“Present fears are less than horrible imaginings.”—William Shakespeare
The FAA recently made clear it will impose more stringent requirements on Urban Air Mobility (UAM) vehicles. In response, pundits started screaming about the end of that market even before it began. They think the added costs are insurmountable.
Who told them that?
Yes, there will be significant costs in the added requirements. But many companies have managed to work themselves through FAA regulations and come out with safe and profitable models.
Profitability, of course, is the key. To clear development and certification costs, UAM manufacturers need to know if they can make money with their products. All should note the United Airlines (UA) order from Archer. UA will spend $5M for five-seat Archers, which are only slightly faster than five-seater Robinson R66s, which sell for $1.1M. Oh, and the Archer has about a seventh the range of the R66. The difference is the decibels. Lower noise widens the market for UAMs, which should have comparable or lower costs than traditional helicopters (due to fewer parts) and higher prices.
Next time someone tells you the sky (or UAM market) is falling, see what they’ve shorted.