Eviation’s Founder and former CEO and Joby’s former Executive Joined Autoflight

On 5 October 2022 Autoflight, the eVTOL startup headquartered in Shanghai, annouced that they launched the business and operation center in California, USA, and welcome Omer Bay-Yohay, the founder and former CEO of Eviation the electric airplane startup from Israel, and Chad Cashin, the former head of business development of Joby the eVTOL company, to join Autoflight.

Omer Bay-Yohay (right) and Chad Cashin (left)

Omer Bay-Yohay (right) is designated as the global president of Autoflight and Chad Cashin (left) the chief commercial officer.

Omer Bay-Yohay is a veteran in electric aviation. He founded Eviation in Israel which designed and produced “Alice” an 11-seat pure electric airplane prototype. Omer Bay-Yohay left the CEO position at Eviation while remaining on board before “Alice” prototype made the first flight last week.

In January this year Autoflight set up a research, development and certification center in Augsburg, Germany, and declared that they would apply for EASA certification of their V1500M 4-seat eVTOL. The former head of Airbus EC135 and H145 projects Mark Henning joined as the head of Autoflight Europe. For more details: https://news.e-flight-journal.com/?p=626

Autoflight is test flying V1500M 4-seat eVTOL as well as a unmanned cargo conversion. The company plans to start the EASA certification process of the V1500M in 2022, and to obtain the EASA type certification in 2025. They also plan to establish more demo flight sites and conduct more demo flights in Europe. for more deails: https://news.e-flight-journal.com/?p=811, https://news.e-flight-journal.com/?p=960

Autoflight’s V1500M four-seat eVTOL in test flight

Last November German Investor Lukasz Gadowski invested $100 million USD in Autoflight. Mr. Gadowski is a serial entrepreneur and startup investor who invests with his Berlin-based company Team Global in startups with a focus on eMobility on the ground and in the air. In eVTOL domain Mr. Gadowski has also invested in Volocopter and Archer. for more details: https://news.e-flight-journal.com/?p=587

Electric-converted Sling Airplane Made the First Public Flight

On 30 September 2022 an electric airplane called e-Sling designed and produced by students at ETH Zurich made another test flight which for the first time media were on site.

The airplane is converted from a Sling TSI four-seat kitplane. About 20 students participated in the project to equip the airplane with an electric motor and modular battery packs in the wings.

An electric motor with maximum power of 110 kW and a continuous output of 75 kW is similar in power to the 104 kW Rotax 915 iS that it replaces.The Rotax variant can reach speeds of up to 148 knots and has a range of around 800 nautical miles. For the e-Sling a cruise speed of 90 knots and a range of 110 nautical miles are projected.

The e-Sling took off from Dübendorf Airport for the first time on September 19th. The flight test program is a joint effort by the Experimental Aviation of Switzerland (EAS) and, because of the electric drive, also by the Federal Office for Civil Aviation (FOCA).

The project website: https://e-sling.com/

Wisk Unveiled Four-seat eVTOL Intended for Type Certificate

On 3 Oct. 2022 Wisk, the joint-venture between Boeing and Kitty Hawk founded by Google founder Larry Page, unveiled their latest eVTOL design which, according to the company, is their 6th generation eVTOL design.

The model, which is for now simpled called “generation 6”, is four-seat, fully electric powered, has tilt-rotor configuration with total of 12 propellors 6 of which on the leading edge can tilt for both vertical takeoff and landing as well as cruise while the other 6 propellors on the trailing edge are in fixed position for lift purpose only. The configuration is obviously a divert from their current Cora two-seat demonstrator which has lift+cruise configuration.

An important feature of the design is that it continues the autonomous flight control principle of all Kitty Hakw/Wisk designs. That means that all four seats are for passengers and there will be no pilot nor operator on board.

Wisk plans to apply for type certificate for Generation 6.

The specification of the Wisk’s Generation 6:

  • Cruising Altitude: 2500 – 4000 feet above ground level
  • Dimensions: <50 foot wingspan
  • Range: 90 miles (with reserves) / 144 kilometers
  • Cruising Speed: 110-120 knots
  • Charge Time: 15 minutes

For an illustration of the operation concept of Generation 6, Wisk presents this video:

Autoflight Applied Type Certificate for Large Cargo eVTOL

Shanghai-headquartered eVTOL startup Autoflight annouced today that the Chinese regulator CAAC accepted the type certificate application of its V2000CG “Carryall” eVTOL cargo drone.

The model has 2 metric ton maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) with 500kg cargo payload, is fully electrically powered, making its the largest cargo eVTOL applying for type certificate in China.

The model has the lift+cruise configuration with 8 lifting propellor and 1 cruising propellor. The model is a cargo conversion of Autoflight’s “Prosperity” 4-seat passenger-carrying eVTOL design which has 1.5 metric ton MTOW.

According to the trial regulation of special-class UAV operation in the form of Advisory Circular (AC) published by CAAC in 2021, UAV with MTOW over 25kg requires airworthness certification with the exemption of spraying drones for argriculatural use (flying altitude limited to 30 meters).

