Skyportz Reveals Design for Australia’s First Electric Air Taxi Vertiport
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M Crosby
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At the AAUS annual Advanced Air Mobility summit in Melbourne, Skyportz showcased the design of its first vertiport in Australia. Located at Caribbean Park in Victoria, the fastest growing business precinct outside of the Melbourne CBD, the vertiport will serve Australia’s emerging electric air taxi industry. Skyportz and Caribbean Park have collaborated with Contreras Earl Architects, to70 aviation, ARUP and Microflite to develop a design that meets the necessary operational requirements to serve as a vertiport for Advanced Air Mobility.
“With the development of a vertiport in a business park we are breaking the nexus between aviation and airports. For this industry to succeed it needs to have policy makers pushing the envelope to support new ‘mini airports’ in locations people want to go,” said Skyportz CEO Clem Newton-Brown. “However community support is going to be the key to the development of these services. The community is going to have to see the benefits. Electric air taxis will be a new era in aviation where clean, green and quiet small aircraft can take people to places they want to go – be it work or leisure. The Caribbean Park vertiport is the first in a network of sites we will establish in advance of the aircraft becoming operational.”
“We are strategically and ideally placed to host the first Skyportz in Australia and we hope that in time, a variety of new and emerging businesses take advantage of this leading infrastructure,” said Caribbean Park Managing Director Ben Spooner. “Caribbean Park is the largest and fastest growing business precinct outside the Melbourne CBD and we are focused on building a model, suburban workplace of the future.”
Skyportz is currently looking for investment partners to support the funding of the Caribbean Park vertiport’s construction, set to be the first in a stable of vertiports throughout Australia.
“Not all sites will be suitable for vertiports as an urban environment presents all sorts of challenges for aviation,” said Phil Owen, Senior Aviation Consultant at to70. “The Caribbean Park site is perfectly situated on a very large open site with good access and a manageable obstacle environment that allows into wind approaches and departures from multiple directions.”
“Vertiports need to be designed to be flexible for the many potential futures that AAM can bring, the facilities also incorporate many elements that will be found in a modern airport terminal as well as other considerations which are emerging in this industry,” said Arup Aviation Skills Leader Ronan Delaney. “Passenger experience, baggage handling, security screening, fire engineering, battery charging infrastructure, transport network planning and acoustic / environmental impacts are all examples of what needs to be incorporated into vertiport designs”.
CASA recently revealed a roadmap for the introduction of Advanced Air Mobility to Australia. Some “eVTOL” (Electric Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft are expected to be commercially authorized to accept passengers by 2024. There are currently more than 300 designs in development, with some developers already producing working prototypes.
“We are proud to have designed Australia’s first vertiport – a beautiful, sculptural, ground-breaking terminal that contributes to the evolution of architecture and to the future of our communities and cities,” said Rafael Contreras, Director of Contreras Earl Architecture. “We founded Contreras Earl Architecture to design original, inventive buildings like Skyportz, as we believe architecture and technology should evolve together. Using advanced technology, we developed an efficient modular design made with recyclable aluminium. The system is lightweight, prefabricated and assembled on site, so that it can be adapted and configured for a broad range of settings and scaled for mass production.”
“Caribbean Park has been used for helicopter transfers for many years. As a major operator throughout Victoria we are acutely aware of the existing demand for flights from the southeast of Melbourne,” said Microflite COO Rodney Higgins. “We are looking forward to utilizing this facility and the broader Skyportz network as our operations morph into electric aircraft, enabling us to create new destinations and services for the community.”
Read more about Skyportz and vertical ports:
Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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