UTAH

Vertiports: The future is coming to Utah sooner rather than later

May 24, 2024, 1:00 PM

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), in collaboration with Utah State University (USU), su...

The Utah Department of Transportation in collaboration with Utah State University successfully launches the state’s first air taxi from a vertiport using a Bell 505 Helicopter. (The Utah Department of Transportation )

(The Utah Department of Transportation )

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Transportation is pushing Utah into the future by taking steps to integrate vertiports around the state. 

 Paul Damron, the advanced air mobility manager for UDOT said a vertiport is like a heliport, but for the new era of transportation that’s coming; air taxis. 

According to Damron, vertiports will essentially function like an Uber or a Lyft. Users will use an app where they can put in their travel plans and pay. 

“The first vertiport will be a location that electric vertical landing and takeoff aerial vehicles can land within communities and get us closer to our destinations and get us off of the congested roads,” Darmon told Dave and Dujanovic. 
 

The timeline for vertiports

It may sound like a fantastical plan for the distant future, but Darmon said that the Federal Aviation Administration has plans to launch as early as next year.

“We’ll start seeing a larger spread of operations throughout the nation in 2028. I foresee Utah being on the calendar around that 2028-2030 time period,” Darmon said.

In fact, Utah demonstrations have already begun. 

On Monday, UDOT launched its first air taxi from a vertiport. The demonstration successfully showed that an aircraft, like the Bell 505 Helicopter that was used, can take off and land near homes and businesses with minimal impact. 

Partnering with Utah State University, UDOT has been doing in-depth research on finding the ideal locations for these vertiports.

Potential locations include parking lots, tops of office buildings and airports. Tests are done with an emphasis on minimizing interference to homes and businesses and safety. 

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Vertiports: The future is coming to Utah sooner rather than later