innovation team at innovation@caa.co.uk 

Frederic Laugere, Innovation Services Lead at the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA),