Welcome another electric vertical take-off & landing (eVTOL) startup in the urban air mobility world, Jaunt Air Mobility, which has caught the attention of Uber Elevate.
You might not have heard yet of Jaunt Air Mobility, but the young startup was founded by Kaydon Stanzione, a New Jersey engineer and entrepreneur. But don’t rush to the Jaunt Air Mobility site. There isn’t much to see yet, which leads me to think this could be one of those smart startups that puts all of its money into development away from public excitement.
Jaunt Air Mobility just acquired another startup, Carter Aviation Technologies, which is an “aerospace research and development firm that developed and demonstrated Slowed-Rotor/Compound (SR/C™) technology that couples 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.”
Carter Aviation Technologies was founded in 1994 by engineer Jay Carter Jr., himself no stranger to aerospace, as he was involved in the design of the Bell XV-15 tiltrotor. SR/C technology is not new, though, and was developed by NASA (also see this link).
This startup caught the attention of Mark Moore, director of engineering for Uber Elevate, according to Rotor & Wings. Moore said that the startup could have the backing of Uber Elevate should it get venture capital funding, high praise for a startup.
Uber Elevate is partnering with 5 notable companies — Bell, Boeing‘s Aurora Flight Sciences, Embraer, Karem Aircraft Co., and Pipistrel. All are developing fixed-wing electric or hybrid-electric aircraft with distributed propulsion and control systems. Jaunt Air Mobility could become the 6th partner, according to the R&WI report of statements at the Vertical Flight Society’s 6th Annual eVTOL symposium,
Who’s Afraid of eVTOL Noise? Not Jaunt Air Mobility’s eVTOL Aircraft
There is a lot of concern about the potential noise pollution of eVTOL aircraft. However, Moore said he was excited about Jaunt Air Mobility’s acoustics signature. The low-disc loading (the ratio of its weight to the total main rotor disc area) and tip speeds of the SR/C technology’s blades hold a lot of potential for urban residents worried about UAM noise levels. In the past, high noise levels contributed to many vertiports closing. They were mostly used by helicopters, an aircraft design that is much louder than those using duct fans.
The Air Jaunt Mobility electric eVTOL will cruise at 175 mph and hold 5 passengers, according to Carter Aviation Technologies. What makes the SR/C special is not having rotors on the wing. This gives it a higher lift-to-drag ratio, while the tilting mast provides more stability, passenger comfort, and high inertia rotors with autorotation landings, according to SR/C proponents.
Autorotation is what makes helicopters safe to fly. The common misconception is that if a failure happens in a helicopter, it drops like a brick drop in mid-air. But the air pushing through the rotor produces enough lift to (ideally) land safely — though, not always.
Indeed, so far, the use of parachutes with modern eVTOL designs is not discussed much publicly. It seems it will become a popular topic as soon as eVTOL aircraft reach a high level of popularity.
In the meantime, welcome another contender in the young eVTOL industry. Will it bring future urban air mobility closer to our reach.