Stage of Development
From the Ray Research Website:
Wingspan: 7.9 ft
Ray Research AG invents and develops new aircraft designs, as well as aircraft propulsion systems.
Our first patented aircraft, Ray, is a vertical takeoff and landing aircraft (VTOL) which carries 5 persons and has a range of 1000 km. Its design resembles a stingray.
To compete for the Boeing GoFly Prize we have upscaled one of our very simple UAV designs:
The Dart Flyer is a single person tailsitter VTOL aircraft.
For takeoff and landing the head of the pilot points upwards.
For fast cruise flight, the Dart flyer glides on its aerodynamic shaped delta wings.
Fail-safe Electric Propulsion
One of the main innovations of Ray Research AG is the patent pending fail-safe electric propulsion, without any single point of failure.
This system, already used in the Ray, is also a cornerstone of the Dart concept.
It guarantees that each of the 4 motors provides at least 75% power, even after any kind of failure.
In addition to computer simulations we also use UAVs for small scaled prototypes of our manned aircraft designs.
The main purpose of the scaled models is to gather real world experience in controlling the crucial transitions between hover and cruise modes.
Our Take on the Ray Research Dart Flyer
The Ray Research Dart Flyer is a smart proof-of-concept that was submitted as an entry to the Boeing sponsored GoFly competition. However, the Dart did not advance past Phase 1 of the competition. Some perspective is important here - the Dart is intended to be used as a research platform for Ray's larger project - the VTOL - so advancements with the Ray Dart may help aid in the design of the Ray VTOL.
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Back to The Hangar
The Ray Civil VTOL Aircraft is being developed by Ray Research AG in Muttenz, Switzerland. The "Ray" VTOL is named such because it resembles a Manta Ray, and features two ducted fans at the rear of the craft for propulsion and two in each wing for additional power.
Stage of Development
From the Ray VTOL Website:
The Ray aircraft can take-off and land vertically. It needs no runway - like a helicopter.
In comparison to near future helicopters the Ray has the following properties:
- Lower price per service
- Bigger range
- Less noise & vibrations -inside & outside
- Lower fuel consumption
- Higher speed
The first series of Ray aircraft is designed for 4 passengers and one pilot.
The lift for vertical take-off and landing is generated by the four wing-fans. For cruise flight the wings get closed. The Ray aircraft is as independent as a helicopter (=no runway needed) and almost as economic as a conventional aircraft.
This results in an extremly independent aircraft with a fast cruise speed and a long range for an acceptable price.
“Each wing encases 2 relatively big fans arranged behind each other, which leads to an exceptional deep wing and a low wing loading. When high enough the two tilt-ducts in the back are tilted to horizontal and accelerate the Ray aircraft. As soon as the wings fully support the aircraft we close them and fly almost as efficient like a conventional aircraft. The Ray has further improvements for control, security, economy and performance….”
Number of passengers: 4, and 1 pilot
Number of engines: 2 Pratt and Whitney PW210 engines producing 800 shp each, which drive six electric motors that turn propellers
Estimated Cruise Speed: 360 km/h
Estimated Range: 1,800 km
*Note: The company also released in June that it had designed the Dart Flyer, for the Boeing Sponsored GoFly competition.
Our Take on Ray Research
The blended wing body (BWB) design of the Ray Research VTOL is becoming increasingly popular among futuristic aerospace design concepts as it minimizes the amount of interference with the incoming airflow, and more closely approximates the shape of a bird flying through the air. Ray's concept combines the BWB with two turbines that drive six electric motors, which in turn power propellers that lift the aircraft vertically and then divert air rearward to facilitate accelerated forward flight. Because of Ray Research's concept is technologically sound, the biggest hurdle for the company is most likely manufacturing oriented - there does not exist a large amount of tooling that is readily available for construction of a BWB aircraft. If Ray Research can overcome this challenge, then their next target should be successful flight testing in coordination with a regulatory agency willing to certify their aircraft.
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Back to The Hangar
Raytheon is bringing radar technology to flying cars and taxis. The aerospace companies’ recent efforts have focused on developing a low-power radar that can fill in the gaps of conventional larger scale radar systems. Their proposition is to implement many small systems en masse instead of utilizing large, scanning systems that have ranges of up to 200 miles. The radar...
Raytheon is bringing radar technology to flying cars and taxis. The aerospace companies’ recent efforts have focused on developing a low-power radar that can fill in the gaps of conventional larger scale radar systems. Their proposition is to implement many small systems en masse instead of utilizing large, scanning systems that have ranges of up to 200 miles.
