Kyle Clark, Founder of Beta Technologies, has been quietly accumulating top talent from GE, Scaled Composites, Lord/Microstrain, Aurora Flight Sciences and other companies on the cutting-edge of aviation technology to develop and test the Ava XC prototype aircraft. Until an undisclosed amount of funding was received from United Therapeutics last year, Beta had been in “stealth mode” for almost two...
Kyle Clark, Founder of Beta Technologies, has been quietly accumulating top talent from GE, Scaled Composites, Lord/Microstrain, Aurora Flight Sciences and other companies on the cutting-edge of aviation technology to develop and test the Ava XC prototype aircraft. Until an undisclosed amount of funding was received from United Therapeutics last year, Beta had been in “stealth mode” for almost two years, prioritizing rapid prototyping and well over 170 test flights above a media presence.
Beta Technologies teamed with United Therapeutics, a biotechnology company founded by Martine Rothblatt, to transport organs. The company, however, has additional goals beyond just emergency response. In a recent interview, Kyle explained how Beta envisions other uses for its eVTOL aircraft, beginning with an “aircraft that can fly within the current national airspace.” Beta is poised to first have a special R&D experimental airworthiness certificate for their vehicle, and eventually shape the way FAA regulatory changes are made to accommodate eVTOLs by gaining confidence with reliable and safe flight testing, according to Clark.
Ava XC is a fixed-wing eVTOL with eight propellers on 90-degree tilting nacelles which are powered by two 124 kWh lithium-ion battery packs. At first glance, Ava XC does not look too much different than a traditional winged aircraft, but Beta Technologies’ electric propulsion and battery-storage technologies are the driving force behind the design. For more about Ava XC and a video of the prototype during transition envelope testing, visit the Hangar.
What differentiates Beta Technologies from many other eVTOL OEMs is their pursuit to also install charging stations at specific locations with “solar- and grid-powered recharging pad technology”. Clark claims that the technology will provide “frequency regulation (short term power) and voltage management” and will use reclaimed aircraft batteries to cut costs and recycle materials. So far, Beta has already built a megawatt-scale recharging pad in Vermont and has plans for 50 more across the East coast for ancillary grid and recharging services.
Why it’s important: Later this year, Beta Technologies plans to debut its production aircraft, a highly anticipated milestone for the company. Kyle Clark’s experience in power electronics could bode well for Beta’s future success. Further, Beta’s investment in the development of high-performance charging infrastructure has the potential to both give the company a long-term competitive edge and advance the electric aviation industry as a whole.
Beta's eVTOL, Ava, combines the flight characteristics of a helicopter, drone and fixed-wing airplane with cockpit and control systems that revolutionize the pilot's interface. Beta has partnered with, and is funded by, United Therapeutics biotechnology company. The eVTOL is ultimately designed to carry organs from a manufacturing facility to hospitals.
Video // Eric Adams
Stage of Development
Company Name: Beta Technologies
Headquarters: Burlington, Vermont
Beta CEO: Kyle Clark
Product Name: Ava (prototype)
Type of Machine: Winged eVTOL Aircaft
Power: All-electric. Beta is also creating a recharging dock for the Ava – a landing pad that will recharge the aircraft.
Capacity: Ultimately designed for cargo - specifically, organ transport.
Wingspan: 34 feet
Vertical take-off and landing: 4 pairs of counter-rotating rotors. A flight controller distributes electric propulsion power based on position and direction of each rotor.
Fixed wing flight: rotors rotate forward (perpendicular to ground) and power consumption drastically decreases.
Flight controls: Hybrid flight control design - collective lever in the left hand that modulates the speed of the propellers and thrust, traditional foot pedals control the rudder and clockwise/counter-clockwise differential of the rotors, and right-hand sidestick for the mechanical flight control surfaces and the fly-by-wire controller for distributed propulsion.
Range: 150 miles.
Speed: 170 mph.
Funding: Backed by biotechnology company, United Therapeutics.
Our Take on Beta
Beta Technologies is strategically located in Burlington, VT for easier access to the state's congressional delegation, the airport's leadership and, by extension, its Federal Aviation Administration staff - the company currently occupies a Horizon Air hangar at Burlington International Airport. While regulatory and certification hurdles are ahead for Beta's Ava, the relationships they have built will help them navigate that process. Beta has made over 170 test flights in 2018, and was able to go from an initial concept to "wheels off the ground" in just 10 months, an impressive feat.
The Latest News from TransportUP
Community Air Mobility Initiative Launches to Support Integration of UAMNovember 10, 2019
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Bye Aerospace, Oxis Energy Begin Collaboration to Increase the Endurance of Future Bye Aerospace eAircraftNovember 7, 2019
Back to The Hangar
Chung Euisun, executive vice chairman at Hyundai Motor Group, has vowed that the auto group will develop its own flying car technology by 2023 and commercialize air taxi service by 2029. Chung Euisun, Executive Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, has unveiled lofty ambitions of the Korean auto giant taking on aerial mobility at last week’s Mobility Innovators Forum 2019...
