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Workhorse SureFly

SureFly Workhorse Loveland, Ohio, USA workhorse.com First flight of the Workhorse SureFly “electric helicopter” was made on Monday, April 30, 2018 at the Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio. The flight was a 10 second untethered hover. This was the world’s first manned flight of a hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft. Initially the concept was planned to fly at CES2018, after tether testing in Jan. 2018. The company further announced that on June 1, 2018, the US Federal Aviation Administration had accepted the company’s application for type certification. The company notes “the SureFly design appears to be the first hybrid-electric eVTOL multi-copter to reach this important milestone with the FAA.” According to the Workhorse website: “SureFly is a personal helicopter/VTOL aircraft designed for safe and easy flight. With eight independent motors each driving a single carbon fiber propeller, a backup battery power system, and a ballistic parachute to safely land in the event of emergency, the SureFly provides unparalleled safety for a personal aircraft.” The company announced the program in a press release on May 31, 2017, stating: “It features a gas combustion engine generating electricity and a parallel battery pack offering a redundant backup power source, eliminates the need for long battery charging periods between flights. SureFly is designed to be easy to operate, and is expected to be capable of carrying two passengers up to 70 miles.” The aircraft was displayed at the Paris Air Show in June 2017 and AirVenture in July 2017, as well as CES 2018 in January 2018. The SureFly is expected to sell for less than $200,000 each. Specifications: Vertical take off and landing Electric Driven Props: 2 props per arm, counter-rotating. Eight motors, each driving a single propeller Piloted Vehicle designed to carry pilot and passenger or pilot and cargo Gasoline Piston Engine drives dual generators to provide power to prop motors Dual Lithium Battery Packs: 7.5 kWh each, used for emergency landing power (5 minutes) in the event the gasoline generator fails Full computer and electrical system redudancy Ballistic Parachute Fuselage and props are carbon fiber for durability and light weight Fix Prop Pitch and no transitional parts (No wings, tail, tilt rotor or tilt wings) for simplicity and safety Onboard GPS navigation system Static ports and a heated pitot tube for altimeter and air speed measurements Detect-and-avoid sensors Maximum flight distance: 70 miles 70 mph (60 kt or 113 km/h) top speed One hour of flight time available per tank of gasoline Flight ceiling of 4,000 ft (1200 m). Curb Weight: 1100 lb. (500 kg) Max Takeoff Weight: 1500 lb (680 kg) Maximum payload: 400 pounds Battery backup system with max theoretical battery power of 20.8 amp hours 200 hp (150 kW) at 6,000 RPM aviation gasoline engine (premium unleaded 90 octane gasoline) Resources: Search eVTOL news posts Press release: SureFly Hybrid Electric Manned Multi-Copter Enters FAA Type Certification Process, Workhorse, June 6, 2018 Press release: Reinventing the Helicopter After 78 Years: Workhorse Group Inc. Will Unveil SureFly™ Concept at Paris Air Show, May 31, 2017 …

Wingless (Multicopter)

Wingless (Multicopter) No thruster for cruise – only for lift. Airbus Helicopters CityAirbus Alauda Airspeeder Astro AA360 (“Passenger Drone”) Avianovations Hepard Boeing Cargo Aerial Vehicle Cartivator SkyDrive chAIR Multicopter Dekatone (unnamed) EHang 184 EHang 216 Jetpack Aviation(unnamed) Kármán XK-1 Kenyan Passenger Drone Kitty Hawk Flyer PAV-UL Ultralight PAVX Up Next Skypod Aerospace Skypod Sky-Hopper Swarm Multicopter Volocopter 2X Volocopter VC200 VRCO NeoXCraft Workhorse SureFly Not what you’re looking for? Check out all eVTOL

