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Advanced Air Mobility, Canadian Style

Canadian Air Mobility and the Canadian Air Mobility Consortium Make Flight Plans

Vancouver Skyline

Canadians have a reputation . . . for being polite, bilingual, sort of British, sort of French, and perhaps most famously, for not being Americans. So, it should come as no surprise that their approach to urban air mobility is unique. They’re among those calling it advanced air mobility (AAM), but one wonders how long that acronym will last when eVTOLs “advance” to being a commonplace mode of transportation over the next 5-10 years. Nevertheless….

Among those hoping to cash in – and yet, at the same time, not profit (again, sort of) – are two enterprises, Canadian Air Mobility and the Canadian Air Mobility Consortium. Both are helmed by JR Hammond (aka 张翰 — he has a master of finance degree from the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance at Shanghai Jiao Tong University), a Vancouver, British Columbia-based entrepreneur and private pilot.

Teaming up with investors (such as NEXA Capital’s Michael Dyment), aviation business leaders (such as Teara Fraser of Iskwew Air and Danny Sitnam of Helijet International), advisors from the National Research Council Canada (such as Tianna Harper and Eric Lefebvre), and transportation government officials (such as Niklas Z. Kviselius of Vancouver’s metro transportation network, Translink), Hammond is taking what he describes as a multi-phased approach.

The first phase involves stitching together the ecosystem AAM will need to catalyze. Phase 2 includes involvement from activists, environmental, and societal leaders. Phase 3 . . . well, pardon the pun, but that’s up in the air at the moment. Regardless, Hammond has his eyes on whatever the nearest term revenue opportunities are that will get his initiatives to sustainability and profitability, potentially as early as 2025. That includes everything from zero-emissions aircraft to LEED-compliant buildings for takeoffs and landings.

Whereas many envision the future of air travel as urban, for Hammond and his enterprises, a more-accurate description might be regional. Yes, some of the eVTOLs or hybrid VTOLs will operate in metropolitan Vancouver, however, given British Columbia’s vast expanse of land, many of them might be used across the region, for example, to deliver medical supplies to remote indigenous communities.

It’s Hammond’s hope that Canada’s UAM/AAM will not just be for the most affluent among them – the 1% so to speak – but will be all inclusive, factoring in the other 99% of Canadian society.

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Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke is a California-based writer who is fascinated by the way technology changes our lives.