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Beta Ava XC eVTOL

Ava XC

First manned flight of the Beta Technologies Ava XC at Plattsburgh International Airport, Plattsburgh, New York, USA.

Beta Technologies Ava XC

Ava XC Beta Technologies, Inc. South Burlington, Vermont, USA Beta Technologies, founded by entrepreneur Kyle Clark, is developing an eVTOL aircraft; the technology demonstrator is dubbed the “Ava XC.” The company is one of several electric VTOL companies receiving funding from Martine Rothblatt’s United Therapeutics. Although had reported on articles in Fall 2018, Beta truly unveiled its vehicle, in Jan. 2019. Details on the technology demonstrator are limited. It has a classic airplane fuselage body, partially derived from the Lancair ES, and fixed wings from the LX7 by RDD Enterprises. Extending left and right from the nose, and aft between wings and tail, are four tilting co-axial propellers (for a total of eight). The control system is fly-by-wire requiring a pilot. The prototype can carry two passengers. The demonstrator began test-flying with hover flights at New York State’s Plattsburgh International Airport in May 2018 — just 10 months after the project started. It’s first manned free flight took place on June 22, 2018. It is now flying routinely and expanding the envelope for short take-offs. The company has made more than 170 flights as early Jan. 2019. The company is also constructing landing platforms on shipping containers that would supply battery packs for the vehicles. A network of charging stations would allow for longer-distance travel. They have also considered these platforms to have sleeping areas for the pilots. Beta Technologies states that they believe their 4,000 lb (1.8 metric ton) prototype is the largest electric plane by weight ever to fly. The aircraft has a 35 ft (10.7 m) wingspan and sits on an extended length landing gear to provide clearance for the tilting propellers. Beta’s marketing plan is to start with cargo and ultimately develop a six-passenger model. They intend to be the first company to make a cross-country eVTOL flight with the production version of Ava. According to VTDigger, “Under construction now in Beta’s company’s workshop is a craft that will be twice the size of the prototype, able to do twice the distance. It will have a wingspan of under 50 feet and will be able to fly 290 miles before recharging, Clark said. It’s due for its first flight in December 2019. He plans to create [air]craft used for cargo first, and then passenger craft.” Resources Search eVTOL news posts Beta Technologies website Article: Beta Technologies, a Vermont Air Taxi Start-Up, Might Be About to Change the Aviation World, by Eric Adams, The Drive, …

Beta Ava XC eVTOL

Electric VTOL for Organs on Demand

Electric VTOL for Organs on Demand United Therapeutics has big plans for the future of organ transplantation, and eVTOL aircraft are an integral part of its vision. By Elan Head Vertiflite Mar/Apr 2019 For many entrants in the race to develop electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, the speculative air taxi market is the prize at the end of the finish line — one that could someday yield orders for thousands of aircraft to ferry millions of passengers around congested cities. However, with numerous regulatory and social barriers standing in the way of that market — on top of the very real technological challenges associated with building and flying eVTOL aircraft — this type of on-demand urban air mobility (UAM) could take many years to come to fruition. But there are other potential applications for clean, quiet eVTOL aircraft that are driving innovation in the field. Notably, the biotech company United Therapeutics, under the leadership of CEO Martine Rothblatt, wants to use eVTOL aircraft to expeditiously transport manufactured human organs between its facilities and receiving hospitals. To that end, it is funding several eVTOL programs that together reflect an ambitious yet practical strategy for transitioning away from the fossil fuel-powered helicopters it uses to deliver organs today. “Ambitious yet practical” is a guiding philosophy for Rothblatt, who in the 1990s created a new market as the founder of Sirius satellite radio (now SiriusXM). She established United Therapeutics after her daughter was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension; the company proceeded to develop a new medicine to treat it. More recently, the United Therapeutics subsidiary Lung Biotechnology has pioneered innovative ways of restoring damaged donor lungs, and its “remanufactured” organs have been successfully transplanted into hundreds of patients. This is just the first step in realizing an ambition that, in its own way, is as radical as the vision for UAM. United Therapeutics is actively engaged in research related to xenotransplantation — the transplanting of animal organs into humans — which could dramatically increase the supply of available organs. Longer term, the company is also pursuing the 3D printing of organs, which it hopes will eventually lead to a world of “organs on demand.” As Rothblatt told a 2016 gathering of the Tesla Motors Club, “When you’re talking about not a few hundred organs, but hundreds of thousands or millions of organs, you are going to need a very large fleet …

