FlyNow Aviation GmbH
FlyNow Aviation GmbH is in the process of making an autonomous electric electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) helicopter due to helicopters are a proven technology, translational lift, efficiency and are capable of a long range.
The company cites the coaxial counterrotating Kamov helicopter, manufactured by Russian Helicopters, with the advantages coaxial counterrotating rotoblades brings to the aircraft is what FlyNow Aviation is looking for. When designing an electric helicopter, complexity can be reduced by using electric motors, using batteries as a power source and using fixed pitched rotorblades. FlyNow Aviation has stated that a fixed pitch rotorblade system will achieve higher velocities while maintaining passenger comfort.
While the official name of the helicopter has not be released, the company is calling the one passenger helicopter the FlyNow PAV. The air taxi helicopter will automatically fly the passenger and luggage, without a pilot, from their departure point to their destination at a brisk speed of 130 km/h (81 mph) and with a range of 50 km (31 m). The helicopter uses two fixed pitched rotorblades, eight electric motors and batteries to power the aircraft. Future models will use a hydrogen-electric power source.
The company has revealed their research supports a one passenger aircraft for Urban Air Mobility due to its biggest potential for the most rapid market penetration and growth based in conjunction with the low acquisition and operating cost of a small aircraft.
Five Core Unique Selling Propositions Of FlyNow Aviation
- Low Cost: 10 times lower production costs compared to market competition
- High Energy Efficiency: Unmatched flight time and range
- Low Noise Emission Levels: High social acceptance and great inflight experience
- Great Operability: Profitable operation of large fleets and great customer experience
- Certification Readiness: Fast time to market in a multitude of jurisdictions
Fixed pitched rotorblades cannot maneuver a helicopter in the traditional fashion. However, using an all electric powertrain allows each rotorblade to change its RPM for directional control. Also, the entire rotor assembly can be tilted allowing thrust vectoring to control the aircraft. This design greatly simplifies the mechanical assembly compared to a traditional rotor hub and swashplate found on a traditional helicopter.
While fixed pitched rotorblades cannot autorotate, the company has achieved a high level of safety with the helicopter by using the redundancy of eight electric motors to power the aircraft. If one or several electric motors fail, the helicopter can still land safely.
The company is currently performing indoor testing with a half-scale prototype to evaluate automatic flight modes and stability of the control logic. The goal is to build a full-size demonstrator by the end of 2021. The company takes the prototype's performance data and inputs this into their simulation software which simulates both hardware and software and it can confirm the aerodynamic performance from the half-scale model. The simulator enables FlyNow Aviation to virtually fly millions of flight hours to test every system on the helicopter.
The company also plans to make a two-seater helicopter and a cargo model which can carry a standard European sized pallet (800 × 1200 mm) with up to 1 meter height and a 120 kg payload. FlyNow Aviation anticipates production will start in the first quarter of 2024 and begin to sell air taxi flight for Urban Air Mobility in the second quarter of 2024.
- Aircraft type: Electric helicopter air taxi
- Piloting: Automatic flying
- Capacity: 1 person plus luggage
- Maximum speed: 130 km/h (81 mph)
- Range: 50 km (31 m)
- Flight time: 30 minutes
- Maximum payload: 120 kg (265 lb)
- Empty weight: 210 kg (463 lb)
- Rotorblades: Two coaxial rotor blades
- Electric Motors: 8 electric motors
- Power source: Batteries
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Windows: Large vertical front window allowing forward, left, right, up and down views
- Landing gear: Fixed skid type landing gear
- Safety feature: The helicopter uses the redundancy of eight electric motors, so if one or two fail, it can still safely land. The helicopter will also have collision avoidance systems on board.