NATA and The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Form Partnership to Advance AAM/UAM Implementation

NATA (National Air Transportation Association) and The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma (CNO) announced a partnership providing the structure for the further development of the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)/Urban Air Mobility (UAM) ecosystem.

NATA and CNO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at maturing AAM/UAM education and adoption with the exchange of expertise and information through committee engagement and collaboration on business, outreach, and event opportunities. This strategic partnership is invaluable in the development of a complex transportation system using innovative aircraft, technologies, infrastructure, and operations to move people and cargo between local, regional, intraregional, and urban locations not previously served or underserved by aviation.

“The future of AAM/UAM is now. NATA members from across all functional areas, including AAM, part 135, FBOs, airports, and MROs, will more quickly gain the guidance needed to support, maintain, and operate the next generation of aircraft through this collaboration. As safety advancements and education are critical to both NATA’s mission and the safe, successful implementation of eVTOL technology, a partnership between NATA and CNO was a natural fit in fostering these pillars across all stages of AAM/UAM development,” stated NATA President and CEO Curt Castagna.

In 2022, NATA formed its AAM Committee to ensure a unified approach to modernization of both the industry’s infrastructure and operational framework. NATA believes communication, collaboration, and cooperation between government partners and all aviation sector stakeholders will be key to creating a healthy and vibrant AAM ecosystem. NATA sees a natural nexus between existing part 135 operators, general aviation airports, FBO infrastructure, and AAM innovation. Urban and rural general aviation airports offer ideal spaces to introduce electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) technology, and NATA members are being proactive in preparing to support, maintain, and operate this next generation of aircraft.

James Grimsley, CNO Executive Director of Advanced Technology Initiatives, will kick off NATA’s November Aviation Business Conference in Long Beach, California, discussing the benefits of UAS and AAM technologies to rural locales, international markets, and the national economy, as well as how the CNO is helping to advance this sector.

“The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma looks forward to the many positive societal benefits that will be available as a result of emerging aviation technologies,” said Grimsley. “The relationship with NATA further illustrates CNO’s commitment to being a leader in this exciting growth area.”

The Choctaw Nation—the third largest Indian Nation in the United States, with more than 200,000 tribal members—has been very involved in the development of emerging aviation technologies, including UAS and AAM. CNO was the first Native American Tribal Government to receive a Public Aircraft Operations Certificate of Authorization from the FAA and is home to one of eight FAA UAS BEYOND sites selected by the DoT. As part of the FAA UAS BEYOND program, CNO has worked closely with the FAA and other agencies to more fully incorporate UAS into the National Airspace System and help deliver the clear safety benefits and operational efficiencies it promises.