The radar units sit upright, and are about one square meter in size and as thick as a pizza box. The technology is claimed to be much more accurate and precise than what is in use today, according to Raytheon. These systems can also selectively monitor targets, whether that be many with a larger range or a selected single target at close range.
Why it’s important: Raytheon’s low-level radar efforts are critical to the success of the flying car and taxi industry, as tracking and efficient management of low-level urban airspace will be critical to the successful operation of personal aerial transportation systems in the future. Raytheon is distancing themselves from other infrastructure suppliers by creating a product that is ready to enter the market today.
Boeing and Safran continue to commit to the electrification of aircraft technology The two companies recently announced a joint investment in Electric Power Systems. (EPS), a company offering a multitude of lightweight energy storage products for the aerospace industry. Based in Logan, Utah, the privately held aerospace company specializes in advanced energy storage systems comprised of cells, power electronics, controls,...
Boeing and Safran continue to commit to the electrification of aircraft technology
The two companies recently announced a joint investment in Electric Power Systems. (EPS), a company offering a multitude of lightweight energy storage products for the aerospace industry. Based in Logan, Utah, the privately held aerospace company specializes in advanced energy storage systems comprised of cells, power electronics, controls, software and thermal management systems. The company’s technology supports a host of electric and hybrid electric airplanes such as the Nasa X57, Bye eFlyer and Bell Nexus.
“Electrification of flight has the potential to fundamentally change how goods, services, and humans connect. We are thrilled to work with visionary companies such as Boeing and Safran to further develop and field advanced energy solutions that can meet real world mission demands,” said Nathan Millecam, EPS chief executive officer.
Headlining EPS’s Series A funding round, the investment is intended to aid EPS in developing a highly automated industrial base in order to produce aviation-grade energy storage systems. EPS is also working on a means to further improve upon the current battery technologies in aircraft and reduce the costs of battery systems in electric airplanes and eVTOLs.
“EPS’ battery technology meets Boeing’s high standards of safety and can enable significant cost savings for customers,” said Brian Schettler, managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures. “This strategic investment accelerates the development of clean, quiet and safe urban air mobility solutions.”
EPS follows Cuberg, an advanced lithium metal battery technology company, as the second advanced battery solutions company in Boeing’s HorizonX Ventures investment portfolio. In addition, Safram Ventures has also invested in OXIS Energy, a UK-based company offering lithium-sulfur technology for high energy density battery systems.
“Safran will collaborate with EPS to offer our customers electric or hybrid-electric propulsion systems with a level of performance that sets us apart from competition,” said Alain Sauret, Safran Electrical & Power President. “This technology cooperation is emblematic of Safran’s strategy in greener propulsion solutions. Safran is already at the cutting edge of this field, and we are proud to accelerate through this investment.”
Why it’s important: Aerospace companies place a continued interest in the further development in battery systems technologies, dedicated to eventually shifting all existing aircraft power systems over to a completely electric battery system. This recent investment in EPS increases the chances that complete electrification of the aerospace market and the aerial mobility industry occurs within the next decade.
Sources // Newswire Today
Transcend Air will be a featured panelist and exhibitor at the 2019 ICAO Innovation Fair Peter H. Schmidt, co-founder and COO of Transcend Air, will join the ICAO Innovation fair as a featured speaker at the Green Innovation Session to deliver his talk on “A System Approach to Sustainability, Starting Now.” According to the Transcend Air press release, “Transcend Air...
Transcend Air will be a featured panelist and exhibitor at the 2019 ICAO Innovation Fair
Peter H. Schmidt, co-founder and COO of Transcend Air, will join the ICAO Innovation fair as a featured speaker at the Green Innovation Session to deliver his talk on “A System Approach to Sustainability, Starting Now.” According to the Transcend Air press release, “Transcend Air envisions an all-electric future for aviation, and is plotting a course to get there in sustainable steps starting with today’s technology.”
The talk will pertain to Transcend Air’s own VTOL, the Vy 400, and specifically Transcend Air’s vision for future transportation. This includes implementing flexible vertipads that emit no emissions and are based in water, so that incorporation will require no concrete structures or land space. The company plans to feature their VTOL exclusively at these vertipads to reduce travel costs and traffic congestion for the general public.
Transcend Air’s vision for sustainability can be broken up into four basic aspects.
Architecture: Reduces or eliminates the need to expand airports in the face of rising air travel needs.
Strategic Geographic Locations: Puts the travel resource near where the need is concentrated, eliminating wasteful congestion.