The eVTOL is in the Details

The eVTOL is in the Details The AHS International Transformative Vertical Flight meeting looks at the payoffs and challenges of electric vertical takeoff and landing. By Frank Colucci Vertiflite, March/April 2018   All 61 technical papers from the TVF conference are now available in the AHS Vertical Flight Library and can be purchased individually or as part of the proceedings CD-ROM. The conference and workshop plenary presentation videos and PDFs can also be downloaded for free at www.vtol.org/TVF-2018. A packed house at January’s AHS International Transformative Vertical Flight Technical Meeting and Fifth Annual Workshop learned about bold visions for urban air taxis and the challenges of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL). Four days of presentations hosted by the AHS San Francisco Bay Area Chapter covered aeromechanics, propulsion, acoustics, infrastructure and certification advances aimed largely at airborne mass transit. The new rotorcraft suggested for moving people over clogged streets include multicopters, tiltrotors, tilt wings and ducted fans, nearly all designed around Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP). AHS International executive director and workshop program chair Mike Hirschberg observed, “Really, transformative flight is [largely] about DEP and the design freedom that it enables.” Big Picture Technical papers addressed analytical tools applicable to the new vehicles and their missions, and the aeromechanics of coaxial rotors, optimized tilt rotors, cycloidal rotors, and other configurations. With the full title of the conference being the “Aeromechanics Design for Transformative Vertical Flight Technical Meeting,” not all the technical papers dealt with eVTOL platforms. Byung-Young Min from Sikorsky presented information about propeller performance in the wake of the S-97 Raider. The integrated pusher propeller at the tail of the high-speed compound helicopter ingests both the main rotor wake and fuselage boundary layer. Wind tunnel tests showed the Boundary Layer Ingested (BLI) propeller increased body drag but enhanced propeller efficiency. The net benefit is about 10% more thrust — important for the agile armed scout helicopter. Other San Francisco technical papers included tools to optimize the length of shrouded rotor ducts and the relative performance of variable-pitch versus variable-speed propellers for quadcopter control. Distributed Electric Propulsion nevertheless plays heavily in the Uber Elevate ecosystem of urban air taxis, vertiports (or “SkyPorts” in Uber parlance) and supporting infrastructure that dominated the eVTOL discussion. Uber Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden noted that urban centers will be home to six billion people in 20 years and told his AHS dinner audience, “The way people move in and around cities is not keeping up.” Aviation specialists working for the ground ride-sharing giant told the AHS audience how hundreds of thousands of flights a day by eVTOL aircraft will unload choked highways and make cities more productive. Their vision centers on battery-powered, four-passenger aircraft with multiple small propellers to transition from vertical flight to horizontal flight. Networked air taxis will follow sky corridors from one rooftop vertiport to another at altitudes less than 1,500 ft (450 m) and speeds of 150 mph (240 km/h) and greater. Human pilots eventually give way to autonomous flight controls, and another paying passenger will …

Aviation Comes to the Consumer at CES 2018

Aviation Comes to the Consumer at CES 2018 By Mike Hirschberg, AHS International Executive Director Vertiflite, March/April 2018 The Consumer Technology Association’s CES 2018 (formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show) took place Jan. 9–12, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Key themes at the largest technology exhibition in the world included the promise of 5G, smart cities, smart homes, vehicle technology, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality and technologies for consumers’ increasingly connected lives. Well over 170,000 attendees from 150 countries visited some of the nearly 4,000 exhibitors showcasing technologies, spanning more than 2.75 million ft2 (255,000 m2) of exhibit space, the largest in CES history. There were more than two dozen themed exhibit areas on topics such as 3D printing, internet of things infrastructure, self-driving technology and drones. Even NASA exhibited at CES with a sizeable booth explaining the benefits of its aeronautics and astronautics missions. Notably, however, three first-time exhibitors displayed concepts for passenger-carrying electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Bell Air Taxi Drone maker EHang brought CES to the attention of the aviation world with the debut of its single-seat EHang 184 passenger-carrying octocopter in January 2016, and displayed it again in 2017 (though not this time). Bell Helicopter made its debut this year as the first major helicopter manufacturer to exhibit at CES. The company reported that more than 7,000 attendees, journalists and VIPs put on virtual reality headsets and experienced the Bell Air Taxi virtual concept, with thousands more just visiting the Bell booth. The future of urban air taxi is closer than many people realize,” stated Bell Helicopter’s president and CEO Mitch Snyder. “We believe in the positive impact our design will have on addressing transportation concerns in cities worldwide.” The Bell Air Taxi augmented-reality simulator offered a selection of cross-city day and night trips as possible consumer scenarios. The experience highlighted the opportunities in immersing passengers with the ability to sync into a “fully integrated user experience control center, where they can catch up on world news, hold a video conference call, share documents with other passengers or simply unplug from the noisy world below in a comfortable, relaxing space.” Bell refused to make any comments about the propulsion system, though past graphics suggest that Bell is considering multiple tilting ducted rotors or propellers. Bell Director of Innovation Scott Drennan did acknowledge that the Bell Air Taxi would use hybrid-electric power initially and for longer-range applications, but eventually would be powered solely by batteries once that technology advanced sufficiently. Bell chose CES to unveil the fuselage and passenger experience of its eVTOL air taxi — which it is developing in partnership with Uber’s Elevate initiative — to gain feedback from potential riders. “The four-passenger cabin demonstrates Bell’s view of an on-demand mobility aircraft that focuses on a people-first engineered user experience tailored with an urban air taxi ride,” Bell announced. SureFly Cincinnati, Ohio-based Workhorse Group, a technology transportation company known for its electric-powered delivery and utility vehicles, announced in December that it …

