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Uber Elevate Summit Outlines eVTOL Flight Plan

Uber Elevate Summit Outlines eVTOL Flight Plan

  • 23 Jun 2017 10:27 AM
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The Elevate Summit, a conference to promote the air taxi concept, hosted in Dallas, Texas, April 25–27, by cell phone ride-paging service Uber, attracted advocates and expert speakers from nearly every industry and regulatory agency with a role to play in turning the eVTOL dream into reality.

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AHS Commentary: Not Just Helicopters

AHS Commentary: Not Just Helicopters

  • 22 Jun 2017 09:39 AM
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At the Forum 73 Grand Awards Banquet, the leaders of the major rotorcraft manufacturers and Uber Technologies’ chief of product development talked about the future of vertical flight. Uber imagines a world where on-demand transportation leverages the vertical dimension to connect people efficiently and affordably through a network of vertiports with electrically-powered VTOL aircraft. A score of companies are now developing one- to four-seat aircraft that could enable achieve this vision. (See “Charging Forward”)

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Commentary: Electric VTOL Wheel of Fortune

Commentary: Electric VTOL Wheel of Fortune

  • 01 Mar 2017 08:37 PM
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Twenty years ago, in the March/April 1997 issue of Vertiflite, I published my first article. The 20-page “V/STOL: The First Half- Century” included the wheel of “V/STOL Aircraft and Propulsion Concepts,” which can now be found on the AHS Vertipedia site at www.vtol.org/wheel.

The article and the V/STOL Wheel catalogued the most prominent attempts to combine the vertical takeoff and landing capabilities of a helicopter with the high-speed forward flight of a fixed- wing aircraft.

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Air Mobility Bonanza Beckons Electric VTOL Developers

Air Mobility Bonanza Beckons Electric VTOL Developers

  • 01 Mar 2017 02:52 PM
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An aviation gold rush is on. The belief that advances in electric propulsion and autonomy technologies are making cheap, quiet and even fully automated air taxis as feasible as automatic elevators is fueling a frenzy of design and development of small electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. Some e-VTOLs are already flying. Others will be soon. Many more are on the drawing boards.

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Hybrid-Electric LightningStrike

Hybrid-Electric LightningStrike

  • 01 Mar 2017 11:02 AM
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Pure electric propulsion isn’t the only route to aeronautical revolution — and maybe not the fastest. Aurora Flight Sciences is working to prove that with its avant-garde LightningStrike, a hybrid-electric technology demonstrator that the Manassas, Virginia, company is building under an $89M Phase II Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contract. “People are nibbling around the edges of what electric can do,” said John Langford, Aurora’s founder and chief executive officer. “This airplane drives directly to the heart. It transforms the whole configuration of the airplane.”

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The Demand for On-Demand Mobility

The Demand for On-Demand Mobility

  • 01 Jan 2017 09:47 PM
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The hurdles are high and there is ample reason for skepticism, but tech entrepreneurs are pushing electric aircraft ideas that could lead to a new era for vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, aka VTOLs (pronounced VEE-talls). The latest entrant is Uber Technologies, the $68B cell phone app rent-a-ride provider, which recently announced it will invest in and promote “on-demand aviation.” Uber’s vision — shared by a growing number of aviation experts — is to use electric-powered VTOL (e-VTOL) aircraft as “air taxis” to revolutionize transport in and around big cities.

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Lift Where You Need It

Lift Where You Need It

  • 01 Nov 2016 10:36 AM
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With rotors, ducted fans and other lift devices powered through wires, Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP) can change the shape and performance of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft of many sizes. Advanced Aircraft Company’s (AAC) 36 lb (16.3 kg) Hercules unmanned aircraft system (UAS) has a hybrid-power gasoline engine and generator set driving eight outrigger motors with propellers for hover and forward flight.

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German Ultralight VTOL Innovations

German Ultralight VTOL Innovations

  • 01 Sep 2016 04:11 PM
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The German aerospace industry has enjoyed global success and recognition in design and innovation over the decades.

One prime example is the Airbus Helicopters-legacy Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB) Bo 105 light, twin-engine helicopter. This had one of the world’s first rigid rotor designs, and formed the backbone of the parapublic marketplace globally for more than forty years — reaching a landmark eight million flight hours in 2014.

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A Small LightningStrike

A Small LightningStrike

  • 01 Jul 2016 03:20 PM
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As described in the last issue of Vertiflite (“Lightning Strikes Aurora”), after four-and-a-half years of development, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded Aurora Flight Sciences an $89.4M contract to develop, build and flight test its VTOL X-Plane. Aurora’s LightningStrike uses a distributed hybrid-electric propulsion system: a Rolls-Royce AE 1107C turboshaft (the same T406 engine as used in the V-22 Osprey) drives three Honeywell 1 MW (1,340 hp) generators through a gearbox (more than 10 kA — enough to power a home subdivision); the generators in turn power 24 electric motors, driving constant speed, variable pitch fans (18 on the wing and six on the canards). Both the wing and canard tilt for vertical takeoff and landing.

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Lightning Strikes Aurora

Lightning Strikes Aurora

  • 01 May 2016 02:59 PM
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The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced on March 3 [2016] that it had selected Aurora Flight Sciences to continue on in the DARPA VTOL X-Plane program. The company was awarded an $89.4M contract for Phases 2 (development) and 3 (flight test) for its LightningStrike hybrid-electric concept.

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