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Airnova to Develop Vertiport System for France

France-based vertiport company Airnova plans to develop a vertiport network that connects all major cities in France. A donation campaign of 3 million Euros was launched as part of the first vertiport network. The company made an investment of 500.000 Euros. The company aims to build 15 to 20 new vertiports per year by 2023. Within the scope of the project, the biggest cities of France such as Bordeaux, Nantes and Toulouse are targeted in the first place.

As it is known, vertiport enables vertical take-off and landing vehicles to land and take off in the city. Vertiports, a solution brought by developing technology and systems, have a design that is suitable for the capabilities of new VTOL vehicle systems with vertical take-off and landing.

It is estimated that once administrative clearance is granted, it will take 12 to 24 months to construct a vertiport and six to eight months to convert an existing helipad to make it suitable for eVTOLs.

While developing the vertiport design, Airnova consulted with eVTOL companies such as Volocopter and Airbus, as well as several helicopter operating companies.

Laurent Mathiolon, CEO and founder of Airnova, said: “In 2020, Airnova created a unique vertiport design that was later approved for the French region by the French intellectual property rights institute INPI in April 2022. Its expansion to the rest of Europe is currently under approval.” Mathiolon said the landing surfaces are designed to accommodate aircraft weighing up to eight tons, and a slight elevation aims to improve eVTOL landing performance by reducing venturi and ground effects. In addition, Mathiolon said that this configuration will also provide easier access to the bottom of the eVTOLs for logistics and battery maintenance operations.

The company will present three main types of vertiport designs. One of them is the design of transforming existing helipads on the roof of hospitals by adding battery charging stations and robotic arms to support medical logistics operations. Another is the vertiport infrastructure design, called VertiStations, ideally outside the city and near logistics centers. This design is aimed at VertiStations performing eVTOL operations in regional or rural areas. Airnova’s latest design is the construction of urban vertiports on the roofs of high-rise buildings that provide direct access to the city centre.

Vertiports will have two landing strips and two parking stations for logistics operations and rapid battery charging. These areas will cover a floor surface area of ​​approximately 1000 square meters. In addition, it will be designed to provide eVTOL aircraft with access to a variety of power sources, such as electric charging stations or future hydrogen charging stations when the technology is available. Spare batteries can also be placed near parking stations.

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