Chung Euisun, executive vice chairman at Hyundai Motor Group, has vowed that the auto group will develop its own flying car technology by 2023 and commercialize air taxi service by 2029.
Chung Euisun, Executive Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, has unveiled lofty ambitions of the Korean auto giant taking on aerial mobility at last week’s Mobility Innovators Forum 2019 in San Francisco.
“Our plan is to introduce UAM vehicles in 2023 and to provide its commercial service in 2029 after ironing out regulation issues,” Chung said in a hope that such flying cars can resolve the current traffic issues in urban areas.
“Even electric vehicles and micro scooters, considered innovative means, cannot address those pending issues stemming from restricted road conditions because they are still road transportation means,” said Chung. “It would be difficult to address the fundamental issues without an urban planning that can embrace new types of mobility” such as flying cars.
The company has already begun studying a potential step into the aerial mobility space and has dedicated a division to the development of their related technologies and business activities. Hyundai has recruited one of NASA’s top managers as its vice president to lead the division.
“Having worked on cutting-edge aviation research and development at NASA for 30 years, I am very excited and humbled by the opportunity to now shape urban air mobility strategy at Hyundai Motor Group. The new team at Hyundai will develop core technologies that will establish the company as a driving force in urban air mobility, a sector that is expected to grow into a market worth USD 1.5 trillion within the next 20 years.” Dr. Shin stated of his new role.
Hyundai has also set up the Human-Centered City Advisory Group which will help develop a vision for future cities, which hopes to build a guideline for future smart city development. While in San Francisco, Chung met with various technology startup leaders such as Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. The executive vice chairman is also known to be directly involved in startup investment and encouraging employees to take bold initiatives from the beginning.
Why it matters: The automotive industry will be a key factor in accelerating the growth of the aerial mobility demand forecasts. The industry offers low-cost scaled manufacturing and operations expertise which will be vital to eVTOL’s commercial success. Hyundai’s commitment to aerial mobility and future city planning will likely garner the interest of other automotive OEMs around the world, increasing competition within the eVTOL space.
Source // Pulse News
CAMI seeks to garner public support of urban air mobility as the technology and regulations progress. The Seattle-based Community Air Mobility Initiative (CAMI) has announced its launch with the support of its founding members, including aircraft manufacturers Bell and Joby Aviation, as well as non-profit organizations such as the NBAA. “New technologies and new aircraft promise to make flight accessible and...
CAMI seeks to garner public support of urban air mobility as the technology and regulations progress.
The Seattle-based Community Air Mobility Initiative (CAMI) has announced its launch with the support of its founding members, including aircraft manufacturers Bell and Joby Aviation, as well as non-profit organizations such as the NBAA. “New technologies and new aircraft promise to make flight accessible and practical on a daily basis for more people than ever before,” said CAMI co-executive director Anna Dietrich. “With that promise comes the responsibility to integrate those aircraft into our communities safely, responsibly, and equitably. We created CAMI as the industry’s commitment to our neighbors and the decision-makers who support them to work to ensure that happens.”
CAMI’s mission is to support the responsible integration of urban air mobility (UAM) into communities through education, communication, and advocacy. The non-profit, led by industry experts and professionals in aviation, transportation, and public policy, hopes to influence and educate communities and decision makers at the state and local level. CAMI recognizes that to be successful, urban air mobility must be safe, quiet, and a desired component of our communities. As such, it will lead the joint effort and collaboration of multiple stakeholders in the industry to overcome challenges including traffic congestion, environmental impacts and noise, to name a few.
“As the aviation industry continues to mature the technologies needed to bring electric aircraft into communities, it became clear that the most important need was to bridge the work of the industry with the local communities where this technology will be implemented,” said Yolanka Wulff, co-Executive Director. Wulff is the second co-executive director of CAMI, and brings a law background, as well as a focus on sustainable aviation, standards development, and public affairs. “CAMI understands the importance of working with all of the stakeholders to develop urban air mobility that integrates with existing and future urban and regional transportation systems.”
Why it’s important: CAMI is poised to be an influential organization in the developmental years of aerial mobility. Initial support has been garnered across various areas of the transportation and aviation industries, including aircraft manufacturers and suppliers, operators, industry associations, state and local agencies, ecosystem members, academia, and nonprofits. In addition to external support, CAMI has attracted top experts with the experience and mindset essential to the development of feasible and widely accepted aerial mobility solutions.
Source // CAMI Press Release
The company prepares for their predicted $100 million Initial Public Offering eVTOL manufacturer EHang recently filed an SEC F1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in preparation for their predicted $100 million initial public offering (IPO) on Nasdaq. This indicates EHang’s intention to offer Class A ordinary shares before the end of 2019, and will be listed under...