Turning Volts to VTOL

Turning Volts to VTOL The motors that propel and control electric vertical flight pose design, integration and certification challenges. By Frank Colucci Vertiflite, Jan/Feb, 2018 The AHS website on manned electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft — www.eVTOL.news — catalogs more than 40 separate aircraft designs currently under development around the world. Nearly all of them leverage the promise of distributed electric propulsion (DEP) — using multiple electric motors, each one spinning a simple propeller, to generate thrust with the goal of making a new generation of aircraft that is efficient, quiet and safe. Eighteen brushless DC motors driving fixed-pitch propellers arrayed on a lattice ring powered the Volocopter VC200 air taxi during demonstrations this past September in Dubai. Thirty-six motors turning fans in a ducted wing and canard powered the electric Lilium Jet flown last April near Munich. The hybrid-electric VerdeGo Personal Air Taxi 200 — still in design — uses eight motors to drive cyclic pitch prop-rotors on tilting fore and aft wings; the Daytona Beach, Florida, developer expects to fly a sub-scale demonstrator with commercial motors in 2018. But currently available electric motors are proving inadequate for the needs of eVTOL propulsion, and innovators are having to design their own. According to research engineer Dr. Steven Daniel at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Eagle Flight Research Center, “Off-the-shelf motors are generally okay for non-optimized designs. Unfortunately, if you’re talking about a VTOL where you’re trying to get the most endurance out of the batteries, you want an optimized design. It needs to be built at the systems level.” eVTOL systems integrating motors, rotors and controllers with power generation, storage and distribution also have to be certified safe by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and international regulators. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) formed the Electric Propulsion & Innovation Committee (EPIC) in 2016 to hammer out ground rules for fixed-wing and rotary-wing electric aircraft. The 47-member committee brings together manufacturers and government agencies to talk about electric flight regulations. “The new, simplified Part 23 regulations allow us to certify all-electric [fixed-wing] aircraft up to 19 passengers, 19,000 lb [8,600 kg],” said GAMA vice president of global innovation and policy Greg Bowles. , “There is ongoing work with the FAA and other key authorities to determine if we can apply Part 23 regulations to eVTOL aircraft with specific VTOL issues addressed with standards dedicated to VTOL differences. Optimally, within the GAMA EPIC, we are working to develop a globally coordinated path for the certification of eVTOL very quickly.” DEP provides new alternatives to traditional helicopters (see “Lift Where You Need It,” Vertiflite, Nov/Dec 2016). However, innovative eVTOL configurations without helicopter autorotation raise new safety issues for certification. The Airbus Helicopters CityAirbus eVTOL uses four pairs of motors driving four pairs of ducted propellers. The Workhorse SureFly hybrid electric octocopter unveiled at the Paris Air Show last June has eight motor and propellers paired on four lifting booms for redundancy.  and adds a vehicle parachute for emergency landings, as do …

Uber Flying Taxis in Dubai

Is 2020 Really Possible? (sidebar)