Bell Nexus over Dallas, Texas

The eVTOL Industry in Transition

The eVTOL Industry in Transition In light of the watershed 6th Annual eVTOL Symposium, and recent news and events, Vertiflite assesses how the burgeoning industry is maturing. By Kenneth I. Swartz Vertiflite Mar/Apr 2019 In the five years since the Vertical Flight Society hosted its first “Transformative Vertical Flight Concepts Joint Workshop on Enabling New Flight Concepts through Novel Propulsion and Energy Architectures,” electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft have evolved from a wide-eyed futuristic concept into an emerging business within the global aerospace industry. This transition was especially apparent in early 2019 when several first-to-market eVTOL aircraft developers unveiled mockups, flew prototypes, announced strategic partnerships, unveiled new owners or released market surveys. Bell unveiled a mock-up of its Nexus hybrid-electric eVTOL at CES; Boeing’s Aurora Flight Sciences hovered its full-scale, twoseat Passenger Air Vehicle (PAV) eVTOL; Joby Aviation revealing performance targets for the five-seat S4 eVTOL that has been secretly flying for two years; XTI Aircraft unveiled its 65%-scale model of the TriFan 600; Beta Technologies opened up on its Ava XC test flights (see “Electric VTOL for Organs on Demand”); and Jaunt Air Mobility acquired the rights to Carter Aviation Technologies’ slowed rotor/compound (SR/C) design, including its eVTOL air taxi work. These five aircraft programs are led by engineers and technical teams that are fully aware of the challenges of VTOL aircraft design and development, including certification for private, business aviation and commercial use by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and their international counterparts. In fact, many of these eVTOL developers employ some of the original participants at the first VFS workshop in August 2014, while other attendees are now working for companies like Uber and plan to put the first eVTOL aircraft to work moving passengers by the early- to mid-2020s. Research & Development Historically, the aerospace industry has taken decades to develop successful new aircraft and air transportation modes in an evolutionary manner. Most step-changes in military and commercial aircraft capabilities can be attributed to advances in aircraft engine technology. For example, the development of the transformative Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey and Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II weapon systems were the culmination of decades of multi-billion dollar government and industry investments in disruptive technologies (including engines) designed to dramatically enhance military vertical flight capabilities. In contrast, the timing of today’s eVTOL revolution is driven by the convergence of electric motors, batteries, hybrid-engine technology, control …

eVTOL Corporate Directory

Listed below are 70+ Vertical Flight Society (VFS) corporate members which work in all aspects of eVTOL aircraft development (aircraft, software, engines, simulations, universities, etc.). Our corporate members have an unprecedented opportunity to network and engage with all levels of the rotorcraft technical community, including industry, academia and government. More than 100 VTOL companies and organizations have joined the Vertical Flight Society (VFS). Please go to to be part of the world’s largest organization supporting vertical flight technology. Aircraft Developers A³ by Airbus 225 W Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95113 Aircraft: Vahana Airbus Helicopters F-13725 Marignane Cedex, Aéroport International Marseille-Provence, France Aircraft: Airbus CityAirbus, Pop.Up Next Airspace Experience Technologies, LLC 11499 Conner Street, Detroit, Michigan 48213 USA Aircraft: AirspaceX MOBi Aurora Flight Sciences 9950 Wakeman Drive, Manassas, Virginia 20110 USA Aircraft: Aurora eVTOL AutoflightX GmbH Friedrichshafener Str. 1, Gilching 82205 Germany Aircraft: AutoFlightX BAT600 Bartini, Inc. 19421 Phil Lane, Cupertino, California 95014 USA Aircraft: Bartini Flying Car Bell 3255 Bell Flight Boulevard, Fort Worth, Texas 76118 USA Aircraft: Bell Nexus Beta Technologies, Inc. 265 Aviation Ave, South Burlington, Vermont 05403 USA Aircraft: Ava XC Carter Aviation Technologies, LLC 2730 Commerce Street, Suite 600, Wichita Falls, Texas 76301 USA Aircraft: Carter Aviation Air Taxi Kitty Hawk Corporation 2700 Broderick Way, Mountain View, California 94043 USA Aircraft: Kitty Hawk Cora, Kitty Hawk Flyer Jaunt Air Mobility, LLC Aircraft: Jaunt Joby Aviation 340 Woodpecker Ridge, Santa Cruz, California 95060 USA Aircraft: Joby S4 Karem Aircraft, Inc. 1 Capital Drive, Lake Forest, California 92630 USA Aircraft: Karem Butterfly Leonardo Helicopters 3050 Red Lion Road, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19114 USA Aircraft: AgustaWestland Project Zero (defunct) * Formerly AgustaWestland. LIFT Aircraft Inc. 3402 Mount Bonnell Road, Austin, Texas 78731 USA Aircraft: Hexa Lilium GmbH Gilching, Bavaria 82205 Germany Aircraft: Lilium Jet Neoptera Aero Ltd 24 Rock Lane, Stoke Gifford, Bristol BS348PF United Kingdom Aircraft: Neoptera eOpter NFT Inc. 4653 Table Mountain Drive, Golden, Colorado 80403 USA Aircraft: NFT ASKA eVTOL Piasecki Aircraft Corporation Second Street West, PO Box 360, Essington, Pennsylvania 19029-0360 USA Aircraft: Piasecki eVTOL Pipistrel Vertical Solutions d.o.o. Vipavska cesta 2, Ajdovscina 5270 Slovenia Aircraft: Pipistrel Sabrewing Aircraft Company, Inc. 275 Durley Avenue, Unit H-3, Hangar 2, Camarillo Airport, Camarillo, California 93010 USA Aircraft: Sabrewing Draco-2 UAS Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Company 6900 …