Efficient: A distributed vertipad network minimizes environmental costs by avoiding the costs and impacts of large-scale of construction.
Future Ready Aircraft Design: The Vy class of aircraft is designed to be converted to all-electric when the technology is in place.
The ICAO Innovation Fair 2019 and Fifth Annual ICAO World Aviation Forum, held in Montreal, Canada, will be held “to excite and educate our sector on the possibilities that innovation presents, and to provide insights to key decision makers, on how they can start-up innovation within their own States”, according to the site’s website. To learn more about the event, visit here.
Find more on Transcend Air and other eVTOLs in the Hanger.
Why it’s important: Sustainability is a large factor in why the aerial mobility industry is an attractive option for the future of transportation. With rising demands in aerial transportation, aerial mobility options such as Transcend Air’s presents a potential solution to reduce travel costs, traffic congestion, and environmental impacts in rapidly growing metropolitan areas.
Source // Press Release from Transcend Air
eVTOLs have benefits that helicopters won’t be able to compete with. Helicopters are the world’s current solution to aerial mobility: a time proven system that effectively transports people and goods short to medium distances, with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities to boot. Air taxi services utilizing helicopters have operated since the 1950’s, New York Airways being one of the famed...
eVTOLs have benefits that helicopters won’t be able to compete with.
Helicopters are the world’s current solution to aerial mobility: a time proven system that effectively transports people and goods short to medium distances, with vertical takeoff and landing capabilities to boot. Air taxi services utilizing helicopters have operated since the 1950’s, New York Airways being one of the famed initial operators that was profitable until a crash in 1977 resulted in the company going defunct.
Today, companies like BLADE have successfully implemented shared-seat and private charter model air taxi services in locales such as New York, and other mobility companies like Uber have followed suit and launched their own platform, Uber Copter in mid-2019, also operating in New York City. The usage of helicopters for on-demand aerial mobility services extends beyond the United States – Voom operates Airbus Helicopters in Sao Paulo and Mexico City. All of these companies share a common intent, which Airbus’ lists on their website:
By providing daily commuters with a more efficient transportation option, Voom addresses the challenges associated with traffic congestion in cities. At the same time, Voom enables Airbus to lay the groundwork for our longer-term vision of urban air mobility in which urban transport is powered by electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles.
BLADE, Uber, Voom, and other companies intend on making the transition to eVTOLs when the time is right. But given the operational history and depth of knowledge in a proven system like the helicopter, why expend the extra effort to replace helicopters with an entirely new system?
One of the greatest obstacles to launching any aerial mobility service is noise and visual intrusions to the public. Many aerial mobility companies that intend on utilizing eVTOLs must overcome the hurdle of community acceptance. Fortunately, existing operators have accomplished this goal with an even more challenging (and louder) system – the helicopter. Among key aspects to reduce noise and visual pollution are electrification of the power plant (reduction in turbine noise emissions) and leverage original propulsion systems (smaller rotors) that output proportionally less noise than a singular rotor system like a helicopter. Resultantly, eVTOL OEM’s prioritize noise impact reductions as a key feature of their designs and promote quieter skies as a major advantage for eVTOLs over traditional helicopters.
eVTOLs represent a step forward for vertical flight as designs progress away from single rotor to distributed propulsion solutions. Many eVTOLs use IDEP (Integrated distributed electric propulsion) employing several (sometimes up to 18) rotors for vertical lift. Rotor speed is independently controlled, thereby improving handling qualities and redundancies in the instance a single rotor should experience an anomaly. According to Uber Elevate’s whitepaper, eVTOL developers claim to achieve levels of safety four times safer than that of helicopters (which equates to approximately double the current safety standards in autos).
Additionally, the majority of helicopter accidents occur due to pilot or planning errors. With the advent of advanced autonomous flight control systems (updated with weather, air traffic information, and iterative flight path information) eVTOLs reduce risks associated with operator error. Even the initial piloted operations of eVTOLs will still be enhanced by the greater capabilities of flight control augmentation and situational awareness that accompanies vehicles designed for autonomous operation.
Manufacturing helicopters is complicated and expensive. While eVTOLs achieve similar levels of fuselage and materials complexity, many of their propulsion systems are plug-and-play: most eVTOL concepts use many of the same type of brushless DC electric motor for propulsion. While helicopters use turbines and transmissions to translate energy to thrust, electric motors driveshafts on eVTOLs are directly attached to fan blades, negating the need for transmissions. These manufacturing considerations also translate into MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and operations) architecture for aerial mobility. Helicopters require a complete overhaul of their turbine approximately every 2,000 flight hours. eVTOL motors will likely adhere to similar regulations, but in lieu of an expensive and time-consuming overhaul, electric motors would simply be removed and replaced in a few minutes.
