Avionics News October 2019 - 42

URBAN AIR MOBILITY
Continued from page 41

director of maintenance but advised 119.71 allows
the agency to waive experience requirements - not
certificate requirements.
Wing also seemed to question the need for mechanic
certification with airframe and powerplant ratings
or repairman certification for certain maintenance
functions. Although the details of Wing's final
maintenance requirements will be outlined in its
general maintenance manual and manufacturer
maintenance and inspection information, the FAA
reiterated that "persons performing maintenance
must at least hold an appropriate certification for the
performance of maintenance as specified in 43.3,
such as an airframe and powerplant or repairman
certificate."
The FAA's response to the Wing exemption request
indicates the agency expects new entrants, including
those utilizing new technology, to the Part 135 space
to model their maintenance functions and personnel
qualifications in accordance with most existing
regulations.
Airman Certification
What will airman qualification and training
requirements look like?
Airman certification and qualification might be
relatively easy to address in the initial phases of
eVTOL and UAM, but when emerging technologies in
autonomous flight become viable, new questions will
be raised regarding airman certification. Will operators
or monitors of autonomous aircraft be required to
hold commercial pilot certificates? Where will these
airmen come from in an age of increasing workforce
challenges in aviation? Even before autonomous flight,
what qualifies a pilot to use and monitor all-new
propulsion systems, powered by electricity?
Current Part 135 requirements mandate a
commercial-rated pilot have at least 500 hours of time
as a pilot, including at least 100 hours of cross-country
flight time. The FAA approved an exemption for
Wing Aviation's pilot qualifications, indicating some
exceptions to this requirement may be appropriate,
but maintained the requirement for a commercial pilot
certificate. Further, it's unlikely major exceptions to
pilot experience will be made to passenger-carrying
operations.
Part 135 regulations regarding pilot training are
fairly general, but the related inspector guidance is
42

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october

2019

extremely prescriptive. Wing Aviation applied for a
single-pilot Part 135 certificate. As such, the company
was not required to produce for FAA approval or
implement a formal training program. This leaves a
lot of questions regarding airman training unasked and
unresolved.
The implementation of night vision goggles
demonstrates one way to address airman qualification
in new technologies. An endorsement is required to use
NVG under Part 91. That endorsement can be waived
if a pilot completes an appropriate check under Part
135 and the Part 135 operator holds an operations
specification for NVG use under Part 135. It's possible
airman qualifications in eVTOL technology could be
addressed in a similar manner.
Business Models
The majority of UAM business enterprises currently
being discussed will be flown under Part 135. Many
of the UAM models will necessitate per-seat sale of
tickets. Traditionally, Part 135 charter involves the
sale of use of the entire aircraft, not single seats. In
fact, per-seat on-demand business models face some
regulatory hurdles - not only with the FAA but also
with the Department of Transportation - because ondemand air charter operators are not typically permitted
to operate on a schedule.
A schedule is set if the operator determines three
factors: date/time of flight, departure location, and
arrival location.
Self-aggregation, in which customers essentially set
the schedule, may be a way for the operator to avoid
setting a schedule. Think of the UberPool function of
the Uber app. A passenger requests a ride at a particular
time to a specific destination. If another passenger
happens to need a ride at the same time to a similar
location, the app puts these riders together and the
ride occurs. That's a quick look at self-aggregation.
However, the DOT recently published regulations
regarding air charter brokering, and in the preamble of
that rule, expressly declined to comment on legality of
self-aggregation.
UAM operators will need to explore some creative
options with the FAA and DOT to legally conduct perseat on-demand operations.
Part 119 management personnel
Part 119 sets specific experience requirements and
qualifications for the director of operations, director of
maintenance, and chief pilot of Part 135 operations.
Do the existing requirements for Part 119 personnel



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