Early eVTOL Test Pilots

The earliest electric VTOL aircraft were initially flown by the inventors themselves. Here is a list of the earliest known successful manned eVTOL liftoffs and their pilots. First Flights of eVTOL Aircraft Aug. 4, 2011 Pascal Chretien Solution F Helicopter Venelles, France n/a Oct. 5, 2011 Marcus Leng SkyKar (Opener BlackFly) Rebel Warkworth, Canada C-IJQV Oct. 21, 2011 Thomas Senkel Volocopter VC1 Karlsruhe, Germany n/a March 19, 2018 Marcus Leng Opener BlackFly v2 Palo Alto, California, USA C-IKLT or C-IKLY Feb. 17, 2016 Philippe Antoine Aquinea Volta Castelnaudary, France F-WALG March 30, 2016 Alex Zosel Volocopter VC200 Karlsruhe, Germany D-MYVC Sept. 13, 2016 Ric Webb Tier 1 Electric Robinson R44 Los Alamitos, California, USA N3115T Early 2017 unknown Joby S4 Santa Cruz, California, USA N541JA 2017 Dr. Todd Reichert Kitty Hawk Flyer (prototype) unk, California, USA n/a Aug. 1, 2017 Bill Shoemaker Zee Aero Z-P2 Hollister, California, USA N102XZ Sept. 16, 2017 Boyan Zhelev Astro PassengerDrone (AA360) near Sofia, Bulgaria n/a Early 2018 unknown Kitty Hawk Flyer (production) unk, California, USA n/a Feb. 5, 2018 (1st public manned flight) unknown EHang 184 Guangzhou City, China n/a April 30, 2018 John Graber Workhorse SureFly Cincinnati, Ohio, USA N834LW 2018 unknown EHang 216 Guangzhou City, China n/a June 22, 2018 Kyle Clark Beta Technologies Ava XC Plattsburgh, NY, USA N802UT Nov. 1, 2018 Matt Chasen LIFT Aircraft Hexa Austin, Texas, USA? n/a red text indicates unknown or unconfirmed data Additional flights with pilots/passengers (not first flights) 2018 6 more pilots Opener BlackFly v2 Palo Alto, California, USA C-IKLT or C-IKLY Dec. 3, 2017 Brian Krzanich (Intel) Volocopter VC200 near Munich, Germany D-MYVC Late 2018 Justin Paines Joby S4 unk, California, USA N541JA 2017-2018 additional pilots Kitty Hawk Flyer (prototype) San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA n/a 2018-present Many Kitty Hawk Flyer (production) various n/a 2016-present Many EHang 184 various n/a 2018-present Many EHang 216 various n/a