The company prepares for their predicted $100 million Initial Public Offering
eVTOL manufacturer EHang recently filed an SEC F1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in preparation for their predicted $100 million initial public offering (IPO) on Nasdaq. This indicates EHang’s intention to offer Class A ordinary shares before the end of 2019, and will be listed under Nasdaq symbol “EH”. This IPO would make EHang the first of many eVTOL startups to go public.
In the filing, EHang indicated that their main focus for now would be on the Chinese market. With the state of US and European aviation regulatory frameworks still in uncertainty in regards to eVTOLs, the preference for their domestic market is not unsurprising. According to the F1 filing, EHang have delivered 38 AAVs since March 2018 to various partners and prospective distributors, including freight group DHL-Sinotrans, and “unfulfilled orders” for 28 more aircraft.
During the first six months of 2019, EHang reported a net loss of $5.5 million, which was 42% higher than the loss it incurred in the same period for 2018. Revenue for the first six months of 2019 were also down by 15.6% at $4.7 million. During 2017, EHang subsidiaries in Germany and the U.S. filed for bankruptcy and these cases are still being resolved. The company indicated that these companies traded as sales organizations for consumer drones before it decided to withdraw from the market in those countries.
Why it’s important: EHang has a diverse product portfolio and demonstrated reliability and consistency in their products and deliveries. The funds provided by the IPO could help EHang with an increased focus in a smaller market, and allow it to expand naturally in the coming years.
Source // AIN Online
Bye Aerospace, Oxis Energy Begin Collaboration to Increase the Endurance of Future Bye Aerospace eAircraft
OXIS Energy and Bye Aerospace have begun a 12-month collaborative program announced in late July that seeks to achieve a 50% to 100% increase in flight time from a single charge on Bye Aerospace eAircraft. OXIS has developed an innovative Lithium Sulfur (Li-S) battery technology that offers significant benefits to aviation markets. Compared to existing Li-ion battery systems technology, the...
OXIS Energy and Bye Aerospace have begun a 12-month collaborative program announced in late July that seeks to achieve a 50% to 100% increase in flight time from a single charge on Bye Aerospace eAircraft.
OXIS has developed an innovative Lithium Sulfur (Li-S) battery technology that offers significant benefits to aviation markets. Compared to existing Li-ion battery systems technology, the high gravimetric energy density of the OXIS technology – in excess of 500 Wh/kg at 20Ah capacity – offers a two-fold reduction in battery system weight resulting in a significant increase in flight duration.
At the outset, the program will test OXIS cells and modules against the performance characteristics of existing and soon-to-be-announced Bye Aerospace aircraft. This will produce data that will demonstrate the advantages of the OXIS Li-S technology to the aerospace sector and more specifically, to Bye Aerospace’s future aviation applications.
OXIS CEO, Huw Hampson-Jones said, “We believe this collaboration will offer Bye Aerospace the confidence that OXIS Li-S systems will deliver the battery technology that meets the demanding performance and quality required to increase the efficiencies of their future electric aircraft. OXIS is focusing its research and development on the transformation of piston and turbo prop aircraft that is required for regional flight transportation. We believe this to be the first phase in the electrification of commercial aircraft and will ultimately form the basis for the electrification of Air Taxis, with the additional requirement for regional aircraft.
The United States has an impressive tradition of aviators who understand the need to experiment and embark on the deployment of new innovative technology, thus effecting a seismic paradigm shift in the powering of aircraft from using lead based fossil fuels to Li-S battery systems that are free of any toxic pollutants. As a consequence of the significant extension of aircraft flight duration, both companies believe this will allow for the widespread adoption of electric aircraft across the skies of the United States.”
George E. Bye, CEO of Bye Aerospace, acknowledged the importance of next-generation technologies to help companies such as Bye Aerospace keep up with the revolutionary trends of electric aviation and the resulting demands for more efficient aircraft. “OXIS Energy’s battery technology continues to be an important consideration, and we appreciate the opportunity to collaborate in this way.”
Why it matters: Lithium Sulfur (Li-S) batteries appear to be the future of electrically-propulsed aircraft given its superior energy density and weight reduction potential. The new technology will offer eVTOL and electric aircraft manufacturers greater flexibility in expanding a vehicle’s range, payload capacity, or a combination of both. As energy density improves, we expect electric propulsion aircraft to become a reality for manufacturers and customers across the industry and their stakeholders.
How the UAM Working Group Aims to Help Advance Composite Manufacturing Tech Aerospace grade composites have long been regarded as the golden standard for quality and durability. How can single batch production ramp to support the demands of a new industry? Composite manufacturing is common place among aerospace, automotive racing, and other high performance transportation modes – but it’s not...
