Advanced Air Mobility Trials to commence this year

Researchers from Swinburne’s Aerostructures Innovation Research Hub (AIR Hub) are working with Latrobe City Council, Textron Systems Australia (TSA), Federation University and certification organisations such as CASA, to pioneer new technologies in Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) for the region and develop green aviation solutions to address real-world problems.

These new technologies include Regional Advanced Air Mobility Surrogate Trials (RAST), which will start in Latrobe City from February 2024.

The Trials will feature a series of 30-60-minute simulated flights from the Latrobe Regional Airport at night-time, to assess the practical applications of drone technology in regional communities, including medical supply deliveries, powerline inspections and logistics.

RAST is part of an exciting emerging aviation sector that will enhance regional mobility, improve environmental outcomes and propel Latrobe City into a new era of innovation and sustainability. Past operations in commercial areas have shown the drone to be less intrusive than light aircraft or helicopters.

At a recent Federation University Innovation Breakfast, attendees heard from keynote speaker Cameron Devries, Senior Program Manager from Textron Systems Australia about the features of the drone and what the upcoming RAST will entail.

To learn more about RAST, visit Council’s website:

As stated by Councillor Darren Howe – Mayor of Latrobe City Council

Mayor of Latrobe City Council, Councillor Darren Howe, said Council is excited to be the host of RAST and to see the results of the Trials.

“RAST is an exciting initiative that aligns with our Transition Plan. Latrobe City Council and Swinburne have a shared vision to position and develop Victoria as a national and global leader of advanced air mobility, creating innovative new economic, social and environmental opportunities for Australia.”

As stated by Latrobe Regional Airport Board Chair, Councillor Graeme Middlemiss

Councillor Graeme Middlemiss said Latrobe City has been identified as an ideal place to host RAST, due to our population and industry density, available air space and Council’s investment in AAM.

“Latrobe City is hoping to position the Latrobe Regional Airport to be the Victorian Centre for Advanced Air Mobility, a hub for future transportation innovation.

As stated by Cameron Devries, Senior Program Manager, Textron Systems Australia

Cameron Devries said Textron Systems has a strong legacy of pushing the boundaries of aviation and creating ground-breaking technologies.

“We’re very excited to take part in RAST. It’s so exciting to take part in emerging technology as a local company that has applications world-wide.”

“Latrobe City has the ideal geography and demography, to not just make it a great place to do trials in aviation like this, but to become a launch area or an early adopter of AAM.

“TSA is incredibly thankful for the support of the state government, Latrobe City Council and of course the community. The level of community engagement we’ve had has been fantastic – the community has been so supportive. We look forward to continuing this engagement and our engagement with local and state government as we progress forward with this trial.”

As stated by Thom Luke – Swinburne University, RAST Lead Investigator

Thom Luke was a panel member at the Federation University Innovation Breakfast and spoke about the opportunities that RAST presents the region.

“”We have an ambition to continue the RAST research program beyond this initial stage. For those in the community that are interested in new technology, we are hopeful that in the next three to five years, companies will be establishing themselves in the region, collaborating with the universities and the TAFE, and be looking for potential employees from the area who are interested in working in this space.”

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