A glimpse into the future of urban air travel with Utah's first vertiport demonstration

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LAYTON — An empty parking lot in Layton was transformed into the stage for Utah's first vertiport demonstration. It offers a vision of the future of urban air travel.

These vertiports are set to revolutionize how we think about transportation, providing a sneak peek at the potential of air taxis and drone deliveries, according to the Utah Department of Transportation.

Matthew Maass, director of the Division of Aeronautics for UDOT said, "We watched 'Jetsons' as young kids and we knew at some point this was going to be happening."

The demonstration highlighted a future filled with air taxis and drone deliveries. A parking lot near homes and businesses served as a prototype vertiport, showcasing what urban air travel in Utah could look like.

A Bell 505 helicopter demonstrated the takeoff and landing capabilities that future air taxis will require to make vertiports a reality. Maass emphasized the importance of such demonstrations.

Reason for the work

"The reason we're doing this is to work on how we can seamlessly integrate and safely integrate vertiports in the future into neighborhoods and businesses," he said.

A vertiport, essentially a micro-airport, is designed for aircraft that do not need runways, enabling them to take off and land vertically.

Brent Chamberlain, associate professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at Utah State University explained the planning involved, "We're trying to map where vertiports could actually go in the valley. There are many potential sites, including empty parking lots, and the state is actually looking at state-owned parking lots as potential possibilities for this."

UDOT is confident that vertiports will make transportation quicker and cleaner, which is a key focus at this year's Utah Aeronautics Conference.

"It's not a matter of if, but a matter of when," Maass said.

Looking ahead, UDOT expects vertiports will start appearing around the valley within five to 10 years. Initially, they will likely be used for deliveries, but there is no doubt that air taxis will soon follow, transforming how people travel in and around urban areas.

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Kiersten Nunez


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