How the UAM Working Group Aims to Help Advance Composite Manufacturing Tech
Aerospace grade composites have long been regarded as the golden standard for quality and durability. How can single batch production ramp to support the demands of a new industry?
Composite manufacturing is common place among aerospace, automotive racing, and other high performance transportation modes – but it’s not currently staged to support the growing demands of transformative modes of transportation that will require assembly-line scale mass produced material to bolster production levels to 100’s and 1,000’s of units per month from less than 10.
The American Composites Manufacturers Association, in partnership with aerial mobility startup Happy Take Off, are focusing directly on enabling the business relationships that will facilitate creative solutions to this problem. In partnership with over 20 companies from the aerospace and automotive manufacturing industries, ACMA and HTO hosted an Urban Air Mobility Meeting on September 25th in Anaheim, CA to form the UAM Working Group and kickoff discussions on advanced manufacturing processes for aerospace and automotive grade materials, composite material sciences developments, and how technology, aerospace, and automotive companies alike can leverage one another’s strengths to create solutions to the challenges of mass produced composites faster than any one company may be able to.
The partnerships aren’t without risk – it’ll be a challenging decision for some companies to offer up their IP in hopes of a greater return through collaboration. However, the UAM Working Group aims to facilitate those discussions at a high level, and then allow members of the group to talk specifics amongst themselves. Founder of Happy Take Off, Danielle McLean describes the aim of the group: “Our aim is to facilitate the high level, initial connection between players in the aerospace and automotive composites industries, and then allow them to dive further into the details of those partnerships privately.” ACMA’s Vice President of Composites Market Development, Dan Coughlin added that the working group is also encouraging the development of P3’s (public private partnerships) with Federal agencies including the Department of Defense, NASA and Department of Energy toward the betterment of composites manufacturing.
“Through our outreach, market development, and advocacy capabilities, ACMA connects industry with Federal agencies and policy makers in Washington, DC. The manufacturing needs of the UAM industry are challenging. ACMA will provide essential support for the UAM industry’s ambitious growth plans through our partnership, advocacy, and networking opportunities.
NASA’s Aeronautics Research Institute is also involved – Parimal Kopardekar (PK), Ph.D., and director of NARI plans to serve as a charter member of the UAM Working Group. In total, the UAM Working Group has combined players from UAM, tech, aerospace, automotive, governmental policy, private policy, and trade organizations in very short order, and is poised well to make an impact on the future of composites manufacturing for the aerial mobility industry.
About Happy Take Off and ACMA
Happy Take Off is focused on creation of modular vertiports than can be used on most existing buildings. HTO’s goal is to grow the number of applicable landing sites for UAM operations while minimizing the infrastructure and financial barriers to entry for vertiports. These modular vertiports will be completely self-contained, include live weather data for better route planning, and allow developers who aren’t as familiar with the industry to gain exposure and demo being a part of commercial UAM operations much easier than before.
The American Composites Manufacturing Association (ACMA) the world’s largest composites industry trade group. By delivering invaluable education and events, access to market intelligence, and by working with regulators and legislators, ACMA serves as the center of expertise and competence and an essential driver of industry growth and prosperity. ACMA represents small and large companies—manufacturers, suppliers and distributors, and affiliates—from every market segment in all 50 states as well as international members.
Why it’s important: Companies like Icon Aircraft have been wildly popular for creating easy to fly, clean sheet general aviation aircraft that generate marketing buzz commensurate of a newly released supercar – but the technologies to enable mass production of the same or similar materials that are already in use for general aviation aerospace applications are years away from reality. The partnership between ACMA and Happy Take Off, in addition to the 50+ companies participating in the Urban Air Mobility meeting in Anaheim, CA, suggests that these discussions are already advancing progress less than a month after the formal program was announced.
Below is a full list of companies currently committed to the UAM Working Group:
Airspace Experience Technologies
Boat Works of South Windsor, Inc.
Diab Americas LP
NEXA Capital Partners, LLC
Oak Ridge National Lab
Superior Huntingdon Composites, LLC
TxV Aero Composites
Uber Elevate has officially unveiled a new VTOL drone designed for Uber Eats deliveries. The new Uber Eats drone was designed by Uber Elevate with speed in mind. To “increase speed and efficiency”, Elevate chose to use a rotating wing design. This means that the rotors will initially point upwards on take-off, lifting the drone into the air and then...
Uber Elevate has officially unveiled a new VTOL drone designed for Uber Eats deliveries.
The new Uber Eats drone was designed by Uber Elevate with speed in mind. To “increase speed and efficiency”, Elevate chose to use a rotating wing design. This means that the rotors will initially point upwards on take-off, lifting the drone into the air and then tilting into the horizontal flight position seen above. The drone itself can carry enough capacity for about two meals, with a range of about 18 miles.
