There are some images circulating on the Chinese social media which are claimed to be the patent application of HT Aero for a roadable eVTOL flying car, i.e. a vehicle with both driving and flying functions.
The design in the images appears to be a tilt-rotor configuration with wings. There is no further detail about the folding mechanism.
HT Aero is an eVTOL startup based in Guangzhou, China. HT Aero was acquired by the Chinese electric car company Xpeng in 2020 and revealed a design concept of a roadable eVTOL flying car last year as shown below. HT Aero plans to begin sale of this flying car in 2024 for a projected price tag of one million RMB (157,000 USD or 143,000 euro)
On 22 March 2021 the Japanese eVTOL startup SkyDrive and Suzuki Motor Corporation jointly announced a partnership for the commercialization of the eVTOL developed by SkyDrive.
SkyDrive and Suzuki will start consideration to collaborate in areas of business and technology that include technology R&D, planning of manufacturing and mass-production systems, development of overseas markets with an initial focus on India which is the major market for Suzuki Motor, and promotion of efforts to attain carbon neutrality.
SkyDrive was founded in 2018. The companay has been test flying its SD-03 single-seat multicopter eVTOL prototype since at least 2020 and aims to begin air taxi service during the 2025 World Exposition in Osaka, Japan, as well as to initiate service in other regions of Japan.
In Japan, the Public-Private Council for Air Mobility Revolution was established in 2018 with meetings held since then. The project is expected to lead to taxi services in urban areas, new means of transportation for remote islands and mountainous areas, and emergency transportation in times of disaster. A roadmap has been formulated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT) for the start of business in 2023 and full-scale deployment in 2030.
Whisper Aero, the electric aviation startup founded by the eVTOL veteran and former exectutive of Uber Elevate Mark Moore, unveiled their first product at the Heli-Expo in Dallas, US–an electric drone named “Whisper Drone”.
The Tennessee-based company said the the drone is designed to be very quite and highly efficient, is intended for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) use, and has finished validation testing for the Pentagon. Based on validation testing, the US Air Force has awarded Whisper Aero two contracts totaling $1.5 million to further the project development. The company did not yet specify any further details of the drone.
Mark Moore set up Whisper Aero in 2020 to pursue ultra-quiet and efficient electric propulsion for aviation use. Besides Whisper Drone, the company is developing Whisper Jet, a regional electric airplane. The company has raised at least $7.5 millions USD according to public report before winning the research contracts of the US Air Force this time.
AutoFlight today announced the successful completion of the transition test flight of the proof-of-concept eVTOL prototype named “Prosperity I” , in which the aircraft switches from a vertical take-off motion to the more energy efficient, horizontal flight and back to vertical flight, before landing. The successful transition test flight was achieved in January 2022. The unmanned flight, which took place at Autoflight flight test area in JiangSu province, China with CEO Tian Yu, the R&D team and 40 AutoFlight staff present, while Prosperity I rose to an altitude of 150 meters at speeds of up to 123 mph (196km/h).
Footage of the transition test flight:
Prosperity I was designed for short transfers between parts of a city, airport commutes, connecting two nearby cities or enabling trips to the countryside while avoiding traffic on the ground. Autoflight expect it to be ready for commercial flight in 2025.
A ‘transition’ is when an aircraft moves from a vertical to horizontal motion and is one of the most challenging parts of an eVTOL flight. Vertical flight for the proof of concept for Prosperity I required eight rotors to lift the 3,307 pounds, including four-person, state-of-the-art electric aircraft into the air. Once the aircraft reached an altitude of 150 meters and the airspeed of 100-110mph the fixed wing part of the eVTOL generated lift. At this point, Prosperity I entered the complex transition phase – the rotors on the top stopped spinning and locked in a streamlined position, whilst the propellers on the rear pushed the aircraft forward like a traditional fixed wing plane.
AutoFlight CEO Tian Yu, who has over two decades of experience designing and building electric aircraft, and 300 electric aviation-related patents, said:
“The team and I are thrilled to have cracked the smooth transition phase of eVTOL flight, unlocking the skies for Prosperity I and our commercial products. We were confident we had a good design underpinned by sound engineering, and delighted to see that the transition was smooth, safe and seamless.”
Mark Henning, Managing Director of AutoFlight Europe said:
“Achieving a smooth transition phase in record time, from prototype to flight. Underlines the caliber of the engineering team we have at AutoFlight and gives great confidence as we progress into the development phase and layout plans for our first manned aircraft, the Prosperity I. The simplicity of AutoFlight’s design lies in our patented ‘Lift and Cruise’ configuration, which combines superior range and safety with low technical complexity, making it affordable to manufacture, maintain and operate as an air taxi.”
