NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Follow this link to skip to the main content
+ Visit
+ Contact NASA

+ Home
Aviation Systems
Search Aviation Systems

ATM-X UAM Leadership Briefs NATCA on UML-3 Airspace OIA
November 1, 2022

On October 20, 2022, the Air Traffic Management Exploration (ATM-X) Project’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Airspace Management Subproject Manager, Kevin Witzberger and UAM Principal Engineer, Dr. Ian Levitt, met with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) William J. Hughes Technical Center (WJHTC) and National Air Traffic Control Association (NATCA) personnel to share information on the UAM Maturity Level 3 (UML-3) Operational Integration Assessment (OIA). Will Hutson, the NATCA National UAM/UTM Representative, and Adam Rhodes, the NATCA National NextGen Representative, attended the meeting. The information-sharing session discussed developments on the accredited NASA/FAA Laboratory Integrated Test Environment (NFLITE), and the ongoing work with NASA ATM-X on the UML-3 OIA. The NATCA representatives were enthusiastic about the support and expressed their desire to stay involved as the UML-3 OIA progresses. Next steps include inviting NATCA to participate in upcoming tabletop exercises with NASA and the FAA in January 2023.

POC: Kevin Witzberger

ATM-X UAM Visits Blade Urban Air Mobility
October 25, 2022

Group photo at Blade with the Hudson River in the Background

On October 13, 2022, members of NASA’s Air Traffic Management Exploration (ATM-X) Project’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Airspace Subproject visited the Blade Urban Air Mobility Headquarters in New York City. The UAM team was joined by the AAM Project’s National Campaign (NC) Integration of Automated Systems (IAS) lead, Adam Yingling and the NC Partner Demonstration Tech Lead, Gerrit Everson. The Blade founder and Chief Executive Officer, Robert S. Wiesenthal, opened the meeting with an overview of Blade and described potential future opportunities and challenges associated with electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicles (eVTOLs). Blade’s Chief Technology Officer, Brandon Keene, introduced members of Blade’s operations team and that facilitated a lively question and answer session with the NASA attendees. Since Blade is an indirect air carrier and the only operational UAM service provider, NASA gained valuable insight into current operational challenges and markets, and potential future challenges and markets associated with using eVTOLs that could not otherwise be gained. Currently, organ transport operations provide 55% of their operations while air taxi services to and from the Hamptons on Long Island are their most profitable. Blade offers airport transfers to and from the three major international airports in the New York City area. Key takeaways from this visit included: 1) quieter eVTOLs will provide opportunities for growth in areas that cannot be serviced today by noisy helicopters; 2) current and future NYC operations will need to make use of current infrastructure and helicopter routes for the foreseeable future; 3) Blade serves as an indirect air carrier and while unique, it is also intentional because it extracts Blade from the liability and insurance issues that the operator is responsible for; and 4) future NYC operations that use eVTOLs will need to integrate safely with current helicopter operations rather than replace current helicopter operations.

Blade Founder and CEO, Rob Wiesenthal Pointing to Current Infrastructure along the Hudson River

Airport Transfer Use Case. Taking off from the Hudson River Helipad to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)

Airport Transfer Use Case. View of Lower Manhattan Enroute to EWR

Airport Transfer Use Case: Approach over EWR

Airport transfer use-case. Arrival at Fixed Operating Base at EWR

POC: Kevin Witzberger

ATM-X UAM Team Members Visit the Helo Holdings, Inc. Heliport
October 25, 2022

Group photo with the UAM team and HHI Heliport CEO, Jeff Hyman. In the background is a helicopter and a bridge.
NASA UAM team members with HHI Heliport CEO, Jeff Hyman.

On October 15, 2022, five members of the ATM-X Project’s UAM Subproject visited the Helo Holdings, Inc. Heliport (HHI Heliport) in Kearny, NJ. The UAM team met with Jeff Hyman, the Chief Executive Officer, and received a tour of the facility. HHI Heliport is a private, helicopter-only Fixed Based Operator and conducts an average of 90 operations a day in the busiest helicopter environment in the world.

Helicopter on ground before Takeoff Showing a Commercial Airliner in Background
Helicopter on ground before Takeoff Showing a Commercial Airliner in Background.

The HHI Heliport is a two-minute helicopter flight away from commonly used heliports in Manhattan. HHI Heliport’s location close to Manhattan, Newark Liberty International Airport, and several major distribution warehouses, which makes it an attractive location for future electric vertical takeoff and landing operations. Mr. Hyman discussed potential future facility expansion opportunities including notional graphical vertiport depictions. Challenges associated with the limited capacity of the electric grid were also discussed. As an experienced helicopter pilot, Mr. Hyman provided his insights into challenges associated with sharing landing and take-off resources for mixed helicopter and eVTOL operations.