Operational Expenses & Emissions
The most direct benefit of eVTOLs over helicopters is electrification. Electric power (at the point of operation) is cheaper and cleaner than operating gas turbines. While mid -size helicopters typically consume 50 gallons of Jet-A per hour (or $200/hour of fuel assuming a nominal Jet-A price of $4/gallon). The predicted electricity costs for an eVTOL is approximately 8.2 cents per mile [Uber Elevate Whitepaper], and at a nominal speed of 50 miles/hour, equates to a whopping $4/hour for “fuel”. In fact, for the same price as an hour of fuel for a helicopter, an eVTOL could fly over 2,400 miles (assuming recharging stops of course).
Additionally, electric operations reduce carbon emissions at the point of operation. While the electricity powering eVTOLs may not be 100% sustainably generated, electrification of aerial mobility (and aviation in general) will continue to grow as it has over the last 10 years – many examples of electric training aircraft, small commercial concepts, and hybrid systems are in operation around the world today.
Autonomous Operational System Architecture
At scale, eVTOLs intend to conduct aerial mobility operations autonomously, and integrated with airspace management systems to oversee the volume of air traffic in a highly populated urban area. Using these low altitude airspace management platforms such as AirMap and Boeing’s Skygrid, the need for pilot and air traffic controller are eliminated. Most exciting, autonomous flights such as these have already occurred – EHang recently completed its first passenger-carrying autonomous flight.
So when can we expect large-scale commercial operation of eVTOLs?
Although we won’t see autonomous eVTOLs buzzing around the skies of LA, New York City, Tokyo, or London next year, progress is being made every day to enable commercial operations of electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. Helicopters currently serve as the gateway to lay operational framework, but studies such as one from Morgan Stanley’s research arm estimate that eVTOL aerial mobility services could be valued at up to $1.5 Trillion by the year 2040.
Over 100 companies are developing eVTOL aircraft, and Uber claims that it will launch initial services within five years. Several of the world’s major aircraft manufacturers including Airbus, Boeing, and Bell are also developing their own aircraft, many of which are already in the flight testing phase of development.
To learn more about the growing world of eVTOLs, aerial mobility, air taxis, and more, visit TransportUP’s homepage at TransportUP.com
Sources // Uber Elevate, EHang, Volocopter, Lilium, Airbus
Frisco, Texas is the home of Uber’s first test site for its eVTOL aircraft. Dallas has long been in Uber’s plans as one of the launch cities for its urban air mobility (UAM) initiative, and the company has recently completed the construction of a helipad site at Frisco Station near The Star and along the Dallas North Tollway. An important feature...
Frisco, Texas is the home of Uber’s first test site for its eVTOL aircraft.
Dallas has long been in Uber’s plans as one of the launch cities for its urban air mobility (UAM) initiative, and the company has recently completed the construction of a helipad site at Frisco Station near The Star and along the Dallas North Tollway. An important feature of the helipad is its strategic location, which will reportedly enable passengers to access the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport in as little as seven minutes by way of Uber’s service. Concurrently, Uber is looking to expand its autonomous car ride-share service to the Dallas area, and plans to begin mapping routes in November to make the technology possible.
Frisco’s growing corporate scene may also have been a deciding factor in Uber’s selection for the company’s first aerial mobility test site. The helipad may not be limited to testing, however; it could also become a permanent location for Uber’s next verti-port. While a vehicle or fleet of vehicles have not yet been decided, Uber remains constant in its plan to begin offering the aerial mobility ride-share service to the public in 2023.
In fact, Uber continues to search for aircraft manufacturer partnerships. At Farnborough’s inaugural Global Urban Air Summit (GUAS) earlier this month, the company welcomed eVTOL aircraft developers to propose vehicle designs for its Uber Air ride-share air-taxi service. In the meantime, Uber has already announced partnerships with six OEMs – Aurora Flight Sciences, Bell, EmbraerX, Karem Aircraft, Pipistrel Vertical Solutions, and Jaunt Air Mobility – with Jaunt being the most recent addition.
Just recently, Uber has also provided details on bringing air taxi services to Melbourne. As announced earlier this year, Melbourne will be the third official city in the company’s pilot program – the first two being Los Angeles and Dallas – and the first of its kind outside of the United States. Uber has begun to collect data on how people move about the city and which routes they would most likely take. This information will help gauge demand and initial route offerings for their pilot program.
