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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 new posts Beta Technologies website Article: Electric VTOL for Organs on Demand, Vertiflite, March/April 2019 Walkaround Photo Gallery: Visit to Beta’s hangar in Plattsburgh, NY, Vertical Flight Society, April 1, 2019. Article: Beta Technologies, a Vermont Air Taxi Start-Up, Might Be About to Change the Aviation World, by Eric Adams, The Drive, Jan. 11, 2019 Article: Snow Can’t Stop the Edward Scissorhands of Flying Cars, by Eric Adams, Wired, Jan. 10, 2019 Video: Beta Technologies eVTOL Air Taxi Prototype, by Eric Adams, Jan 10, 2019 Article: Making it in …

Q&A with Kyle Clark, CEO of Beta Technologies

Meet Ava Q&A with Kyle Clark, CEO of Beta Technologies By VFS Staff Vertiflite Sept/Oct 2019 New VFS corporate member Beta Technologies gave Vertiflite an exclusive tour of the company’s Ava XC electric VTOL aircraft in April. This is a lightly edited transcription of the explanation. Vertiflite:   How much of Ava XC is original and how much was customized? Clark:       Originally, there was a Lancair ES, which is a fixed-gear, four-seater aircraft. We thought the path we could go down was to modify that aircraft, apply for an experimental major modification, keep the original air worthiness certificate, and circumnavigate the airworthiness certification. That didn’t work. The FAA put the brakes on it, because we only used the glass, the doors and the very center section of the fuselage. They said it’s a fresh airplane: you have to do an airworthiness certificate. We put a new tail on it, starting right behind where the rear seats were. We designed, tested and built the outriggers with Blue Force Technologies. With RDD [Research, Design, and Development, LLC], we took the LX-7 wing molds and tail molds and adapted them for our purposes. The LX-7 is a traditional tail, while this is a T-tail, so all of the structure and all of the rigging internally had to be redesigned. The wing is only about 250 lb [115 kg] because it doesn’t have to carry all that infrastructure for fuel management and sealing, so it’s really a bare-bones wing. There’s no deicing on the leading edge, like there would be in the electrically heated LX-7. In the front where the engine mount was, we designed and built a frame out of chromoly that both holds the batteries and supports the front outrigger, which is tilted forward 25° (i.e. 65° from horizontal). What we call the torque tubes at the ends of the outriggers are populated with motors, gearboxes and belt drives. It’s an epicyclic 3.7:1 reduction gearbox to go from a 4,000 RPM motor to just over 1,000 RPM on the 11-ft (3.4-m) diameter propellers. Internal to the outriggers, you have two different, independent inverters: one on the outboard and one on the inboard. The inboard one powers the top rotor; outboard, the bottom rotor. Then, a cooling system in the center. Those are electrically and hydraulically completely isolated, so that if the plumbing system cooling the outboard inverter and the lower motor were to fail, you still have the upper motor and the inboard inverter cooled, appropriately managed, and controlled independently from its adjacent motor. Conceivably, you could lose an entire battery, with two full 800 V batteries that don’t touch each other at all — not galvanically, not through controls power. If you lose the front battery — that controls all of the …

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 of helicopters delivering all these.” The emissions that would be generated by a conventional rotorcraft fleet of that size simply aren’t acceptable to Rothblatt, who is already well known for prioritizing solar power and other environmentally sustainable technologies at United Therapeutics. “When people push back on me, and say, ‘Why are you so big on the solar?’ … I do …

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, two-seat 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 systems, low-cost design and manufacturing, autonomous systems and “green” technologies. This confluence of technology advances is being leveraged by innovations in the automotive, drone and aerospace industries. Another distinction is that most of the eVTOL aircraft being developed today are company-funded programs (often supported by venture capital) being developed to aggressive timelines with a clear expectation of a positive financial …

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 Main Street, Stratford, Connecticut 06601 USA Aircraft: Sikorsky VERT Skyworks Global 9980 South 300 West, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, Utah 84070 USA Terrafugia, Inc. 23 Rainin Road, Woburn, Massachusetts 01801 USA Aircraft: Terrafugia TF-X Transcend Air Corporation 779 West Street, Carlisle, Massachusetts 01741 USA Aircraft: Vy400 Uber 1455 Market Street, Suite 400, San Francisco, California …

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 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 March 19, 2018 Marcus Leng Opener BlackFly v2 Palo Alto, California, USA C-IKLT or C-IKLY 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 2019 Nick Warren Beta Technologies Ava XC Plattsburgh, NY, USA N802UT 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!

Uber eCRM-001 eVTOL Common Reference Model, USA.