Is 2020 Really Possible? Sidebars to From the Ground Up: Uber Elevate in 2020 Uber said that by the time flight demonstration programs begin in 2020, they will have to validate that they have mitigated the three biggest risks: efficient flights (airspace acceptance), noise (community acceptance) and safety (passenger acceptance). Note that Uber is not funding the development of the aircraft, but is helping to facilitate connections between investors and developers. Once the companies prove their products can operate within the Elevate network and meet the performance and economic requirements, Uber said it would be ready to put its money down and guarantee production volumes and revenues to justify the certification expense. To make the Uber Elevate vision a reality, the flight demonstrations to begin in 2020 will require: Demonstrator aircraft: More than two dozen organizations are currently researching electric and hybrid-electric eVTOL concepts. At least six are currently conducting full-scale flight tests, while several others are completing their aircraft or flying subscale models. Vertiport infrastructure: Uber is working with charging companies like ChargePoint, as well as Hillwood Properties, one of the largest private real estate developers and investors in the US, to establish vertiports at company-owned sites to conduct the tests with distributed nodes around Dallas-Ft. Worth. Similar efforts are underway for Dubai. Airspace: A key aspect of the Elevate ecosystem is the ability to seamlessly operate in Class B airspace. With high-speed, very quiet aircraft, Uber believes eVTOL aircraft will be able to operate in well-defined corridors linking the vertiports, and avoid the airspace restrictions imposed on ad hoc helicopter operations today. Regulations / Certification: The FAA is considering fixed-wing aircraft that take off vertically to be governed under Part 23 as small aircraft. Uber said it hopes that the new eVTOL aircraft can be certified by 2023, but that it has other ways to test the Elevate network before then. In August 2017, the FAA introduced fundamental changes to Part 23 light aircraft certification rules that are designed to facilitate innovation and reduce certification costs. And EASA recently introduced “proportionality” for light aircraft, where manufacturers are allowed to build up to 10 aircraft prior to certification. The FAA is also considering this approach. Pilots or Autonomy: Uber said it plans to fly piloted aircraft for the first five years or so to guarantee safety and develop a database of safe operations in wide-ranging conditions. For this, Uber may need tens of thousands of pilots. The company is working with groups to hire pilots with prior military aviation experience. eVTOL Companies The following electric VTOL aircraft are known to be under development. These include aircraft for a wide range of missions, not just applicable for Uber’s Elevate mission. Winged (updated Aug. 19, 2017) A³ Vahana AirspaceX MOBi Aurora Flight Sciences eVTOL Aurora Flight Sciences LightningStrike Bell Helicopter (unnamed) Carter Aviation/Mooney CarterCopter DeLorean Aerospace DR-7 Flexcraft (unnamed) HopFlyt (unnamed) HoverSurf Drone Taxi R-1 JAXA Hornisse 2B Joby Aviation S4 Lilium Jet Pipistrel (unnamed) Terrafugia TF-X XTI Aircraft Trifan 600 Zee Aero Z-P1 Wingless (updated Aug. 19, 2017) Airbus Helicopters CityAirbus Bartini …

