AURA Network Systems, a Virginia-based startup that holds licensed spectrum dedicated for use in building the nation’s digital aviation communications infrastructure, urged federal regulators and policymakers to create a comprehensive spectrum access plan and continue interagency coordination, while also calling for “a clear FAA approval process for third-party services supporting AAM, including command-and-control.”
AURA’s comments came in response to a Department of Transportation request for information (RFI) on development of a national strategy for Advanced Air Mobility, or AAM; AURA responded with a 32-page white paper detailing its views. Bill Tolpegin, AURA Networks Systems founder and CEO, voiced his appreciation for the increased attention given to AAM by lawmakers and regulators, as well as for the call for industry input.
“By passing The Advanced Air Mobility Coordination and Leadership Act last year, Congress got the ball rolling and one of the great things that’s come out of that legislation is this Transportation Department request for information on AAM,” said Tolpegin.
“We’re at a critical juncture for this nascent industry, and it’s a great opportunity for the agency and Congress to hear how we can develop a successful AAM system in the United States. From our view as long-time aviation comms experts, we strongly believe it is in the best interest of federal agencies and industry to internalize the foundational nature of dedicated aviation spectrum and a capable digital communications infrastructure to the success of any AAM system,” added Tolpegin.
The AURA white paper also details the umbrella concept of Enabling Communications — which encompasses command-and-control (C2); position, navigation, and timing (PNT); detect and avoid (DAA); vehicle to vehicle (V2V); and air traffic control (ATC) voice — as well as the relevant spectrum bands, the standards, and policy considerations for each. As it states, “ultimately, the aircraft, operational plans, and all the enabling technologies and services need to be considered holistically to maximize the likelihood of AAM’s success, and to enable the U.S. to capture all the benefits of AAM.”
Brian Regan, AURA Chief Legal & Regulatory Officer, emphasized the need to more comprehensively expand regulatory focus on aircraft and flight operations to the third-party services necessary to support AAM.
“As an industry, we are digging ourselves into a hole by not giving sufficient weight in various AAM CONOPs frameworks to the third-party services necessary to support AAM,” said Regan. “And as the saying goes, when you’re in a hole, stop digging. This white paper offers a path upwards that recognizes the critical importance of Enabling Communications to U.S. leadership in AAM.”