Why it’s important: Uber continues to make headway in the development of its aerial ride-share program, Uber Air, via both infrastructural and technological advancements. The company remains primarily focused on the operations of the service, and looks to emerging industry experts for eVTOL aircraft collaborations.
Source // WFAA News
The White House indicated it may be interested in the research and development of eVTOL aircraft. In a nine-page executive memo, the document discusses future development budget priorities for the US government beyond FY2021. The document covers a variety of R&D topics ranging from advanced communications, autonomy, and infrastructure resilience, among others. This quote was taken from the memo and...
The White House indicated it may be interested in the research and development of eVTOL aircraft.
In a nine-page executive memo, the document discusses future development budget priorities for the US government beyond FY2021. The document covers a variety of R&D topics ranging from advanced communications, autonomy, and infrastructure resilience, among others.
This quote was taken from the memo and shows a clear priority for eVTOL.
“Departments and agencies should support the development and deployment of advanced communications networks by prioritizing R&D consistent with the National Spectrum R&D Strategy. They should prioritize R&D to lower barriers to the deployment of surface, air, and marine autonomous vehicles with a focus on developing operating standards, integration approaches, traffic management systems, and defense/security operations. Departments and agencies should prioritize R&D that enables electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing and civil supersonic aircraft, including for type certification, the creation of over-land supersonic flight noise standards, and low-sonic-boom aircraft research.”
“The administration believes that unique and innovative eVTOL designs have the potential to revolutionize the future of transportation. We at OSTP look forward to working across the Federal government to develop an eVTOL regulatory framework that prioritizes safety and promotes innovation, ” said Joseph Van Valen, senior policy advisor for advanced transportation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).
Stakeholders in the aerial mobility space will be pleased to see support from the US government, yet it is unclear yet if these priorities will lead to greater R&D funding.
“As we move forward, government must ensure that that we continue to prioritize funding for these sort of technologies – especially as others such as Europe and China are investing significant sums to gain an advantage in these areas,” said David Silver of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA).
Why it matters: One of the key barriers to the widespread acceptance of the aerial mobility industry will be cooperation with the US government, in particular, the FAA. With a clear prioritization from the executive branch, it brings to question if government support for the industry will match.
Commercial flying cars could serve as inspiration for the V-22 Osprey successor. With an abundance of funding and fast-paced iterations on cutting-edge designs, the private sector has potentially edged ahead of military vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) technology in the recent years. There has therefore been ample time and research in optimizing an enormous variety of approaches to aerial mobility,...
Commercial flying cars could serve as inspiration for the V-22 Osprey successor.
With an abundance of funding and fast-paced iterations on cutting-edge designs, the private sector has potentially edged ahead of military vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) technology in the recent years. There has therefore been ample time and research in optimizing an enormous variety of approaches to aerial mobility, and many of them could also be feasibly implemented in the defense industry.
The Fall of 2019 is planned to see the beginning of Agility Prime, an effort to harness the commercial world’s work on flying cars and, eventually, replace the V-22 Osprey. The program could also open up opportunities to expand the scope of VTOL operations in the U.S. Air Force. While many commercial prototypes are not currently designed to be capable of the Osprey’s mission, there are an abundance of applications, such as logistics, that will absolutely benefit from the technological advancements in aerial mobility.
Further, the U.S. Air Force has articulated similar performance metrics of interest as those seen in the commercial sector, such as noise reduction. Defense One recently interviewed Mark Moore, a former NASA engineer who now runs aviation engineering for Uber, who talked about the potential for “an ultra-low noise insertion signature and increased surveillance capabilities,” which would quietly place Special Operations Forces behind enemy lines.
These types of dual-sector technologies and interests could also bring unforeseen benefits and collaboration efforts between commercial and defense innovations, and even have the potential to trim expenses. Will Roper, the service’s assistant secretary for acquisition, explained to Defense One: “Every flight hour we are flying in the Air Force is worth is worth millions, if not billions, to those private companies that are wanting to take over this domestic urban mobility boom that’s been predicted. It’s a wonderful way to think about using the defense market as a partnership opportunity.” Roper described the Agility Prime program at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber conference this week as “a low-hanging opportunity” to gain insight on aerial mobility operations based on the learnings thus far in the commercial sector.
