With the increasing use of drone aircraft in everything from surveying and photography to package delivery, it makes sense that there should one day be a drone airport. Well, that time has come.
London-based Urban-Air Port has built the first dedicated drone “vertiport” in Coventry, U.K., with plans to expand to cities around the world in the next five years. The project, called Air One, is an ambitious fabric structure that hosts a moveable hydraulic FATO platform (Final Approach and Take-Off area) in the structure’s center. The nearly 150-foot in diameter structure is clad with PVC-coated polyester fabric and includes a fabric lining incorporating clear visual panels to the internal drum wall.
Base Structures UK Ltd. played a key part in this first groundbreaking project. It supplied and installed the external fabric cladding roof and wall panels as well as the internal drum wall window panels, circumjacent to the moveable FATO drone launchpad in the structure’s center. A number of other elements within the structure were also provided by Base Structures, including a polycarbonate pelmet, skirt and door surrounds.
“Multiple trades and designers were involved in this complicated and intricate project, so collaboration and coordination were key to making it a success,” says Andy Traynor, director of Base Structures. “As a blueprint for the first of many urban drone airports, there’s an ambitious target to roll out as many as 200 vertiports around the world in the next five years. We’re proud to be able to provide and apply our fabric knowledge and skills in a totally unique way.”
Project name: Air One
Designed by: Urban-Air Port, London, U.K.
Installed by: Base Structures UK Ltd., Bristol, U.K.
Fabric used: PVC-coated polyester
Photos by: Base Structures