eVTOL Aircraft by VFS Members

Listed below are Vertical Flight Society (VFS) corporate members which have developed or are developing eVTOL aircraft. Our corporate members have an unprecedented opportunity to network and engage with all levels of the rotorcraft technical community, including industry, academia and government. More than 100 VTOL companies and organizations have joined the Vertical Flight Society. Please go to to be part of the world’s largest organization supporting vertical flight technology.  A³ Vahana AgustaWestland Project Zero (defunct) Airbus CityAirbus AirspaceX MOBi Aurora eVTOL Aurora LightningStrike (defunct) AutoFlightX BAT600 (defunct) AutoFlightX V600 Bartini Flying Car Bell Air Taxi Bell Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) Beta Technologies Ava XC Boeing Cargo Aerial Vehicle Carter Air Taxi Jaunt Air Mobility Joby Lotus (defunct) Joby S2 (defunct) Joby S4 Karem Butterfly Kitty Hawk Cora Kitty Hawk Flyer Kitty Hawk Flyer (defunct prototype) LIFT Hexa Lilium Jet Neoptera eOpter NFT AKSA Piasecki Air Scout Piasecki eVTOL Piasecki PA-890 Pipistrel (unnamed) Pop.Up Next Rolls-Royce EVTOL Sabrewing Draco-2 UAS Sabrewing RHAEGAL UAS Sikorsky Firefly (defunct) Sikorsky VERT Terrafugia TF-2 Lift + Push Terrafugia TF-2 Tiltrotor Terrafugia TF-X Transcend Air Vy 400 Urban Aeronautics CityHawk Vertical Aerospace Volocopter 2X Volocopter VC1/VC2 (defunct prototypes) Volocopter VC200 XTI Aircraft TriFan 600 Zee Aero Z-P2 Zenith Altitude EOPA Don’t see your company on this list? Join as a corporate member!

Hoversurf Formula eVTOL Airtaxi - May 2019.

Hoversurf Formula (No wing)

FormulaHoversurfMoscow, Russia / Burlingame, California, Hoversurf revealed on Facebook, May 8, 2019, a redesigned Formula eVTOL which holds one (1) passenger. While Hoversurf does not refer to their newly redesigned Formula as their Second Version or 2.0, we are making the distinction of (No wing) for clarity. A noticeable difference in this new design are larger but fewer electric ducted fans (EDF) for vertical lift and two larger EDFs mounted on either side of the aircraft for forward flight. As of now, there is no wing for this redesigned aircraft with the exception of a possible longer flying version which is briefly noted on their website. Hoversurf cites the advantages of their new eVTOL aircraft as “Convenience, Safety and Speed.” The aircraft will have the ability to land in a normal parking space and thus postulating their aircraft will have an earlier entry into the market place than those aircraft requiring landing and take-off infrastructure which is currently unavailable. Formula is just the beginning in a new line of vehicles and services Hoversurf will break into. ATaaS – Air Transportation as a Service to the public. Flying Taxis are here and we will make our mark once again. Their patented Venturi engine allows them to eliminate typical airplane propellers and create a quiet aircraft, its engines featuring a noise-canceling effect. The aircraft is not a helicopter or an airplane but combines the best of both designs. They’ve stated their aircraft includes the most advanced ballistic parachute for emergency situations created by BRS Aerospace, for emergency situations. The Venturi Engine has allowed us to jump years ahead, moving away from open propellers. Our compact and efficient new engine gives us the ability to create compact and safe vehicles for the future of transportation. No helipads, no runways, just your average parking spot. They have designed this aircraft to be least complicated as possible by having stationary fans for lift and stationary fans for forward flight. Emphasizing that other aircraft using fans for both lift and forward flight, that is, fans which tilt multiple times throughout the life of the aircraft, could cause needless mechanical problems and potentially create a safety hazard for its passengers. By having stationary fans, it greatly reduces future potential mechanical problems creating a much safer aircraft. It’s maximum distance is 300 km (186 miles), maximum speed will be 250 km/h (155 miles) and the maximum flight …