Eviation’s “Alice” 11-seat Prototype Made First Flight

On 27 September 2022 “Alice” electric commuter prototype designed and produced by Eviation, the electric commuter airplane startup, tooke off for the first time from Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Washington, USA. The first flight happened in early morning and lasted about 8 minutes at 3700 feet.

Alice is designed to carry 9 passengers and two pilots in short-haul commuter configuration, 6 passengers in VIP executive cabine configuration and can carry up to 1.1 ton in cargo configuration with 7.5 ton gross weight. Eviation says that Alice will reach 500 miles (800 kilometers) at 400km per hour.

Alice prototype’s maiden flight. photo courtesy: Eviation

Eviation first unveiled Alice full-size mockup at Paris Airshow in 2019, but the company changed the design and revealed the new design in Jule 2021. Eviation expects to receive Part 23 certificate from FAA in 2025 and begins delivery to customers which have piled up over 130 orders with different configurations.

Kittyhawk is to wind down

Kittyhawk, the eVTOL startup company that Google founder Larry Page founded in 2011, announced on its social media that it will “wind down.” Though it is a vague message, this post was soon interpreted that Kittyhawk is shutting down.

On one hand, the message does indicate that Kittyhawk will cease operation. Over the years, Kittyhawk has certainly established its status as the pioneer and leading player in the eVTOL and electric aviation community by designing and test flying six generations of eVTOL demonstrators which, by conventional wisdom of aviation, is a very impressive outcome.

Heaviside tilt-rotor eVTOL demonstrator is currently the only project of Kittyhawk

On another hand,it may make good sense from business perspective for Kittyhawk to concentrate resources on Cora, the eVTOL project which was spun off in 2019 from Kittyhawk to form a joint venture called Wisk with Boeing which invested in $450 millions this year.After all Wisk has publicly announced that it will unveil the four-seat Cora new design in October which will apply for certification and finally be intended for commercial operation. Compared with Cora, Kittyhawk has canceled the Part 103 ultralight category Flyer single-seat eVTOL in 2020 and currently only has Heaviside single-seat eVTOL demonstrator in hand which the company does not specify a clear goal of development.  

Wisk, the joint venture between Kittyhawk and Boeing, is currently test flying a two-seat lift and cruise eVTOL demonstrator Cora and is going to unveil a four-seat new design intended for certification in October

Regardless of the final fate of Kittyhawk, there is no doubt that it has left a deep dent in eVTOL history with its efforts and aircraft and will see its legency carried on in Wisk.

Chinese eVTOL Startup Volant Unveiled Full-scale Prototype

The Chinese eVTOL startup Volant Aerotech today revealed the full-scale prototype of their five-seat (one pilot and four passengers) eVTOL VE25 X1 which has “lift+cruise” configuration with four lift propellors and two pusher propellors for cruise.

Volant Aerotech was founded in Shanghai in mid-2021 by a group of aviation veterans from COMAC (the Chinese equivalent of Boeing and Airbus) and another Chinese eVTOL startup Autoflight as well as the Chinese subsidiaries of Airbus, GE, Honeywell and Collins. The company test flew a 1/3 sub-scale demonstrator in September 2021. The company raised seed fund in “millions” USD and closed pre-A series fundraising in June this year over 100 millions RMB (15 millions USD).

Geely Unveiled 5-seat eVTOL Prototype

Aerofugia, the aviation subsidiary of Geely Auto unveiled their TF-2 eVTOL full size prototype which has 5-seat and tilt rotor configuration.

it appears that the four rear rotor/props are in fixed position for lift and two of the four front rotor/props are tilt for lift and cruise and there’s another pusher prop in the rear dedicated for cruise. Aerofugia plans to make the first flight by the year end.

Geely is the owner of Terrafugia and an equity investor of Volocopter and formed a joint-venture in China with Volocopter in Sep. 2021.

Volkswagen China Unveiled eVTOL Design

Today at Sunward Aircraft’s factory in Hunan province, China, Volkswagen China’s CEO Dr.Stephan Wöllenstein unveiled the full-size mockup of their eVTOL design named “V.Mo”.

According to VW China, the design will build on existing autonomous driving solutions and battery technology to create zero-emission mobility. The prototype is a lift+cruise configuration with a length of 11.2 meters and a wingspan of 10.6 meters, eight propellors dedicated to vertical take-off and landing and two propellers for horizontal propulsion.

VW China developed the design together with Sunward Aircraft which is the largest producer of light sport airplane (LSA) in China with over 100 sales per year and is also producing small helicopter and multicopter unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)

Sunward’s SA60L “Aurora” light sport airplane

VW China intends to further optimize the design, and plans to test fly a demonstrator in the second half of this year, and to test fly the improved prototype at the end of summer 2023. This pure electric, fully autonomous flying eVTOL aircraft will eventually be able to carry four passengers and luggage for up to 200 kilometers range.

Volkswagen China To Unveil eVTOL Design

On 27 July 2022 Volkswagen’s Chinese subsidiary will unveil their eVTOL design. VW China released a short teaser video today for the event.

VW China has been studying eVTOL project for a while. According to the teaser video, it seems that the design is a lift+cruise configuration with a canard. It is said in the Chinese eVTOL community that VW China partners with a Chinese light airplane manufactuer for this eVTOL development. What’s VW China’s plan for this eVTOL? We will keep you updated when more details are available.