The Chinese civil aviation regulator CAAC accepted the application of Shanghai-headquartered Autoflight for the airworthiness certification of their V400 “Albatross” cargo eVTOL. The certification will be under large-category unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which is defined by CAAC to be over 25kg gross weight.
This is the 3rd eVTOL model applying for CAAC’s UAV certification. Interestingly the first two models Ehang 216 and Xpeng Huitian X2 are both designed and intended for passenger carrying operation.
V400 is pure electric, has 400kg gross weight and 100kg payload capacity. Autoflight is founded by electric aviation veteran Tian Yu who has designed and produced several electric fixed wing airplanes including E430 two-seat ultralight which obtained flight permit from German ultralight regulation entity DULV.
EHang Holdings Limited revealed its new eVTOL design “VT-30”, the first in EHang’s product suite that is designed for inter-city transportation. With a hybrid structure, VT-30 is designed to travel a distance of up to 300km with a designed flight time of up to 100 minutes and is designed for air mobility solutions for inter-city travel. As EHang’s long-range flagship product, VT-30 will complement EH216, a product focusing on intra-city air mobility, to further expand the air transportation network and improve the future urban air mobility (“UAM”) ecosystem.
So far, VT-30 has conducted vertical take-off and landing, power system and other tests. Moving forward, EHang will continue to conduct various tests and optimizations under different environment conditions, while continuously improving AAV safety and stability, with the goal of accelerating long-distance AAVs to be used in various scenarios such as air commuting, aerial sightseeing, and aerial logistics.
Volocopter today unveiled VoloConnect four-seat eVTOL design with lift surfaces which have been rumored for a while. VoloConnect is designed to work as an extension of the two-seat VoloCity in multicopter configuration. VoloConnect is intended to connect the city and suburbs and for intra-city air mobility while the shorter-ranged VoloCity is mainly for inter-city air mobility use case.
VoloConnect has design goals of maximum speed 250km/h, cruising speed 180km/h, range 100km and up to 400kg payload.
for more information: https://www.volocopter.com/solutions/voloconnect/
On 21 April 2021 Aerofugia, the aerospace subsidiary wholly owned by Geely and the holder of Geely’s equity in Terrafugia and Volocopter, announced a partnership with Wolong Group, a major electric motor supplier in the global market. In the announcement the two recognize the fast development and the significance of electric aviation and will leverage their technical resources to jointly explore the opportunities in electric aviation. They plan to develop, produce and commercialize a cargo drone within three years.
Aerofugia was formally formed in Chengdu, China two years ago to consolidate the aerospace assets and projects of Geely including Terrafugia flying car and industrial UAV.
Wolong Group was founded in 1984 with over fifty first-level subsidiaries, more than 18.000 employees, total assets of 4.9 billion USD, and annual sales of 5.4billion USD in 2019.
On 12 April 2021 Amazilia Aerospace, SF Express’ subsidiary in Munich Germany, announced that it will partner with Pipistrel to accelerate the development of commercial large scale UAV operation. Amazilia Aerospace will deliver an advanced digital flight control and vehicle management system for an innovative VTOL cargo drone designed and manufactured by Pipistrel.
SF Express is China’s leading integrated logistics provider. SF Express pursues a VTOL aircraft capable of service in the environment of remote and isolated areas. The aircraft will be able to lift more than 300 kg of cargo in a 2.3m³ volume space over a range of 500km with cruising altitudes up to 6000m and VTOL capability up to 2500m above sea level. Pipistrel specifically designed the aircraft to meet these demanding conditions.The aircraft will be equipped with 8 vertical-lift packages each consisting of a Pipistrel E-811 EASA Type certified powered rotor with highly efficient and redundant battery packs that assure safe operation even if 2 rotors are inoperative. The aircraft design and component production of the prototype will be carried out in Pipistrel facilities.
The aircraft prototype is scheduled to undergo flight testing with the Amazilia Aerospace system in Europe followed by operational validation in China starting in 2022. By 2023, SF Express intends to deploy the HVTOL cargo drone fleet in their domestic and non-domestic business operations.