Uber Elevate eCRM-001

Uber Elevate eCRM-001Uber ElevateSan Francisco, California, Uber Elevate is the name of Uber’s internal team and initiative focused on launching their Uber Air product for the public. Uber Elevate is building what they call, “The future of aerial ridesharing” or “On demand aviation” or what could be called an aerial ridesharing transportation ecosystem. The Elevate initiative includes airspace management, battery development, infrastructure to support a distributed network of Skyports, operations, partnerships, and vehicle design. Ushering in the era of urban aviation for everyone, everywhere can’t be achieved by a single organization—it requires collaboration and open dialogue. The annual Uber Elevate Summit (the first summit took place in 2017) convenes a global community of builders, investors, policymakers, and government officials all working toward making the vision of urban aerial ridesharing a reality. Uber’s goal is to have demonstrator flights beginning in 2020 with Uber’s target date of 2023 to begin commercial operations in three (3) test cities (Los Angeles, California, USA; Dallas, Texas, USA; Melbourne, Australia) of electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft available for passenger transportation by using an app to schedule a flight. Uber is working closely with federal and local policymakers to develop an aerial aircraft that’s safe, quiet, and environmentally conscious, and that extends the reach of existing transportation options. Uber says it plans to offer the option of shared eVTOL aircraft for one leg of their journey, then connecting to ground transportation if needed. The first Uber aircraft will be piloted with the ultimate future goal of having all eVTOL aircraft to fly autonomously. Urber is also working to have multiple Skyports in cities they are servicing which are capable of handling up to 1,000 landings per hour. Uber is also working on a suite of software called Elevate Cloud Services (ECS) to manage dense operations of unmanned, low altitude air traffic. The goal is to have each eVTOL aircraft fly safely in airspace which now includes small personal and commercial drones, other eVTOL aircraft, general aviation and commercial airplanes, jets and helicopters, and be able to avoid them all. In addition, this software and detection capability will also allow Uber aircraft to avoid established high-rise buildings, power-lines, radio/cell transmission towers, airports, airport corridors, and to be able to detect and fly around any unreported structures, such as construction cranes or any other newly made structure, which has not yet been reported aviation databases. We have convened leaders across industry and government—vehicle designers, manufacturers, investors, operators, infrastructure providers, policymakers, and regulators—to build this future of urban aviation and begin testing in cities as early as 2020. Uber is taking a page out of NASA’s (play) book to close the gaps in commercial air vehicle design by sharing their design approaches and technologies from the …

Uber eCRM-001 eVTOL Common Reference Model side view, USA.

200 eVTOL Aircraft on

PRESS RELEASE Sept. 6, 2019 Contact: Jim Sherman Director of Strategic Development 1-703-684-6777 x110 Vertical Flight Society Reports More than 200 eVTOL Aircraft Now in Development Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing Aircraft Projects Double in Past Year Fairfax, Virginia — The Vertical Flight Society (VFS) recently added the 200th electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft concept to its online World eVTOL Aircraft Directory. The Directory, launched in 2017, is the world’s most comprehensive compendium of electric and hybrid/electric-powered VTOL aircraft in development by aerospace companies, entrepreneurs and inventors around the globe. “We recognized in 2013 that there was a rapid convergence of technologies — including advances in electric motors, batteries, power management systems, fly-by-wire flight controls and lightweight composite structures — that would enable what we call the Electric VTOL Revolution,” said Mike Hirschberg, VFS Executive Director. VFS held the world’s first technical meeting on eVTOL in 2014 and the Society’s 7th Annual Electric VTOL Symposium will be held in Silicon Valley in January. “Electric VTOL is one of the most exciting developments in aviation since the birth of the helicopter more than 75 years ago. It holds the promise of being even more transformative than the advent of turbine engines.” Thousands of people are now engaged in eVTOL aircraft development — including more than 60 percent of the VFS’s corporate members — and the Electric VTOL Revolution is being propelled by many of the world’s leading aerospace, technology, automotive, transportation and distribution companies, as well government agencies, militaries and academia. Missions enabled by electric VTOL technologies will likely include urban air mobility (UAM), regional air mobility (RAM), cargo delivery, personal air vehicles (PAVs), emergency medical service (EMS) and many others as yet unknown. “The advent of distributed electric propulsion (DEP) has led to radical new eVTOL aircraft configurations that don’t resemble traditional fixed-wing aircraft or rotorcraft. DEP provides developers with exciting new opportunities to radically reduce the operating cost, noise and complexity of vertical flight,” said Hirschberg. The Society began compiling the World eVTOL Aircraft Directory in late 2016 when only a half-dozen electric-powered VTOL aircraft were known to exist and the term “eVTOL” was only used by a small segment of the aerospace community. The VFS Directory on — the world’s first and foremost website on electric VTOL — also features more than 200 feature articles and news items, and is updated daily by VFS staff. The free online Directory logged its 50th eVTOL aircraft in January 2018, its 100th in July 2018 and its 150th in January 2019. “The Vertical Flight Society’s role is to help these companies, engineers, inventors and government agencies to overcome the many barriers to commercial success, which include technology, regulations, infrastructure, air traffic management and system safety,” said Jim Sherman, VFS …