By Catherine MacGowan, Asia Pacific Regional Director at Wisk
Kia ora koutou (greetings everyone) from New Zealand. As Wisk’s new Asia Pacific Regional Director, I’m excited to share an update on some important pieces of work we have underway in our neck of the woods.
I’ve joined Wisk from 20 years of adventures in the New Zealand Air Force and public sector. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to work with the aerospace community on the next steps in Advanced Air Mobility (AAM). My focus is on expanding our presence in the Asia Pacific region, and more locally, helping realize the opportunities which drew Wisk to New Zealand in the first place in 2016.
There’s a huge opportunity for the future air mobility to connect us to each other and to the world around us. At Wisk, we are advancing a range of technologies including batteries, autonomy, and airspace integration so that people can use future transport systems in ways that serve their communities.
In New Zealand specifically, we have a number of initiatives underway that are advancing not only Wisk’s vision of safe, all-electric, autonomous flight, but also the broader future of AAM. As we continue to make progress on a number of fronts, we wanted to provide an update on several core areas, including our Airspace Integration Trial Programme, Flight Testing, Partnership and Community efforts, and our growth plans over the coming year.
Airspace Integration Trial Programme
In March 2021, we undertook the first phase of our Transport Trial under the New Zealand government’s Airspace Integration Trial Programme (AITP).
We are analyzing the data from the first phase and will share a summary soon. What is evident so far is that elements like situational awareness and cooperative airmanship can enable a highly-automated, uncrewed aircraft system to be safely integrated alongside other crewed aircraft into airspace.
The next phase in this project will include looking at the interactions with Air Traffic Control in a simulated controlled airspace environment. We will share more on this in the future
We’ve also recently wrapped up a successful flight testing campaign in New Zealand. While flight testing has been a core component of the work in New Zealand, there has always been a strong focus on systems and research, and we’re passionate about coming up with creative solutions, whether that’s to do with engineering, or how we shape a safe and thriving urban air mobility ecosystem.
This shift from flight testing will allow our New Zealand team to focus on executing our commitment and deliverables under the Airspace Integration Trial Program, as well as support Wisk’s certification and go-to-market efforts, and our broader Australasia expansion efforts.
Not to worry, you’ll still see Cora out and about at various events throughout the coming year.
Partnerships and Community
Our AITP and flight testing work has been possible due to Wisk’s partnership with the New Zealand government and their progressive vision to integrate drones and uncrewed aircraft into its current transport system. We share their vision to develop a thriving, innovative and safe advanced aviation sector, and we’re pleased to see the government’s continued commitment to back world class innovation — like Wisk — in New Zealand. We’re especially proud to be the first industry partner in the AITP.
A highlight of 2021 was sharing Cora with the people of Christchurch in Wisk’s first public display. This event was an incredible opportunity for us to connect with a range of groups – from the curious child to the hardcore aviation enthusiast. The ‘show don’t tell’ approach is a cornerstone of our social acceptance work and why we will be sharing Cora again this year at a range of events.
Another focus this year is to continue our collaboration with top-rated airline and national carrier Air New Zealand, with a particular focus on sustainability. Our companies share a commitment to making travel more convenient, accessible, sustainable and enjoyable. Together, we want to unlock the potential that Advanced Air Mobility offers by using smart, green, and safe technology.
Growing the Team
I hope that you are as excited as I am to explore this future together. You’ll be hearing more from me in the coming months, but in the meantime if you have any questions, or want to be part of this journey, get in touch!