South Korean Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) developer PLANA has established US branch offices in Silicon Valley and Irvine in the state of California.

The company says that these offices have been opened to facilitate the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification process of its AAM aircraft in the US, as well as more broadly helping the firm to expand into the global markets.

The company will also continue to partner with other US-based companies to expand the ecosystem for its AAM aircraft.  

FAA certification is a process that verifies the airworthiness of all parts, including design, as well as the type and production qualification of the airframe as a passenger aircraft.

In the US, electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft are also required to meet the safety standards applicable to large transport class aircraft. All certification processes must be completed before the product can be marketed and exported to the US and other countries.  

“FAA certification is one of the most important processes for companies in the aerospace industry,” said PLANA CEO Braden J. Kim.

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“With the establishment of the US subsidiary, we plan to increase our interactions in the newly created AAM market in the country, as well as receiving FAA certification.”

PLANA develops aircraft that use sustainable aviation fuel in its turbogenerator-based serial hybrid powertrain. The company claims this reduces carbon dioxide emissions by more than 80% compared to existing helicopters. The aircraft can operate over a 500km range, carrying 5 people including a pilot.

The company is currently conducting test flights and verification of a scaled-down aircraft and plans to participate in the Grand Challenge (K-UAM) demonstration project conducted by the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport in the second half of this year.