Why it’s important: The aerospace industry has historically been driven by military applications, as many have necessitated the innovation of cutting-edge materials, airplane configurations, or entirely new aircraft systems. In the aerial mobility field, commercial development for civilian transportation has recently been the focus use of VTOL technology. Now, the upcoming V-22 Osprey replacement efforts could usher in a collaboration between public and private sector to potentially see development synergies.
Source // Defense One
Volocopter’s flight was the highlight of Vision Smart City Mercedes-Benz hosted the event at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. Vision Smart City was hosted in order to feature technical innovations and sustainable transport concepts for future mobility, including concepts of carsharing and electric vehicles, according to the official Volocopter press release. The event is also part of an initiative...
Volocopter’s flight was the highlight of Vision Smart City
Mercedes-Benz hosted the event at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. Vision Smart City was hosted in order to feature technical innovations and sustainable transport concepts for future mobility, including concepts of carsharing and electric vehicles, according to the official Volocopter press release. The event is also part of an initiative of a research project by the Technical University of Stuttgart to examine the social acceptance of air taxis. Headlining the event was Volocopter’s first urban flight of their dynamic eVTOL, which can be seen here.
Mercedes-Benz, a partner of Volocopter, was also impressed by the showcase. According to Ola Källenius, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, “Our partner Volocopter shows how an air taxi is turning the dream of driving into the dream of flying. At Daimler we work on the mobility of the future too. By 2022 we will have electrified the entire Mercedes-Benz portfolio. Our goal is that electrically powered cars will account for more than half of our sales by 2030. The road to climate-neutral mobility is a joint effort of companies and politics. We at Daimler a willing and ready to make our contribution.”
Volocopter has consistently been one of the companies furthest along in the urban air mobility industry, now working on efforts to introduce eVTOL-specific infrastructure to several key urban cities, and have also previously finished a EUR 50 million funding round this month. Florian Reuter, CEO of Volocopter GmbH, has been excited at the strides that Volocopter has been making recently. “Our Volocopter air taxis open up a completely new dimension in urban mobility,” said Reuter, “As Stuttgart has seen today, they fly safely, quietly and are fast approching the implementation stage. Volocopter air taxis are able to ease traffic congestion in major cities around the world, also here in Germany.”
Learn more about Vision Smart City here
To learn more about Volocopter, read our aircraft page here
Why it’s important: Volocopter has demonstrated not only a successful flight, but a strong relationship with Mercedes-Benz, as the automotive company has gotten increasingly involved with the former. This flight at Stuttgart was the headliner for Mercedes-Benz’s own event, with several key figures in both Mercedes-Benz and local government expressing strong confidence and interest in the future of the commercial urban air mobility market, indicating a promising place in the industry for Volocopter in the future.
Source // Volocopter Press Release
Lift Aircraft has announced plans to begin trial flights at it headquarters in Austin, TX. Matt Chasen, a veteran of the startup world and a former Boeing engineer, says his company is planning to offer the first round of trial flights at its headquarters soon, reported GeekWire. Later, Lift Aircraft will complete a 25-city tour showcasing its ultralight aircraft, Hexa....
Lift Aircraft has announced plans to begin trial flights at it headquarters in Austin, TX.
Matt Chasen, a veteran of the startup world and a former Boeing engineer, says his company is planning to offer the first round of trial flights at its headquarters soon, reported GeekWire. Later, Lift Aircraft will complete a 25-city tour showcasing its ultralight aircraft, Hexa. The company gained public visibility with a visit from Jeff Bezos at Amazon’s MARS conference earlier this year.
“Securing great places to fly in each city is not super easy but we’re planning to go to Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego in the first few months of next year, and will likely time our tour through Seattle for summer,” Chasen said in an email. “There are still a lot of uncertainties as we’re getting into our first, low-rate production soon, and flight testing is always unpredictable — but we are on track to start our first customer trial flights late this year in Austin.”
The company says Hexa will be a 18-rotor, electric powered helicopter for “fun flights”. Unlike other eVTOL manufacturers which pitch a multi-passenger air taxi, Hexa will be a one-passenger vehicle for short flights over urban areas and tourist destinations. Lift says the FAA will classify Hexa as a powered ultralight aircraft.
Why its matters: Lift is showing the variety of possible business opportunities presented in the aerial mobility industry. While most conversations are centered on air taxi services and the like, Lift plans to offer a different kind of service and tap into the tourism and entertainment industries. While it remains to be seen the size or profitability of this business model, Lift has a strong brand presence with its recent appearances with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and various industry trade shows/conferences.
