Beginning on July 9, Uber Copter plans to supplement BLADE’s continuous helicopter service between NYC and JFK with its own urban air mobility initiative. Uber’s newest service plans to provide passengers with on-demand flights between Lower Manhattan and Kennedy International Airport. In contrast to BLADE’s service, Uber will initially offer their service only to Platinum or Diamond members of Uber Rewards, the...
Uber’s newest service plans to provide passengers with on-demand flights between Lower Manhattan and Kennedy International Airport. In contrast to BLADE’s service, Uber will initially offer their service only to Platinum or Diamond members of Uber Rewards, the airlines-style rewards program the company launched last year. Members will be able to hail rides on-demand, or up to five days in advance. Each flight will include travel by car to the helipad in Manhattan.
Uber advertises that the service will come at a price around $200-$225 and aims to get passengers from Manhattan to JFK in 30 minutes or less total trip time. The helicopter ride itself is estimated at only eight minutes. Compared to the 1-2 hours it could take to drive or take a taxi from Manhattan to JFK, this is a huge time saver for those willing to spend the money. The service is predominantly marketed extremely wealthy individuals and business travelers, given the $200 price per seat.
The Uber Copters will have space for a maximum of five passengers, but only allow one personal item and one carry-on per passenger. This will not be an issue for people already traveling without checked bags, and is similar to the current offering from BLADE. Uber Copter will be marginally more expensive than BLADE’s advertised price of $195, but still offers a competitive rate.
Why it’s important: Uber Copter is setting up its operational infrastructure for eVTOL operation, but will use traditional helicopters as the technology continues to be developed. The company’s entry into the NYC urban air mobility market marks the second large company to do so – after BLADE Urban Air Mobility – and will set the stage for when eVTOL technology is ready to enter service.
Kaydon Stanzione, a New Jersey engineer and entrepreneur, and the founder of Jaunt Air Mobility, has been quietly developing his company with little to no media presence. This has been a trend with other rising eVTOL companies such as Beta Technologies, where focus has been placed almost exclusively on development, for a leaner – and possibly quicker – road to...
Kaydon Stanzione, a New Jersey engineer and entrepreneur, and the founder of Jaunt Air Mobility, has been quietly developing his company with little to no media presence. This has been a trend with other rising eVTOL companies such as Beta Technologies, where focus has been placed almost exclusively on development, for a leaner – and possibly quicker – road to their goal.
For Jaunt Air Mobility, their goal is to “couple the speed, range and efficiency of an airplane with the vertical takeoff and landing capability of a helicopter along with the unparalleled safety of a high inertia rotor.” To do this, Jaunt has already acquired Carter Aviation Technologies, “aerospace research and development firm that developed and demonstrated Slowed-Rotor/Compound (SR/C™) technology”. Carter has been around since its founding in 1994, and has since flown demonstrators such as the Carter Copter and Passenger Air Vehicle (PAV), which can be seen in the video below.
Carter Aviation Technologies, and their new-founded collaboration with Jaunt Air Mobility, has caught the eye of Mark Moore, director of engineering at Uber Elevate. Currently, Uber Elevate has partnered with 5 companies which are all developing their take on fixed-wing electric or hybrid-electric aircraft with distributed propulsion and control systems. Jaunt Air Mobility could be the sixth company to partner with Uber Elevate given if it receives venture capital funding, and would be the first of the partners to incorporate Slowed-Rotor/Compound technology in their design.
Additionally, since the Jaunt aircraft design combines that of a helicopter and a traditional fixed-wing aircraft, it employs the use of autorotation, which is what makes helicopters safe to fly. The company touts this as an advantage of its aircraft because the air pushing through the large, horizontal rotor ideally produces enough lift to safely land the vehicle. This contrasts other eVTOL designs which would rely on safety mechanisms such as parachutes if the aircraft were to require an rapid-descent landing.
Carter Copter, a Carter Aviation Technologies demonstrator
Why its important: Jaunt Air Mobility’s hybrid design approach includes important safety features of a high inertia rotor which could enable the aircraft to be a widespread commercially viable option. Since Uber Elevate would likely be transporting high volumes of passengers daily, they would need to prove both to the passengers and regulatory agencies that the vehicles they are operating are safe and have reliable safety measures. This, coupled with receiving venture capital funding, could make Jaunt a viable partner for Uber Elevate in the near future.