POC: Kevin Witzberger

AAM/NC North Texas Conducts Cohort Flight Test
October 18, 2022

Laptop displaying the simulated North Texas air route.

On October 11, 2022, National Campaign (NC) researchers within the AAM Project took a step towards next generation UAM air travel with a successful live flight test of emerging technologies. This flight demonstration was done in collaboration with a nationwide partnership of companies and government agencies, which included future airspace system automation, i.e., providers of services for UAM (PSU), advanced communications infrastructure, a surrogate electric Vertical Takeoff, and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft and a simulated air route in the North Texas area. This effort is one of several ongoing NASA AAM National Campaign partnerships by a team collectively titled the North Texas (NTX) Cohort. The NTX Cohort includes representatives from fifteen companies, universities, and government agencies who have been collaborating on the project for two years. The test built upon the earlier UAM simulation work conducted in the Strategic Conflict Management Simulation (X4) led by the Air Traffic Management Exploration (ATM-X) Project’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Sub-Project team.

Group photo of the flight test team in front of the Bell 407 helicopter used for the test.

The vehicle, a Bell 407GXi helicopter provided by Bell Textron, flew a simulated high-demand route for unmanned, autonomous cargo and passenger-carrying air transport while providing vital data for industry standards in airspace management, vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, and UAM flight operations. A researcher onboard the vehicle utilized a tablet display, which was specifically customized to receive and send pertinent data for overall situational awareness and information exchange. The NTX Cohort team was able to expand on earlier NASA-led research by validating the integration of live weather data and dynamic capacity balancing into a complex hardware/software solution needed to realize the next generation of airborne travel. The helicopter, which was utilized as a surrogate eVTOL for the demonstration, completed the flight along a notional high demand route while providing real-time weather and demand data to a traffic management system monitored on the ground. The route was flown multiple times and led to valuable lessons on the required information exchanged between the ground and air vehicle.

Photo of the operations setup.

Lessons from the NTX Cohort research will be documented in a forthcoming flight test report.

POC: Greg Juro

ATM-X xTM ETM Team Meets with Industry, the FAA, and OGAs
October 18, 2022

On October 13, 2022, the Air Traffic Management Exploration (ATM-X) Project’s Extensible Traffic Management (xTM) Subproject Upper Class E Traffic Management (ETM) team met with representatives from industry, the FAA, the Department of Defense (DoD), the US Forest Service (USFS), and other NASA organizations. During this meeting, the xTM’s Upper Class E Traffic Management (ETM) team, along with members of industry, provided news and updates on recent and ongoing developments, a discussion on altitude referencing and implications for separation in the stratosphere was also held, followed by an overview of a recent, record-breaking flight test by a fixed wing High Altitude Long Endurance aircraft. A summary of relevant papers in review at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for the current assembly was also presented. This was followed by the first public presentation of the Cooperative Area Concept by the FAA to a broader audience. Recent NASA work and resulting publications on negotiation modeling were also presented.

POC: Jeff Homola

ATM-X UAM Team Visits the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center
October 18, 2022

Photo of the UAM team meeting with FAA representatives at the William J. Hughes Tech Center.

On October 12, 2022, members of NASA’s ATM-X Project’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Airspace Subproject visited the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center (WJHTC) near the Atlantic City International Airport (ACY) in New Jersey. The UAM team was joined by the AAM NC Integration of Automated Systems (IAS) lead, Adam Yingling and the NC Partner Demonstration Tech Lead, Gerrit Everson. NASA representatives met with FAA personnel including Marty Suech, Operational Integration and Test Strategic Coordinator; John Bradley, Air Traffic Control Subject Matter Expert; Tom Rubino, Verification and Validation Strategies and Practices Branch representative; and Chuck Romano, the Strategic Initiatives Coordinator for Test and Evaluation. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the joint NASA-FAA UAM Maturity Level (UML) 3 Operational Integration Assessment (OIA) scheduled in 2025. Discussion topics ranged from sharing lessons learned from Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) and ACY simulated airspace procedures and design efforts to NASA, FAA, and Industry expected UML-3 OIA roles and responsibilities. Two important outcomes of the meeting included: 1) identifying a need to connect a NASA ARC facility to the existing NASA-FAA Laboratory Integrated Test Environment (NFLITE) to ensure the research objectives can be satisfied while also establishing a persistent capability that other AAM efforts can leverage after the UML-3 OIA is completed; and 2) informing opportunities for future NC flight tests with UAM airspace simulation efforts.