Innovation in the Parisian Summer: Paris Air Show 2017 Report

Innovation in the Parisian Summer: Paris Air Show 2017 Report The 52nd International Paris Air Show took place once again at Le Bourget International Airport on June 19-25. Military and civil helicopters were supplemented with innovative approaches to vertical flight. By Ian Frain Vertiflite, Sept-Oct 2017 The aviation industry descended on the beautiful French capital once again over a very hot June, with air temperatures reaching above 95°F (35°C). This year saw not just current rotorcraft, but also future vertical flight innovations, particularly from American, French and Turkish industrial participants. Entente Cordiale The French procurement and technology agency responsible for weapon systems program management — Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA, Directorate General of Armaments) — exhibited rotary-wing assets at the front of the show from all three arms: the Armée de l’Air (air force), Aviation Légère Armée de Terre (ALAT, army aviation) and Marine Nationale (navy). There was a pair of Tigre HAD attack helicopters (formerly designated EC665) present at the show, including one used for the flying demonstration. The Armée de l’Air was represented by its H225M Caracal combat search and rescue (CSAR) helicopter (formerly EC725); the Caracal is expected to remain in service for another decade in the Armée de l’Air. The Marine Nationale had its NH90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) Caïman in its anti-submarine warfare (ASW) configuration and armed with a torpedo. In addition, HeliDax exhibited its Airbus Helicopters H120 Calliope training helicopter (formerly its EC120B). HeliDax provides rotary-wing flight training to all branches of the French armed forces, plus the French Douanes (Customs) and Sécurité Civile (Civil Defense), and other parapublic agencies. The company is owned 50/50 by INAER Helicopter France and Défense Conseil International (DCI). Further away from the main exhibition was the ALAT NH90 TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) Caïman in the NHIndustries chalet. This, along with the Tigre, were the only rotorcraft to perform during the daily flying displays. High-Speed and Unmanned Airbus Innovations Airbus Helicopters exhibited its latest products, which included the H135 Helionix demonstrator, the corporate H130 and the military H145M with various weapons systems. The newest addition to the company’s product line is the VSR700 unmanned rotorcraft. The VSR700 is derived from Hélicoptères Guimbal’s Cabri G2 two-seat light helicopter; hence, the development of the VSR700 is between both Airbus Helicopters and Guimbal. The autonomous flight trials are being carried out with a safety pilot on board. The VSR700 weighs 1,675 lb (760 kg), flies at 100 kt (185 km/h) and is powered by a 155 hp (115 kW) turbocharged diesel engine, giving it an endurance of 10 hours. At the air show, the VSR700 had various mission role kits around it, such as the Thales AESA Flat Panel Surveillance Radar, and an ASW(anti-submarine warfare) payload consisting of the active sonobuoy with its launcher. L-3 Wescam provided an electro-optical MX-15, while the Airbus DeckFinder autolanding system for VTOL UAV ship deck operations was also on display. The true flexibility of this platform is shown with the provision to carry a rescue raft built by Survitec, which can be airdropped …

eVTOL Aircraft

The following companies are known to be developing electric VTOL aircraft: A³ Vahana aeroG Aviation aG-4 AeroMobil 5.0 Airbus Helicopters CityAirbus AirisOne AirspaceX MOBi Alauda Airspeeder ASTRO/Passenger Drone Aurora Flight Sciences eVTOL Aurora Flight Sciences LightningStrike Autonomous Flight Y6S Avianovations Hepard Bartini Flying Car Bell Air Taxi Boeing Cargo Aerial Vehicle Carter Aviation CarterCopter Cartivator SkyDrive Davinci ZeroG Dekatone (unnamed) DeLorean Aerospace DR-7 Digi Robotics DroFire Digi Robotics Droxi Dufour aEro2 EAC Whisper EHang 184 Embraer (unnamed) EVA X01 Flexcraft (unnamed) Flike Flyt Aerospace FlytCycle Gravity X HopFlyt Venturi HoverSurf Drone Taxi R-1 HoverSurf Formula HoverSurf Scorpion JAXA Hornisse 2B Jetoptera J2000 Jetpack Aviation (unnamed) Joby Aviation S4 Kalashnikov (unnamed) Karem Butterfly KARI PAV Kármán XK-1 Kitty Hawk Cora Kitty Hawk Flyer Kitty Hawk Flyer (prototype) Lilium Jet Malloy Hoverbike Moller Skycar M400 Napoleon Aero VTOL Neoptera eOpter Neva Aerospace AirQuadOne PAVX PAV-UL Ultralight Piasecki eVTOL Pipistrel (unnamed) PteroDynamics Transwing Pop.Up Next Ray Research Dart Flyer Ray Research VTOL Aircraft Sabrewing Draco-2 Sikorsky VERT SKYLYS Aircraft AO Skypod Aerospace Skypod Starling Jet Supervolant Pegasus Terrafugia TF-2 Uber eCRM Urban Aeronautics CityHawk VerdeGo Aero PAT200 Vertiia Vickers WAVE eVTOL Vimana (unnamed) Volocopter VC200 / 2X VRCO NeoXCraft VTOL Aviation Abhiyaan Workhorse SureFly XTI Aircraft Trifan 600 Zee Aero Z-P2 Zenith Altitude EOPA (updated June 11, 2018)