Flying Solo: GoFly Advances Single-Passenger Air Mobility Solutions

Flying Solo: GoFly Advances Single-Passenger Air Mobility Solutions By Nicolas Zart Vertiflite, May/June 2019 GoFly has awarded five teams $50,000 each toward their efforts to develop personal flying devices. The $2M GoFly Prize competition has completed its second phase and has so far received more interest than ever imagined. The idea to fund safe and innovative designs for a personal flying machine was a longtime dream for Gwen Lighter and she worked for years to get it started, including getting help from the Vertical Flight Society and other experts (see “AHS Supports GoFly!,” Vertiflite, Nov/Dec 2017). Lighter admits she was also the kind of kid who would make crazy contraptions and jump out of trees to see if they could fly. After working on the idea with interested parties (she presented the competition at the VFS Second Annual Transformative Vertical Flight Workshop in August 2015), she finally found the grand sponsor in The Boeing Company — as well as the support of 21 international aerospace and engineering organizations — to make the GoFly Prize a reality. Phase I was announced on Sept. 26, 2017. In the end, this two-year, three-phase, $2M competition sponsored by Boeing has attracted more than 3,500 innovators and 824 teams from 103 countries across the globe. From this, 31 teams across 16 countries submitted entries for Phase II and the GoFly Prize announced the winners on March 26. The aim of GoFly is to push the safety envelope for an urban air mobility (UAM) flying device by rethinking vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, which must be designed to carry a single rider 20 miles (32 km) without refueling or recharging at 30 kt (56 km/h) or faster. GoFly chose to limit the aircraft design with a maximum dimension of no more than 8.5 ft (2.6 m) with a noise level less than 85 dBA, measured 50 ft (15 m) away. Phase I emphasized the design and technical capabilities, while Phase II and III are the actual building phases. The development of and better access to technologies for stability and control, propulsion, lightweight materials, energy storage, and rapid prototyping are making this a closer reality than previously thought. GoFly announced its 10 Phase I award recipients on June 14, 2018, with each winning team receiving $20,000 to support their efforts and encourage others to invest (see “GoFly Enters Phase II,” Vertiflite, July/August 2018). Four of the …

The full-scale mock-up of the Bell Nexus sparked the imagination of Heli-Expo attendees for the potential of eVTOL. (VFS photo)

Bell Nexus Partners Connect

Bell Nexus Partners Connect By Kenneth I. Swartz Vertiflite May/June 2019 Bell and its partners talk about its Nexus eVTOL and the team’s approach to creating a revolutionary new type of aircraft. As its name suggests, the Bell Nexus hybrid-electric VTOL is all about making connections. From a development perspective, Bell has leveraged the capabilities of five leading aerospace companies to develop the Nexus in a collaborative, imaginative and exciting way. At Heli-Expo, executives from Bell and four of its partners shared a stage to talk about their collaboration on a panel that was moderated by Elan Head from Vertical magazine. Capable Believers When Bell set out to find partners to help develop the Nexus, “I was looking for capable believers [that were] capable of generating an aviation-grade, safe, high-quality productionized vehicle [and] had to be fearless with us, believe in the future of vertical lift,” said Scott Drennan, vice president of innovation at Bell. The five key Nexus partners include Safran, Thales, Garmin, Moog and Electric Power Systems (EPS) employing teams based in the US, Canada and France. In this collaboration, Safran will provide the hybrid-electric propulsion systems; Thales will lead the flight controls system; Garmin will integrate the avionics and the vehicle management computer (VMC) systems; Moog will lead the design and development of the flight control actuation systems; and EPS will provide the energy storage systems. Safran began ground testing a 100 MW hybrid-electric propulsion system driving four propellers in July 2018 at a test facility near Pau-Pyrenees Airport in France. Engineers are now developing an affordable 600 kW hybrid system for the Nexus. The Hybrid-Electric Propulsion System (HEPS) is the result of a close collaboration between several subsidiaries of Safran, including Safran Helicopter Engines (formerly Turbomeca), Safran Electrical & Power (ex-Labinal), and Safran Power Units (previously Microturbo). Thales is providing the Nexus fly-by-wire (FBW) flight control systems. The company’s FBW expertise spans more 35 years and 10,000 aircraft. Thales avionics can also be found on the several helicopters, including the Airbus Tiger HAD, Boeing Chinook, Leonardo AW109 and AW159 Wildcat, NH90, and Sikorsky S-76D and UH-60V. Garmin will lead the design, development and production of the avionics hardware and software needed for the Nexus’ piloted and autonomous vehicle management, including primary flight information, navigation/communication, flight guidance and flight management systems. Garmin introduced the G1000H integrated flight deck on the 407GX, 407GXP and 407GXi and the fully integrated …