This new design is remarkably similar to the concept model drawn up by Uber Elevate for its future air taxis. Like the new drone, the model also utilizes the tilt-rotor design, using the same rotors for both vertical take-off and horizontal flight.
Elevate plans to begin drone food deliveries in San Diego in Summer of 2020, having already applied for FAA approval to complete commercial flights there. The company already completed delivery tests in San Diego early last summer in partnership with McDonalds.
Food delivery by drone will be operated through Elevate’s ‘Cloud System’, which will eventually be responsible for managing passenger air taxis. Testing the Cloud System through drone deliveries, as well as through Uber’s new Uber Copter service, will allow Uber to begin laying the ground work for the coming future passenger aircraft.
Many other companies have initiated drone delivery efforts as well. Earlier this month, UPS became the first to receive full part 135 certification as a commercial air carrier using drones. Prior to this, Alphabet company Wing received a similar certification, although for a smaller area. Amazon too recently entered the industry with a new hexagonal drone design, hoping to even futher lower package delivery times. And just this week, aerial mobility company Volocopter unveiled a new drone designed for heavier cargo.
Why it’s important: Ultimately, beginning work on aerial mobility through food delivery by drone will help enable the future of Uber Elevate’s eVTOL air taxi vision. The important strides being taken throughout the drone delivery industry will provide important technologies and frameworks for the operation of the coming eVTOL passenger aircraft.
Sources: Forbes, Wired, The Verge.
The Triumph Group and Jaunt Air Mobility will begin work on their demonstrator The two companies announced their partnership at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). This partnership entails the cooperation in designing, manufacturing, and certifying a full-scale demonstrator aircraft. Triumph will also provide engineering and manufacturing serices to support Jaunt’s aircraft. In addition, Jaunt CEO Kayden Stanzione and Triumph...
The Triumph Group and Jaunt Air Mobility will begin work on their demonstrator
The two companies announced their partnership at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). This partnership entails the cooperation in designing, manufacturing, and certifying a full-scale demonstrator aircraft. Triumph will also provide engineering and manufacturing serices to support Jaunt’s aircraft. In addition, Jaunt CEO Kayden Stanzione and Triumph Aerospace Executive Vice President Pete Wick confirmed that the Jaunt demonstrator would take flight by 2023, with certification soon following.
“Working with our other partners, Triumph will help bring our ROSA technology to market,” said Stanzione, “Triumph’s experience in airframe development, usage of advanced thermoplastics in primary structure, and expansive manufacturing capabilities are essential for bringing Jaunt’s eVTOL to market in a timely, safe, and affordable manner.”
The Reduced Rotor Operating Speed Aircraft, or ROSA is a slowed rotor compound (SR/C) system purchased from Carter Aviation last year, that Jaunt Air Mobility has incorporated into their own aircraft, the Jaunt. The Jaunt is equipped with the capability to operate in all flying modes, fixed-wing, and rotor-based flight.
“We are excited to begin our eVTOL journey as a partner with Jaunt in support of their new air vehicle concept,” said Pete Wick, “We believe Triumph’s experience in platform development through certification and into high rate production, utilizing our proprietary thermoplastic technologies, will enable Jaunt to be the leader in the revolutionary market — located right here in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex.”
Why it’s important: The backing of Triumph puts Jaunt Air Mobility in a strong position, as this indicates that an aviation heavyweight will provide Jaunt with engineering and manufacturing expertise. The invaluable knowledge that Triumph possesses regarding large-scale manufacturing, certification processes, and just in general aviation will do much for Jaunt in the long and short run in developing the Jaunt aircraft.
Sources // Clean Technica
Aviator Cycles is taking a new approach to aerial mobility with personal air vehicles or PAVs Jeff Chimenti, a Houston-based investor and co-founder of Washington based Aviator Cycles has unveiled its prototype in the Woodlands, Texas, just outside of Houston. The company offers a new take on aerial mobility and intends to focus on the recreation market exclusively with its...
Aviator Cycles is taking a new approach to aerial mobility with personal air vehicles or PAVs
Jeff Chimenti, a Houston-based investor and co-founder of Washington based Aviator Cycles has unveiled its prototype in the Woodlands, Texas, just outside of Houston. The company offers a new take on aerial mobility and intends to focus on the recreation market exclusively with its self-dubbed personal air vehicles, or PAV.
“All of this is really happening,” says Chimenti, a Houston-based investor and chief visionary officer and co-founder for the startup. “We’re pushing it forward.” The prototype appears more like a motor cycle or four wheeler that will hover over just a few feet above the ground.
Co-founder Jesse Marcel has owned a patent for a similar technology initially for a prototype called the Aerorunner, GSX. It will be a sports vehicle that will flutter just a few feet above the ground. This will provide a greater level of safety according to the company. Their strategy is to avoid all of the regulations and red tape that the eVTOL industry will face.