The Global Urban Air Summit hosted aerial mobility technologies, partnerships, and debates. Farnborough International hosted the inaugural Global Urban Air Summit in the UK from September 4th to 5th this year. The conference brought together key players and regulators in the aerial mobility industry with the goal of stimulating productive conversations between key stakeholders. “The event [included] two days of...
The Global Urban Air Summit hosted aerial mobility technologies, partnerships, and debates.
Farnborough International hosted the inaugural Global Urban Air Summit in the UK from September 4th to 5th this year. The conference brought together key players and regulators in the aerial mobility industry with the goal of stimulating productive conversations between key stakeholders. “The event [included] two days of conference sessions, networking, knowledge sharing and demonstrations, with the international community brought together by GUAS set to play a key strategic role in driving the industry forward,” according to the host.
“Already today, the race is on – 150 prototypes have already been announced to the market.” Guillaume Thibault, a partner at Oliver Wyman, took the stage at the event to highlight the rapidly expanding industry and the technologies developed by companies hoping to reach the market soon. However, it’s evident that the the technology is far ahead of the necessary regulation and infrastructure for standing up commercial operations. Therefore, a main focus of the conference was pointed discussions surrounding aerial mobility operations and quantifying the market size to properly capture what is required from the regulatory perspective.
Operators such as Uber Air are eager to enter the market with nearly developed eVTOLs, but depend on collaboration and feedback from agencies such as the FAA and the UK’s CAA. The conference was an opportunity for innovators to demonstrate advances in electrification, autonomy and connectivity – all technologies that will be advantageous to the safe, reliable, and predictable operation of urban aircraft.
In addition, there are many ways the aerial mobility industry can adopt strategies already implemented in more mature industries. These were shared throughout the two days, and included an exciting presentation from Stu Olden, Senior Commercial Manager of Williams Advanced Engineering, who said learning from parallel industries was the high point of the summit. He likened the challenges to those of the Formula One industry – reliable battery management systems, environmental pressures, and rapid technology development were all touched upon.
Why it’s important: GUAS is the first event of its kind in the sector, and concentrated more on practical engagement between the communities of interest. Gatherings of this sort are a step in the right direction for coordinating how urban air mobility will navigate a complex regulatory environment and integrate with other transportation methods.
Source // Farnborough International
Jetcopter is awaiting investment funds to begin production of their new VTOL The Lithuanian startup is looking for an initial investment of about $6 million and a total investment of $60 million to produce their six-seat VTOL aircraft, which is described as their version of a low cost alternative to medium-class rotary and fixed-wing type aircraft. Founder and CEO Dontatas...
Jetcopter is awaiting investment funds to begin production of their new VTOL
The Lithuanian startup is looking for an initial investment of about $6 million and a total investment of $60 million to produce their six-seat VTOL aircraft, which is described as their version of a low cost alternative to medium-class rotary and fixed-wing type aircraft.
Founder and CEO Dontatas Skulskis said that the company is currently in talks with potential investors. “We are in talks with potential investors,” says Skulskis. “Once we have the money, we can build the aircraft quickly and start flying. The rest of the funding should follow once the programme has reached significant development milestones.”
Named after its developer, the Jetcopter VTOL will be powered by two 665shp (495kW) all-aluminium, twin-turbocharged automotive engines. These will drive a tail-mounted fan and two centrifugal counter-rotating fans; the tailed mounted fan will be used for forward flight while the pair of centrifugal fans located above the fuselage will be used to draw air into the system before blowing it out of swiveling wing-tip ducts for vertical lift. The Jetcopter also has an emergency parachute integrated in the body for “an extra layer of safety.”
The Jetcopter has a projected effective range of around 1000 km, at a top speed of 300 km/hr. There is also a hybrid-electric version in the works, with four 335shp (250kW) electric motors, powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, replacing the automotive engines during the VTOL phases of flight, according to Jetcopter.
The carbon fiber aircraft will start at prices around $600,000. It is “significantly cheaper than similar-size helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft and other in-development VTOL [designs]”, according to Skulskis.
Why it’s important: The Jetcopter presents another exciting opportunity within the urban air mobility (UAM) industry. The Jetcopter’s flight range and speed will be attractive features for many investors, as the company announced their intentions to push their aircraft into several markets, Including air ambulance, cargo and passenger transport, as well as the UAM sector.
Sources // Flight Global
The conference will be held Sep 23-24 in San Francisco. Since its first conference in San Francisco last year, Revolution Aero has become known as an established conference focusing on innovation and technology in new forms of personal and business aviation. The conference brings together a number of startups currently seeking to disrupt the aviation industry, ranging from eVTOL developers to...
