The Aurora eVTOL is a venture headed by John Langford, who's company Aurora Flight Sciences was acquired by Boeing in November of 2017. The AFS eVTOL is similar in design to the Kitty Hawk Cora, as it utilizes vertical lift propellors for takeoff and landing and transitions to forward flight using a single pusher propellor. While no prototypes have been released yet, Aurora has substantial resources, support, and backing by its new found big brother.
Stage of Development
- Aurora’s eVTOL aircraft will provide on-demand transportation to minimize long commutes due to heavy traffic and urbanization in populated areas.
- The infrastructure plan includes urban “vertiports” for passenger boarding and vehicle servicing.
- eVTOL aircraft will operate a “hub-to-hub” service between designated vertiports.
- The first test bed flights are scheduled to begin in 2020 in Dallas, Texas, USA and Dubai, The United Arab Emirates.
- The eVTOL aircraft includes eight lift rotors for vertical takeoff and cruise propeller and wing to transition to high-speed forward cruise.
- At destination hub, the aircraft transitions back to rotor-borne flight for vertical landing.
- Fully electric operation decreases or eliminates emissions and noise pollution for a quieter flight.
- While initially operated with a safety pilot, the eVTOL aircraft is designed for fully autonomous operations.
- The flight capability for eVTOL aircraft is three times more efficient than a multi-copter aircraft.
- The eVTOL will be used for short-haul transport of passengers or cargo.
- Current configuration allows for two passengers including the pilot plus luggage.
- Offerings will include specific configuration options to address mission requirements for civil and military operations.
Our Take on Aurora
Aurora Flight Sciences is unique - it is a medium size company, with around 470 employees, and has substantial backing from other players in the aerospace industry. Furthermore, Aurora has completed a number of other theoretical and physical design projects, including autonomous, novel flight control, and novel configuration - all components that require mastery and experience in to successfully design a competitive eVTOL. While the full scale prototype has not been tested yet, a 1/4 scale proof of concept has, and it confirmed that Aurora's direction and design mentality were correct moving forward.
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