Airbus Eyes Urban Air Mobility With Next-Generation eVTOL

The electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) market has just taken a significant turn. With this industry yet…

Airbus Eyes Urban Air Mobility With Next-Generation eVTOL

The electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) market has just taken a significant turn. With this industry yet to fully take off, Airbus proudly announced a new all-electric multicopter at its facilities in Toulouse today.

eVTOL is expected revitalize urban air travel and Airbus wants a slice of the pie with CityAirbus NextGen. Photo: Airbus

A major player

Airbus previously launched CityAirbus, a demonstrator that concentrates on progressing remotely piloted eVTOLs. On May 3rd, 2019, the CityAirbus conducted its first unmanned flight in a massive step forward for the program. Now, just over two years later, Airbus has announced a new version of the eVTOL.

Simple Flying was in attendance when the company shared details of the new vehicle. The announcement was made at the Airbus Summit, and Pioneering Sustainable Aerospace was the theme of the event.

Altogether, with a core focus on reducing emissions and operating sustainably, it’s not a surprise that Airbus is keen to scale up its efforts in the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market. There have been plenty of firms putting their name in the hat to be a leader in this next generation of travel. With Airbus being a powerhouse across the aviation spectrum, we can expect that it will hold a strong presence in this field.

The next level

Airbus already experimented with the initial CityAirbus and even its Vahana, which conducted its first flight on January 31st, 2019. However, the company has adapted its VTOL requirements over the years to introduce CityAirbus NextGen.

The next-generation design is far sleeker than the predecessor’s build (pictured). Photo: Sumit Singh | Simple Flying

The program’s leadership explained that with the technology involved still developing and the industry still in its infancy, it’s logical to adjust at an early stage. The project will evolve as the tech matures. Airbus added it has learned important lessons from the test campaigns with the two existing demonstrators. Subsequently, CityAirbus NextGen brings the best of both worlds with a new twist.

“We are on a quest to co-create an entirely new market that sustainably integrates urban air mobility into the cities while addressing environmental and social concerns,” Airbus Helicopters CEO Bruno Even stated.

“Airbus is convinced that the real challenges are as much about urban integration, public acceptance, and automated air traffic management, as about vehicle technology and business models. We build on all of the capabilities to deliver a safe, sustainable, and fully integrated service to society.”

CityAirbus NextGen eVTOL
Fitted with a V-shaped tail and fixed wings, the eight propellor-CityAirbus NextGen will bring sound levels lower than 65 dB(A) during fly-over and under 70 dB(A) when landing. Photo: Airbus

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Looking ahead

There are high hopes for the prototype. The vehicle is currently being designed and its first flight is targeted for 2023. Additionally, certification is expected to take place in approximately four years.

Designed to transport four passengers with zero emissions, CityAirbus NextGen is set to connect the public to their destinations within a range of up to 80 km (43 NM) and will reach a cruise speed of 120 km/h (75 mph).

It’s not only city slickers in large metropolises that are expected to benefit from the program. Airbus noted that it hopes to help the likes of emergency service providers access hard-to-reach areas with the aircraft.

Airlines around the world will undoubtedly be keeping a close eye on the project. There are plenty of future operators of this sort of aircraft. For instance, Azul recently shared that it wants to operate 220 eVTOLs around Brazil.

Overall, Airbus wants to “make the dream of personal flight a reality.” Additionally, the aviation industry has committed itself to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. With these two ambitions in mind, the CityAirbus NextGen could provide the perfect balance for Airbus in the UAM scene.

What are your thoughts about CityAirbus NextGen? What do you make of Airbus’ efforts in the eVOTL field? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

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GOL Orders 250 Electric Flying Taxis From Lessor Avolon

The Brazilian carrier GOL Linhas Aereas announced a partnership with Avolon, the leasing company, to commercialize an electric…

GOL Orders 250 Electric Flying Taxis From Lessor Avolon

The Brazilian carrier GOL Linhas Aereas announced a partnership with Avolon, the leasing company, to commercialize an electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) ride-sharing platform in Brazil. This is the third alliance of the sort taking place in the South American country, following the Azul-Lilium and Embraer-Flapper deals. Let’s investigate further.

GOL, Avolon, and Vertical Aerospace will introduce the eVTOL technology in Brazil. Photo: Avolon

An order of 250 eVTOL aircraft

Today, Avolon, GOL, and Grupo Comporte announced their collaboration to “identify and target local partners, infrastructure and certification requirements across a range of commercial models.” They expect to launch one of the world’s first eVTOL ride-sharing businesses.

GOL has committed to purchase or lease up to 250 VA-X4 eVTOL aircraft manufactured by Vertical Aerospace. Brazilian companies have announced their intentions to buy more than 500 eVTOL flying taxis in the last few months.

Azul wants to operate 220 eVTOL aircraft around Brazil with Lilium. Meanwhile, Embraer and Flapper signed a collaboration to have a fleet of up to 25 flying taxis across Latin America. We wrote about the subject in Simple Flying en Español. And now, there’s the GOL-Avolon-Vertical Aerospace agreement.

Brazil is one of the most fertile markets for the eVTOL market in the next decade. It has gigantic cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro that could benefit from on-demand eVTOL services.

Regarding GOL’s latest purchase, Stephen Fitzpatrick, Vertical Aerospace CEO, commented,

“The VA-X4 is ideal for a city like São Paulo with a population of over 22 million people. Our eVTOLs will transform how we travel around high population density cities that are clogged with traffic by taking to the skies with zero-emission aircraft.”

Dómhnal Slattery, Avolon’s CEO, added,

“GOL’s unparalleled market access, coupled with our deep knowledge and relationships in the Brazilian aviation market, leaves us strongly positioned to capitalize on the expected demand for ultra-short-haul transport.

Lilium Azul
Lilium and Azul have similar plans. Photo: Lilium

Vertical Aerospace orders

Vertical Aerospace is one of the most exciting eVTOL companies at the moment. In June 2021, both American Airlines and Virgin Atlantic signed deals to acquire up to 250 and 150 eVTOL aircraft, respectively. Following American Airlines’ enhanced partnership with GOL (including a US$200 million investment), it is not surprising to see the Brazilian airline inking up a deal of its own.

Additionally, Avolon signed a ground-breaking order for up to 500 VA-X4 aircraft. The order has a price of approximately US$2 billion, the company said in a statement. Half of this order has been placed with GOL.

The VA-X4 “will be the most advanced and safest eVTOL in the market on its introduction in 2024,” said Avolon in a statement.

Vertical Aerospace Virgin Atlantic
The VA-X4 already has some interesting clients: American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, GOL, and Avolon. Photo: Virgin Atlantic

The VA-X4

According to Vertical Aerospace, the VA-X4 is a piloted eVTOL vehicle, completely electric. It will be capable of traveling over 200 miles per hour, with a range of over 100 miles. Additionally, it will have the capacity to carry four passengers and a pilot.

Finally, its vertical landing and take-off capabilities will allow the VA-X4 to operate in and out of cities and other confined locations. Additionally, it will be 100 times quieter and safer than a helicopter, said the company.

Are you excited about the eVTOL future in Latin America? Let us know in the comments below.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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