Their efforts will not be with competition, however. Last year, California-based Hoversurf announced a similar recreational-based product which will be delivered for $150,000 per unit.
Aviator Cycles is confident, however, that their proprietary propulsive system is a winner and many other companies will end up imitating their design. “Everybody that designs is great, but they’re ultimately going to have to use our propulsion system,” says Chimenti.
The company intends to begin taking reservations in the next six months and begin flights some time in the next year.
Why it matters: Aviator Cycles is taking a unique perspective on their product strategy in the aerial mobility space. Their prototype will likely not compete with other well known eVTOL manufacturers, but rather, fit a niche customer market looking for a futuristic recreational vehicle. Due to its size, other manufacturers can look to Aviator Cycles to innovate as it will offer superior propulsive efficiency when compared to other eVTOL platforms.
Elroy Air is an autonomy and logistics company developing industry-first aerial transport systems and software to deliver cargo rapidly and flexibly by air. Building on the powertrain and perception technology currently enabling the hybrid-electric/autonomous vehicle revolution, its vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) aerial logistics systems can operate outside of airport infrastructure and carry 250–500 lbs of cargo over 300 miles.
Stage of Development
"Elroy Air's systems deliver heavy cargo over long distances, fast. An end-to-end aerial cargo delivery system." Highlighted features include:
- 250-500lbs (100-225kg) payload
- 300mi (500km) range
- No airport required
- No electric charging station required
- Efficient hybrid-electric powertrain
- Autonomous flight and advanced safety architecture
- Autonomous cargo loading and unloading
- Transport cargo directly to destination
- Fly over traffic
- Load-balance between warehouses
- Expedite humanitarian logistics
- Self-deploy to remote locations
- Land in unimproved environments
- Eliminate the risk to air crews
- Increase delivery tempo
- Deliver to otherwise inaccessible locations
Our Take on Elroy Air
The Elroy Air team has recruited a wide variety of expertise and perspectives, with employee backgrounds ranging from academia to both large an small aerospace-focused companies. Many members of the team have prior experience growing and selling hardware startup companies, which will prove to be beneficial in the event that Elroy Air is situated for a strategic or financial acquisition. The company's aircraft, the Chaparral, is wisely applicable to a range of industries and could be implemented with slightly more limited scrutiny than a passenger vehicle, given that it is planned to carry exclusively cargo. The 1,215-pound vehicle also boasts an impressive max payload weight of up to 500 pounds, and its hybrid-electric propulsion system continues to be flight tested at McMillan Airfield in Camp Roberts, CA.
The Latest News from TransportUP
Hyundai to Develop Flying Car by 2023November 11, 2019
Community Air Mobility Initiative Launches to Support Integration of UAMNovember 10, 2019
EHang Prepares For $100 Million IPO on NasdaqNovember 8, 2019
Bye Aerospace, Oxis Energy Begin Collaboration to Increase the Endurance of Future Bye Aerospace eAircraftNovember 7, 2019
Back to The Hangar
Volocopter expands into utility drone business with fully-electric VoloDrone demonstrator. Volocopter, an active innovator in the aerial mobility industry, presented the demonstrator of its VoloDrone on October 30th near the company’s headquarters in Germany. This marks Volocopter’s expansion into the logistics, agriculture, infrastructure and public services industry. The VoloDrone is an unmanned, fully electric, heavy-lift utility drone capable of carrying a payload...
Volocopter expands into utility drone business with fully-electric VoloDrone demonstrator.
Volocopter, an active innovator in the aerial mobility industry, presented the demonstrator of its VoloDrone on October 30th near the company’s headquarters in Germany. This marks Volocopter’s expansion into the logistics, agriculture, infrastructure and public services industry. The VoloDrone is an unmanned, fully electric, heavy-lift utility drone capable of carrying a payload of up to 200 kg (440 lbs). With its adaptable payload system, Volocopter aims to reach a wide swath of market opportunities ranging from agriculture, logistics, and infrastructure to public services, all while offering time and cost advantages compared to existing solutions.
The VoloDrone’s propulsion system is visually similar to that of the iconic Volocopter 2X. The rotor area of the VoloDrone has a diameter of 9.2 m and sits at 2.3 m height, allowing for a maximum range of up to 40 km (25 miles). It can be remotely piloted or flown in automated mode on pre-set routes. The aircraft is also outfitted with a standardized rail attachment system commonly applied in aerospace and logistics in order to accommodate a wide variety of payloads. Built to be compatible with Euro-palette packages, it provides enough space for a sling, a sprayer or other customized equipment.