According to LI Dongqi, SF EXPRESS VP & SF UAS Chairman, SF Express alone will need more than 1000 such cargo drone in the next 10 years.
for further information: https://www.amazilia-aerospace.de/newsroom/amazilia-aerospace-and-pipistrel-to-develop-heavy-cargo-hybrid-vtol-drone-for-sf-express/
EHang Holdings Limited today announced to partner with an Italian architecture firm Giancarlo Zema Design Group (GZDG) to extend its air mobility solutions in the EU.
GZDG has designed and will build an eco-sustainable vertiport in Italy. The vertiport will use green design and construction materials, and can generate energy to recharge the EH216 eVTOL.
Inspired by the native African tree Baobab, GZDG came up with the natural Baobab design: a 30-meter-high tower, with a steel and laminated wood structure, a waiting room, a café, a 200-square-meter panoramic restaurant and connecting lift. The take off-and-landing platform will be set on the roof terrace. The vertiport is built with non-slip photovoltaic panels that can generate over 300 KW of electric power per day. The platform will have fully independent plug-and-play charging infrastructures that can be used to recharge EHang’s eVTOL.
With the Baobab vertiport, EHang and GZDG aim to enter the emerging global eco-tourism sector, with multiple projects being planned in Europe and Southeast Asia.
The Giancarlo Zema Design Group is an innovative architecture practice in Rome, specialized in smart eco-sustainable projects, semi submerged architectural structures, floating habitats, yacht and interior design. Founded in 2001 by the architect Giancarlo Zema as a dynamic and flexible organization, it covers the entire design process, from concept to the executive details. For more information, please visit www.giancarlozema.com.
Today Rolls-Royce annouced that they and the Italian airframer Tecnam are joining forces with Widerøe – the largest regional airline in Scandinavia, to deliver an all-electric passenger aircraft for the commuter market, ready for revenue service in 2026.
The project expands on the successful research programme between Rolls-Royce and Widerøe on sustainable aviation and the existing partnership between Rolls-Royce and Tecnam on powering the all-electric P-Volt aircraft.
Norway has been a spearhead force in electric aviation. Stein Nilsen, Chief Executive, Widerøe said: “Norway’s extensive network of short take-off and landing airports is ideal for zero emissions technologies. This aircraft shows how quickly new technology can and will be developed, and that we are on track with our ambition of flying with zero emissions around 2025.”
The programme will look to cover all elements of developing and delivering an all-electric passenger aircraft that could be used in the Norwegian market from 2026. Due to its topography, Norway makes extensive use of aviation for regional connectivity and has an ambition for all domestic flights to be zero emissions by 2040. Rolls-Royce will bring its expertise in propulsion and power systems, Tecnam will provide aircraft design, manufacturing and certification capabilities. Widerøe’s mission will be to ensure that all competence and requirements of an airline operator are in place for entry into service in 2026.
Joby Aviation has spent more than a decade developing piloted, all-electric, vertical takeoff and landing passenger aircraft, with over 1,000 test flights conducted to date. Intends to operate clean, quiet and affordable air taxi service starting in 2024. First company to agree certification basis for an eVTOL aircraft with FAA. First company to be granted airworthiness approval for an eVTOL aircraft by U.S. Air Force. Joby has strategic partnership with Toyota for production and recently acquired Uber ElevateTransaction values combined company at $6.6 billion post-money equity value, and is expected to provide approximately $1.6 billion in gross proceeds
Full press release: https://www.jobyaviation.com/news/joby-aviation-to-list-on-nyse-through-merger-with-reinvent-technology-partners/
firt flying video of Joby eVTOL:
CEO and Founder, JoeBen Bevirt introduced the company vision. Note the takeoff noise at the end of the video:
Today the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC, ARJ21 & C919 jet manufacturer)’s Beijing Research Center unveiled the fuel cell-powered eVTOL prototype. Official press release not yet published. Will update when new information come out. A 50% sub-scale model has flown for a while.
Lilium’s founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand recently had an interview with a German newspaper “Frankfurter Allgemeine”. Daniel revealed quite some interesting information in this interview such as their product development plan and fund raising situation and IPO plan. The link is in German but you can use google translate to read it: