It’s time for another #CrewStory! In today’s blog, you get the chance to meet Jörn Jaeger and learn about his work in the VoloPort Team! We’ll tell you this much: He’s doing some fundamental groundwork.
Hi Jörn! Tell us a bit about yourself. What’s your job title at Volocopter and what’s your background?
I am Head of Airspace and Vertiports at Volocopter and report to the Chief Risk and Certification Officer.
I have always been fascinated by aviation and did an apprenticeship as an aircraft mechanic to start my career. Afterward, I studied Aeronautics and Astronautics as well as International Transport, worked for large companies in international airport turn-key projects, and in air traffic management. I joined Volocopter 3.5 years ago and have taken over the responsibility here for airspace integration and vertiport design issues.
What tasks or projects are you responsible for in your job?
As Head of Airspace and Vertiports, I am responsible for everything related to the airspace integration and take-off and landing sites for the Volocopter aircraft. Together with my team, I make sure that our aircraft can actually move in the airspace where we want them to be. This sounds fairly simple, but requires a lot of planning, as we want to operate in cities and in very low airspace. We also define and identify adequate take-off and landing sites in general. Be it at existing airports or heliports or at new spots in the middle of cities.
What makes the VoloPort so special?
The VoloPort is the result of a unique combination of three essential things: first, the vertiport design expertise we have built up over years with regulators around the world, international standardization organizations, and industry bodies; second, our expertise in VTOL aircraft design and performance; and third, our knowledge of air operations, which will become the core of our business model. The VoloPort design is also based on the collaboration with recognized and world-leading architects, aviation planners, and heliport manufacturers, i.e. the concept is state of the art and extremely resilient in several respects.
What are the biggest benefits of the VoloPort compared to other vertiports?
The VoloPort is a solution we have tailored to one of the most demanding sets of requirements: the inner-urban vertiport. It factors in a lot of different aspects in such aviation regulations, modern architecture, a smooth and pleasant passenger journey, safe and efficient ground handling, a low ecological footprint, cost-efficiency, aircraft performance, and obstacle environment. Although it was developed by Volocopter, it is agnostic and highly flexible with regard to surfaces, elevated locations, geographic regions, aircraft types, size of land, and can be easily scaled both in terms of number and size.
What are the challenges of your job?
As we are breaking new ground and setting new standards, we have to expand the existing aviation world with our technology and ideas. Due to the nature of our business, we often face the challenge of having to first create an understanding among our partners of what our eVTOL aircraft, their design, and their intended purpose are, be it authorities or industry partners. There are also no solutions or regulations in place in many cases, as we are pioneering the UAM domain. The pathfinder role is exciting, but also quite challenging.
\r\n\r\nHow would you describe a regular day at work for you? \r\n\r\nWe start with a daily team meeting to identify blockers and coordinate as necessary for the day, followed by a similar meeting at the team lead level. A typical day will then continue with meetings regarding specific implementation issues e.g. for our ground support equipment, the design and approval process for our VoloPort, vertiport or U-space rulemaking work with EASA, and calls with our partners in our target cities such as Paris and Singapore, where we are preparing for our commercial operations.\r\n\r\nWhy did you choose Volocopter as your employer? What excites you about the company? \r\n\r\nWe do groundbreaking work in so many domains. Even in aviation, this is quite special. I saw a unique chance to contribute my knowledge and experience in building the urban air ecosystem together with Volocopter, so I did. From my first contact with Volocopter, I felt that these are impressive people with a great vision and ambitious but still realistic goals. The spirit is great and I am absolutely on board with the company\’s core values. I also love the openness, diversity, internationality, and motivation in all our teams. Can there be a better fit? 😊\r\n\r\nAre there any personal anecdotes from your time with Volocopter that you would like to share with us? \r\n\r\nI vividly remember the first public flight we conducted in the heart of Singapore at the ITS World Congress in 2019, not least due to the great collaboration with all teams and the local authorities. Before the official flight, we did a test flight a day prior using the exact same route in front of the iconic Marina Bay Sands hotel. This test flight was right after sunrise at around 6 a.m. As Singapore is a busy city with people on the roads at all hours, there were quite a lot of people around, such as joggers, tourists, and business people. We flew almost next to them and none of them turned their heads to look for the aircraft as they neither expected nor heard it. Could there be a better testimony, that urban air mobility can be integrated right into the heart of our cities?\r\n\r\n