A team of specialists based at the special airfield in Oberpfaffenhofen near Munich has developed the aircraft. “Since the very beginning, we have worked with strategic partners across different industries to develop a product that will provide significant value in their specific use cases. It is therefore designed as a universal air-lift vehicle, that can be adapted to different use cases by special-purpose implements. Listening to the market demands is key for us,” says Christophe Hommet, Chief Engineer of the VoloDrone. To learn more about Volocopter’s strategic ideology, Read Volocopter’s White Paper on Urban Air Mobility.
Sharing strong synergy with the existing Volocopter air taxi platform, the VoloDrone benefits from the accumulated technology competence and flight testing already performed on the Volocopter: its multicopter platform with 18 rotors and swappable lithium-ion batteries as well as the in-house flight control solutions provide a strong reliable basis for the VoloDrone.
“Our core business remains Urban Air Mobility and the transportation of passengers. However, the technological platform of the Volocopter can bring outstanding value to a variety of additional applications. With the VoloDrone, Christophe and his team are bringing the benefits of Volocopter technology to the logistics, agriculture, infrastructure, and public services space,” says Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter. “It expands our leading position in sustainable, fully electric eVTOLs to a host of new applications.”
Why it’s important: The first flight of the VoloDrone demonstrator in October 2019 marks the beginning of intensive customer interaction in real-life applications, which provides the basis for the serial product. Many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are seeing new opportunities to apply aerial mobility technology to the logistics industry, and as it leads to increased competition in the sector, could benefit and expedite the implementation of the technology for human transportation.
Source // Volocopter
BLADE Urban Air Mobility has expanded its offerings on the West Coast, now availing customers with direct, on demand flights connecting LAX, DTLA, Burbank, the Westside, Orange County, and more in Southern California. Months after the UAM provider brought their San Francisco Bay services into the public realm, they’ve continued to expand their West Coast market to include Southern California....
BLADE Urban Air Mobility has expanded its offerings on the West Coast, now availing customers with direct, on demand flights connecting LAX, DTLA, Burbank, the Westside, Orange County, and more in Southern California.
Months after the UAM provider brought their San Francisco Bay services into the public realm, they’ve continued to expand their West Coast market to include Southern California.
In an interview with BLADE’s General Manager of West Coast Operations, Shivani Parikh, and BLADE UAM Founder and CEO, Rob Wiesenthal, the new operations were described as an exciting new market for on-demand aerial mobility for the West Coast.
“Since expanding our continuous flight service in Manhattan and San Francisco, we are seeing faster-than-expected adoption by people choosing to fly rather than drive” Parikh stated. “Additionally, Los Angeles is on the forefront of embracing multi-modality transportation options such as auto, bike, and scooter shares as new ways of saving time. BLADE is now enabling another mobility option – the ability to fly short distances bypassing ground traffic on the way to work, home, the airport or to key leisure destinations. Los Angeles’ great weather contributes to an endless flying season for customers to take advantage of beating traffic in one of the most congested cities in the United States.
TransportUP’s Editor, Naish Gaubatz, went for a ride with the BLADE team in Los Angeles to demo the expansion of BLADE’s UAM offerings. The short helicopter ride highlighted the benefits of a dedicated urban air mobility operation in a congested city like Los Angeles – not only were the direct to heliport services at LAX a means to save time, the flight to the West Side showcased the ease of travelling along a route that would normally take almost an hour when the Northbound 405 Freeway is gridlocked (while the flight took less than 10 minutes and included spectacular views to boot).
Additionally, BLADE’s new expansion of services in Southern California play well with the culture of entertainment and luxury excursion that is signature of Los Angeles – and which many travel far to experience. In partnership with a variety of music, cultural, sporting, and large event programmers, BLADE has been able to capture a large amount of on-demand aerial mobility customers who are seeking better and faster ways to reach these marquis events. Not to mention, many of these experiences are accompanied with time at one of BLADE’s signature customer experience facets – the BLADE Lounge. Currently stationed in DTLA, the BLADE Lounge offers customers the chance to unwind with a drink before their flight, or complete some last minute work items. BLADE has stated that prices of flights between LAX, DTLA, the West Side, and Burbank will start at $195.
Many argue that BLADE is piloting UAM operations of tomorrow with a platform that’s functional today by utilizing the most technologically advanced, safest certified rotorcraft on the market. When asked about the transition between helicopters and eVTOLs (electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft) as the main aircraft that serve currently heli-dominated routes, CEO Rob Wiesenthal stated “We don’t see the transition as a step function change; there will be opportunities for customers on a limited basis to try eVTOL aircraft when they’re available, certified, and have a track record of performance – but even then the integration into BLADE’s accessible fleet will be measured”
Shivani Parikh also commented on potential future expansion plans for BLADE in SoCal to include Santa Barbara, San Diego, and desert cities on an “as demanded basis”. The general approach, commented Parikh, was utilize early adopting customer feedback campaigns that help to identify the areas for the largest benefit and refinement of BLADE’s current offerings.
