In Vahana’s latest test flight, the vehicle exhibits the capabilities of its tilting wing, transitioning from vertical take-off to horizontal flight.
The above video comes from Zach Lovering, project executive for Vahana at A³. The Vahana takes off vertically, tilts its wings for transition into horizontal flight, stops, turns around, and lands. The aircraft flies for 7 minutes at speeds up to 57mph, and altitudes of up to 210 feet.
In a recent Vahana blog post, Lovering mentions that these flights are for testing flight controls, navigation, failure detection, and noise mitigation. While the full-scale model has flown 50 test flights, the sub-scale version has flown 1,277 flights. The full-scale version made its first test flight on January 31st, 2018.
In the last few months, many top aircraft manufacturers have released vehicle footage to the public. Most recently Boeing showed its ‘Personal Air Vehicle’ (developed in collaboration Boeing’s subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences) taking off, hovering, and landing autonomously. Bell Helicopter brought the ‘Nexus Air Taxi’ to CES 2019 last month, where fans got the chance to sit in the vehicle itself.
Airbus has made progress in of many aspects of Urban Air Mobility, having recently released the blueprint for Airbus Altiscope, an airspace management system, and a small-scale prototype of its Pop.Up Next vehicle in collaboration with Audi. While it’s yet unclear whether Airbus will pursue one of these avenues or all of them, the company has certainly staked its claim on air taxis with the Vahana’s latest test video.
Why it’s important: With the release of the latest Vahana flight video featuring the aircraft in flight for 7 mins at speeds up to 57mph, Airbus marks its place among the recent flood of prototype videos released by major companies like Boeing and Bell Helicopter. The video features the Vahana transitioning from vertical to horizontal flight, which Boeing has named as, ‘typically the most significant engineering challenge for any high-speed VTOL aircraft’.
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Source // Airbus Vahana Blog, Boeing Technology Blog