The milestone is the latest of significant recent developments for AutoFlight including the establishment of a European base in Augsburg, Germany, the appointment of Mark Henning (formerly of Airbus) as its European Managing Director, as well as $100 million investment from next-generation mobility investor Team Global.
The Tecnam P2010H3PS parallel hybrid electric powered airplane, developed jointly by Tecnam, Rolls Royce and Rotax, made the first flight on December 21st, 2021, at precisely 3:54 pm CET. The Permit to Fly was issued by ENAC, the Italian Civil Aviation Authority.
This is the first General Aviation aircraft with a parallel hybrid configuration to take flight.
The flight was performed by Tecnam’s Chief Experimental Test Pilot Lorenzo De Stefano, with Tecnam, Rolls-Royce and Rotax Teams on the ground assisting in this historic moment.
Tecnam P2010 H3PS is powered by a 104kW Rotax 915 IS engine coupled with a 30kW Rolls-Royce electric motor, totaling 134kW (180hp) powertrain in a fully integrated parallel hybrid configuration. As such, this four-seat aircraft is first of its kind.
H3PS, which stands for “High Power High Scalability Aircraft Hybrid Powertrain”, is a project funded under the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. Launched in 2018, the project has reached its objectives. With H3PS’ success, Tecnam Aircraft and project partners have validated the aircraft’s scalability potential, lower emissions, state of the art power management technology, building a viable launchpad for future green aircraft models.
On 14 Feburary 2021 the founder and former CEO of Eviation Aircraft Omer Bar-Yohay annouced that he is “stepping down from my position as CEO after a long-standing disagreement with the company’s main shareholder.”
Eviation has been developing the full electric-powered 9-seat “Alice” commuter electric airplane which began high speed taxiing test and is planned to make the first flight later this year.
It is noteworthy that the former chairman of Eviation and the founder and former CEO of MagniX Roei Ganzarski has also left the position in both companies last month. Both Eviation and MagniX have the major shareholder of Singapore-based Clermont Group.
The Transformative Vertical Flight 2022 meeting, organized by Vertical Flight Society (VFS), will take place Jan. 25-27, 2022 in San Jose, California, with an “air taxi” aircraft display on Friday, Jan. 28.
The meeting this year includes two events:
Aeromechanics for Advanced Vertical Flight which provides a forum for technical paper presentations on emerging aeromechanics challenges and solution methods for future vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, encompassing dynamics, aerodynamics, acoustics and flight mechanics.
9th Annual Electric VTOL Symposium which includes invited presentations from leaders in this exciting field. This event is an excellent opportunity to learn about and discuss the latest advancements in eVTOL, and the challenges that still remain. Willi Tacke from Flying Pages GmbH will present the update of eVTOL policymaking and market development in Europe and Asia on Jan. 25.
As the current epidemic situation is still severe and complicated, the organizer of AERO ASIA decide to reschedule AERO Asia from March 2-5, 2022 in Zhuhai China to November, 2023 in Zhuhai, China.
AERO Asia is the leading Business and General Aviation show for China and Asia, and is the result of the enduring efforts of two successful and experienced aviation trade shows: AERO in Friedrichshafen, Germany and Airshow China in Zhuhai, China. AERO in Friedrichshafen, Germany, is the world’s leading general aviation business show with over 40 years of experience. Airshow China is China’s biggest airshow since 1996 which has become one of the leading airshows in the world.
AERO ASIA is more than just a trade show. It sees itself as a central platform for general aviation in China, as a positive booster in market development, as well as as a showcase for innovation and new technologies such as electric aviation and eVTOL. The show is looking forward to its first session in November 2023 in Zhuhai, China.
Shanghai-based eVTOL startup Autoflight annouced today that they have set up a reseasrch, development and certification center in Augsburg, Germany, and will 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.
Autoflight plans to start the EASA certification process of the V1500M eVTOL 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.
Mr. Henning has 26 years of experience in the aviation industry. A graduate of the Technical University of Munich, he started his career at the German aerospace company DASA, holding managerial positions at the European aerospace defense group EADS and the European helicopter company Eurocopter. Before joining Autoflight, he worked in Airbus Group, and served as the head of EC135 and H145 helicopter programs, as well as project management, strategy, production and R&D positions, and participated in many large-scale fixed-wing and helicopter R&D and manufacturing projects.
More information in an exclusive Interview with Mark Henning the next issue of e-flight-Journal later this week.
On 30 December 2021 the Chinese regulator CAAC published the special conditions (SC) of the lithium batteries for light sports airplane (LSA). CAAC states in the document that since there is no technical requirement for lithium batteries in ASTM F2840-14 technical standard for LSA, this SC is . The SC is necessary for the certification of electric LSA.
RX1E, RX1E-A and the float plane model RX1E-S are the three electric LSA models certified by CAAC employing this SC which may also be the basis for the ongoing Part23 RX4E four-seat electric airplane certification.