Why it’s important: BLADE UAM has few competitors in Southern California – in fact, the closest entity to a competitor currently are helicopter charter services that require booking and coordination days, if not weeks in advance. With BLADE’s UAM platform, customers can book and be airborne in minutes, directly on the way to their destination. In cities like New York and Los Angeles alike, the last few miles of the journey can make all the difference in time savings, and BLADE’s expansion in SoCal could likely be the beginning of many more commercial UAM operations in Los Angeles.
Aerial mobility caught the attention of many in the business and general aviation industry at NBAA’s flagship event This year’s NBAA-BACE (Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition) convention in Las Vegas demonstrated the growing public and industry interest in aerial mobility and more sustainable energy sources in aviation. In year’s past, NBAA has hosted eVTOL manufacturers, but this year signaled the...
Aerial mobility caught the attention of many in the business and general aviation industry at NBAA’s flagship event
This year’s NBAA-BACE (Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition) convention in Las Vegas demonstrated the growing public and industry interest in aerial mobility and more sustainable energy sources in aviation. In year’s past, NBAA has hosted eVTOL manufacturers, but this year signaled the coming change to business and general aviation. The convention featured the UAS/UAM Innovation Display which showcased the numerous stakeholders of aerial mobility including: Uber Elevate, Boeing NeXT and HorizonX, Bell Nexus, Safran, Jaunt, and XTI, among others.
The show opened with NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen declaring that this year’s NBAA-BACE would be “the most exciting convention NBAA has ever hosted.” Perhaps most popular was Bell’s Nexus prototype unrelieved earlier this year. Earlier this year, Scott Drennan, Bell vice president of engineering innovation, told an industry conference, “I want it to be [full] autonomy right away, and I think the technology is there to do that.” Drennan cited the need for 10,000 additional vehicle pilots just for UAM’s early-stage deployment and how the addition of those pilots would inflate direct operating costs, as reported to Aviation International News.
Among the various prototypes and displays found at the convention, many aerial mobility and eVTOL stakeholders were recognized. This year, NBAA President Ed Bolen presented the Meritorious Service to Aviation Award to Ross Perot, Jr., who is partnering with Uber on UAM infrastructure. Eric Allison of Uber Elevate and Sky Dayton of Joby Aviation were among the keynote speakers at the convention and explained how close aerial mobility is to becoming a reality.
Why it matters: Aerial mobility taking center stage at one of aviation’s biggest events signifies a growing interest in the technology and serves as an indicator of how close eVTOL is to a commercial reality. Although many prototype’s entry to service are 3-5 years away, one can not help but be excited over the growing industry interest in the technology. We expect aerial mobility will be a hot topic at not only NBAA but other major aerospace trade shows and conventions in 2020 and beyond.
The two companies completed installation of the MagniX motor on a de Havilland Canada prototype Harbour Air Seaplanes recently entered a partnership with MagniX in order to begin the conversion to the first all-electric airline. For that purpose, the company has installed the MagniX electric motor onto a de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver, and plans to complete the prototype soon...
The two companies completed installation of the MagniX motor on a de Havilland Canada prototype
Harbour Air Seaplanes recently entered a partnership with MagniX in order to begin the conversion to the first all-electric airline. For that purpose, the company has installed the MagniX electric motor onto a de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver, and plans to complete the prototype soon in order to begin testing.
Harbour Air announced that the 560kW magni500 electric motor, along with other components, had been installed onto the aircraft. What now remains is the final battery strings, development and installations of wiring, installation of a battery management unit and power system, as well as preliminary tests for the prototype. The company announced the aircraft conversion is progressing normally, and should enter testing by the end of the year.
“With the delivery and successful installation of the magniX motor, we are working hard to connect the internal systems in preparation for its first flight,” the company wrote. Harbour Air is strongly dedicated to the full conversion to electric; Greg McDougall, founder and CEO of Harbour Air believes that electric planes will reduce long-term costs for their fleet. “Electric motors are extremely reliable. They don’t have the same number of moving parts as a turbine or piston engine and they have much better durability,” he said in a statement in March.
The goal of the company is to eventually transition over to a fully electric fleet. However, since the new design still needs approval from both Transport Canada and the Federal Aviation Administration, Harbour Air reported that their new aircraft would not fly commercially until 2022 at the earliest.
Why it’s important: Harbour Air presents an ideal airline for the conversion to a fully-electric fleet, as their flight routes consist of domestic flights in the PNW region. As a result, the current limited operational range of electric motor technology will not have as large of an impact compared to other airlines. The successful conversion of Harbour Air’s fleet will present a valuable opportunity to further develop and refine electric battery technology, which could potentially improve the utility of fully electric eVTOL aircraft.
Source // New Atlas