Kevin Witzberger, the UAM Subproject Manager, Dr. Ian Levitt, the UAM Principal Engineer, and Eric Neiderman, the WJHTC Deputy Director, had further discussions about AAM ecosystem research needs, and potential opportunities to establish shared capabilities across NASA and FAA organizations to help address the research needs.

POC: Kevin Witzberger

AAM/NC Conducts Tabletops with Industry Partners to Explore Airspace Automation Functional Allocations
October 18, 2022

Over the past several months, the National Campaign’s Wisk partner demo team completed a series of ten tabletop exercises with a variety of industry partners to explore functional allocations required for airspace automation in the AAM ecosystem. These exercises were conducted between March and October 2022, and partners included:
  • One aircraft Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM): Wisk Aero
  • Five airspace service providers: Avision, OneSky, SkyGrid, ANRA, and Collins Aerospace
  • Two Command and Control Comm Service Providers (C2CSP): AURA and Collins Aerospace
More work is needed to assess concepts and generate data to address technical and regulatory gaps requiring operational solutions to enable an increasingly automated AAM ecosystem. The NASA team worked with Wisk Aero, the primary partner in this activity, to develop Provider of Services for UAM (PSU) user stories based on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) and Wisk’s public Concept of Operations (CONOPS). From March to May the first set of tabletops discussed characteristics of progressive UAM maturity levels based on the PSU user stories. These discussions are believed to be the first combined meetings between an aircraft OEM, government researchers, and airspace service providers to address airspace automation concepts. The next phase of this activity developed detailed scenarios for flight tabletop exercises conducted between August and October 2022. In addition to OEM and airspace partner collaboration, the two C2CSP partners were also included. These exercises have included a realistic set of initial conditions, assumptions, and infrastructure to facilitate detailed discussion on disparate systems that will be required to work together for efficiency and safety in AAM ecosystems. A final report of lessons learned from the tabletop meetings and exercises will be completed by the end of 2022.

POC: Gerrit Everson, Brad Snelling

+ View Archive
Why Flying Car Startups Are Seeking A Quiet Takeoff
September 14, 2021
NASA's role in Advanced Air Mobility to help the EVTOL industry reduce aviation noise pollution caused by flying "cars" is featured in this piece by the Wall Street Journal.
+ Watch the video

Ames Aeronautics Contributions to the Virgin Orbit Flight into Space
February 4, 2021
NASA Ames Research Center's contributions to the Virgin Orbit flight that launched small satellites into orbit from a jet airplane are featured in this article on
+ Read the article

NASA Partners with Boeing on Test Flights to Advance Aviation
August 28, 2020
NASA's partnership with Boeing on the EcoDemonstrator Program is featured on
+ Read the article

Meet NASA’s air taxi simulator
November 26, 2019
The Vertical Motion Simulator is featured on the Aerospace America website about how Silicon Valley tests aim to assess passenger motion sickness.
+ Read the article

NASA Showcases Benefits of Air Traffic Management Tools
October 23, 2019
ATD-2 Project work is featured on
+ Read the article

Getting to the moon takes practice — on a giant machine in Mountain View
June 4, 2019
Peter Fimrite from the San Francisco Chronicle reports on NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine's visit to the Vertical Motion Simulator and its role in the next human trip to the moon.
+ Read the article

Big City Life Awaits Drones in Final Year of NASA Research
May 20, 2019
From NASA Public Affairs.
+ Read the article

NASA Invites Media to Watch Drone Traffic Management Testing
May 16, 2019
NASA Press Release.
+ Read the article

How NASA makes your airplane flights better than ever
September 28, 2018
Interesting article on NASA Aeronautics from CNET.
+ Read the article

Transportation engineer involved in drone traffic management
June 1, 2018
Debra Werner of Aerospace America interviews Arwa Aweiss, Flight Test Director for NASA's UTM Project.
+ Read the article

+ More Media Articles
Highlights Archive
Past division highlights.
+ View Archive

In the Media
Division news as reported by other news outlets.
+ Read Articles
FirstGov - Your First Click to the US Government
+ Freedom of Information Act
+ Budgets, Strategic Plans and Accountability Reports
+ The President's Management Agenda
+ NASA Privacy Statement, Disclaimer,
and Accessibility Certification

+ Inspector General Hotline
+ Equal Employment Opportunity Data Posted Pursuant
to the No Fear Act

+ Information-Dissemination Priorities and Inventories
+ NASA Privacy Statement
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA Official:
Last Updated: November 7, 2022

+ Contact Us
+ About This Site

+ Download Acrobat Reader