Thirty companies are involved in testing the aircraft that will be essential to Paris’ traffic during the event, according to the vice-president of the Île-de-France region. Regular eVTOL passenger transport routes and infrastructure are planned to be deployed in France in time for the 2024 Paris Olympics, and preparations will start soon, according to the airport operator Group ADP. The site where the first tests will be carried out is the Pontoise-Cormeilles Aerodrome, 35 kilometres from Paris, which hosts around 60 flights a day, making it an ideal environment to try to integrate air taxis into aircraft traffic.
Before that, however, the noise impact of the eVTOLs will be assessed, starting next March with tests involving Volocopter vehicles, analysing noise levels and modelling the effects both near and far. The specific sound of eVTOLs may have to be adapted to in the near future by residents of certain cities, including Los Angeles and Miami, as more and more companies plan to launch regular air taxi services. As the vehicles fly much more quietly than, for example, helicopters or aeroplanes, this should not be a major problem, except that the air taxis will be flying relatively close to the traffic on the streets.
In Paris, they will test flying below 300 metres, which is lower than what is normally allowed for aircraft in built-up, urban environments globally. To avoid noise pollution, eVTOL manufacturers are placing emphasis on achieving the quietest possible operation in aircraft design, for example Joby Aviation, which carried out a noise level test with NASA in September, said that by positioning the propellers and choosing the right blade size, they can achieve quite quiet operation.
In addition to Joby and Volocopter, Airbus, Vertical Aerospace, Ascendance and Lilium are involved in the preparatory processes, with other companies joining later, and Skyports will build the vertiport infrastructure to test passenger pick-up, battery charging and vehicle maintenance from June 2022.
Volocopter has already announced that they are starting preparations to launch regular flights for the future Olympics, with CEO Florian Reuter saying in 2020 that commercial air taxi services could be launched in the French capital in two to three years. Alexandra Dublanche, vice-president of the Île-de-France region, said: in the densely populated area of Paris, especially during the Olympics, using eVTOLs is not an option but a duty.