The conference will be held Sep 23-24 in San Francisco.
Since its first conference in San Francisco last year, Revolution Aero has become known as an established conference focusing on innovation and technology in new forms of personal and business aviation. The conference brings together a number of startups currently seeking to disrupt the aviation industry, ranging from eVTOL developers to business accelerator programs.
Notable confirmed speakers include Joby Aviation Founder & CEO Joeben Bevirt, Andrew Collins, President at Sentient Jet, Nikhil Goel, Head of Product at Uber Elevate, Star Ginn of the NASA UAM Grand Challenge, and many more, including representatives from directors of innovation at Airbus and Boeing. See the full list of confirmed speakers at Revolution.Aero’s homepage.
Ultimately, the goal of the conference is to promote and encourage new types of aviation in collaboration with engineers, designers, investors, government, and more. As part of the conference, Revolution Aero also holds new venture pitch competitions at each of its events to help new companies find financiers, mentors, and contacts. The conference also focuses heavily on how to guide and work with regulators of the newly growing personal aviation industry, hosting representatives from the FAA and NASA, as well as accounting for financial feasibility of new ventures.
“This is without doubt the start of a new aviation revolution. New -often interconnected -technologies like additive manufacturing, nanotechnology/advanced materials, artificial intelligence, electrification, the internet of aircraft, robotics, biotechnology, energy storage and others, will reshape aerospace and aviation.” -Revolution.Aero.
Revolution Aero will also hold its second European conference in London in March 2020, following the success of its conference there last year. Partnered with Revolution.Aero is the well known publication Helicopter/VTOL Investor, which has been focused on personal flight for almost a decade.
Why it’s important: Revolution.Aero is another conference bringing together all the key stakeholders in the growing personal flight industry. Unlike many industries before it, personal flight requires intense collaboration from almost every stakeholder ranging from government regulators to financial institutions and OEMs.
Global regulators and industry professionals discuss UAM industry operations at GUAS 2019. According to Farnborough International, the Global Urban Air Summit (GUAS) of 2019 “marks the first time global regulators have come together with industry to determine how urban air mobility will operate.” Discussions encompassed a variety of themes, such as the safety of urban aircraft, both from a perspective...
Global regulators and industry professionals discuss UAM industry operations at GUAS 2019.
According to Farnborough International, the Global Urban Air Summit (GUAS) of 2019 “marks the first time global regulators have come together with industry to determine how urban air mobility will operate.” Discussions encompassed a variety of themes, such as the safety of urban aircraft, both from a perspective of regulating repeatable manufacturing processes and one of gaining public acceptance. Of course, autonomy also made its way into the conversation, as it pertains to flight path planning and accountability.
Headlining the opening day of the conference was an insightful discussion with Tim Johnson, Policy Director for the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, and Jay Merkle, Executive Director of Unmanned Aircraft Systems for the US Federal Aviation Administration. The two were also joined by Mildred Troegeler, Director of Global Aerospace Integration for Boeing NeXt, and François Sillion, Uber’s Director of Advanced Technologies Research. This collaboration of regulators and future operators facilitated a productive session that must become a recurring theme if the industry is to progress toward a commercially viable and mature state.
Uber’s Sillion says that he has gleaned substantial insight on how the UAM industry will operate since the launch of Uber Copter in NYC in July of 2019. The program transports passengers to and from popular destinations around the Manhattan area, such as JFK, for a price comparable to an Uber car during rush hour, and at a fraction of the time. Uber Copter rivals BLADE, who launched a service that includes flights to and from all NYC airports starting in May of 2019. Sillion also appeared at the two-day conference to discuss the company’s search for additional airframer partners as it continues to prepare for commercialization via the Uber Air platform (read more here).
The major takeaways from the discussion married concerns from the perspectives of the regulators and operators, as well as of the general public. It is integral to the success of the aerial mobility industry that all societal impacts are mitigated, of which noise was the most emphasized. CAA’s Head of Aerospace Jon Round explained that it is only once vehicles are in operation that the technology will be accepted, and not before. However, a prerequisite to commercial operation is sufficient design and testing iterations in order to minimize noise and hone air traffic management technologies.
Why it’s important: The progress of the aerial mobility industry hinges on continuous meetings of this nature, where productive conversation can be had regarding the largest obstacles ahead. Farnborough International was pleased to see the impact of the inaugural Global Urban Air Summit, and plans to continue with the event going forward.
Source // Farnborough International