The great thing about air events is that airplanes can come from far away. The not so great thing is that if the event is far, you too have to travel to it. But this year’s 2018 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh was well worth the travel, as it attempted to show a clearer picture of our near future mobility.
eVTOL Aircraft, Air Taxis, and ePlanes Becoming Popular Terms
Drones, going beyond their military origins, have reached almost every form of aerial transportation. It’s fresh new target: reopening the door to personal air mobility.
The Black Fly is a personal air mobility vehicle from Opener we covered a little while ago. It is now fully qualified via FAA Part 103 as an ultralight air mobility vehicle and is thus limited to 62 mph (100 km/h or 53 knots), with a range of 25 miles (40 km). Its maximum performance is higher than that. Opener is intelligently marketing its Black Fly, via Plane & Pilot magazine, as a fun aerial mobility device which needs no special pilot license.
We covered the Kitty Hawk Flyer eVTOL flight recently, and the Kitty Hawk team is now inviting certain press members to test fly the Flyer in Nevada. This eVTOL aircraft is also a certified (FAR) Part 103 ultralight aircraft. Hey, Kitty Hawk team, you know we live in Los Angeles, don’t you?
Following our Rolls Royce air taxi story last month, we learned that Aston Martin has now partnered with the company for its Volante, a luxury autonomous aircraft (AV). The idea piggybacks on the Rolls-Royce eVTOL platform and shows that the companies are aiming to tackle our future mobility needs.
There was also excellent news from the Sun Flyer team, with a release stating the company received another 20 orders from the Spartan College training school (h/t FlyingMag). Essentially, Bye Aerospace announced that a Siemens electric motor is powering its electric two-seat Sun Flyer 2 proof of concept. The 90 kW (115 hp) electric motor propels it to 135 knots (155 mph).
If you know how expensive operating an airplane is, hang on to how much it is for the Sun Flyer 2 — $3 an hour for electricity. Pipistrel also estimates the cost of flying its electric plane is $3 an hour, and the total operating cost would be $25 an hour — far, far below most airplanes.
Lastly, you may recall our Aero Verdego e-plane story that we ran a while back. The company has just announced a radical shift in strategy. It will now focus on leveraging its ability with hybrid powertrains, electric aerospace propulsion, and altitude control of VTOL aircraft for the new Urban Air Mobility market that is developing. We say, congratulations!
Not bad for a summer 2018 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh!
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