Joby “Unicorn” Gains Private, Military Backing

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

NOTICE: We are publishing this entry despite not being able to download fixed images into the file.  We will have that repaired soon, but want the news to go out in the meantime.  Practice patience in the meantime.  Thank you.  Joby Aviation is one of few “unicorns” in the electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) market, a billion-dollar enterprise.  With funding coming from Toyota, several venture capital investors, Uber and the U. S. Army, Joby seems poised to demonstrate Urban Air Mobility (UAM) in a serious way. In 2011 JoeBen Bevirt, founder of Joby Energy, Joby Aviation, and creator of those knobby-looking tripods you see everywhere, invited Patrick McLaughlin to visit his design studio.  Your editor got to tag …

Airflow: Coming to a Rooftop Near You?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

“1 pilot, 500 pounds of cargo,” reads Airflow’s headline for its electric STOL (Short Take Off and Landing) aircraft.  Reaching  for the “middle-mile” cargo delivery market, Airflow’s new design promises to be four times faster than trucks, operate at one-third the cost of helicopters or eVTOL (electric Vertical Take Off and Landing) vehicles, and require only 150 feet for takeoffs and landings. eVTOL Reconsidered Airflow’s management and engineering team come from previous experience in the eVTOL world, most recently with Airbus’ Vahana program.  Headed by Marc Ausman, The team has “over 60 years of aerospace experience,” with companies including Eclipse Aviation, Northrop Grumman, Uber Elevate, Airware, and Scaled Composites. The team determined their design can carry a pilot and a …

UAM Realization May be Closer than We Think

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

We are on the verge of big happenings in the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) world.  Large amounts of money are flowing into the coffers of those companies which dared to pioneer in the area.  Large firms are partnering with these aerial startups.  And the Federal Aeronautics Administration is paying attention while actively pursuing certification for the new machines headed our way. Jay Merkle, FAA Certification and Airspace Integration At the Transportation Review Board’s annual meeting in Orlando, Florida, Jay Merkle, head of the FAA’s UAS integration office, told attendees that six (Urban Air Mobility) UAM  vehicles are “well along,” according to a report in Aviation Today.   He held that the growing market is ““more than just hype … this is …

CES 2020: eVTOLs Vie for Attention

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Two electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) craft captured spectators’ attention at the 2020 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, Nevada.   Mick Akers of the Review-Journal reported on Bell’s Nexus 4EX, an updated prototype or the concept machine they showed last year, and the New Hyundai SA-1, unveiled as part of its partnership with Uber. The Bell Nexus 4EX Akers reports, “After lighting up CES 2019 with its Nexus vertical takeoff and landing aircraft model, Bell returned this year with an updated prototype: the Nexus 4EX.” Unlike last year’s hybrid version, the 4EX will be fully electric.  Akers noted that, “the 4EX features four fan ducts, a reduction from the six shown with last year’s model.” Bell promotes …

Joby and Uber Elevate Form Partnership

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In a new partnership agreement, Uber Elevate recently added Joby Aviation to its stable of aircraft companies which are to supply craft for its Urban Air Mobility program.  Joby builds electric motors, 12 of which line the wing of NASA’s X-57 Maxwell, with two larger motors for forward thrust when the small units are shut down. This inventory of electric motors on the NASA project gives Joby a certain entrée to interest from the Urban Air Mobility movement, and it’s received that interest from Uber.  Well financed in its own right, Joby has committed to meeting Uber’s desire to have operating sky taxis in the air by 2023, as reported by Andrew J. Hawkins in The Verge. We have written …

Lilium Elevates Five-Passenger Uber-Ready Vehicle

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Uber Elevate, headed toward its third annual meeting in Washington, D. C., has established guidelines for what it wants to see flying in its service.  Lilium, a German electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing maker, has flown a vehicle that seems to meet those guidelines. The web site, A New Domain.net, notes, “The authors of the Uber paper point out that the high-profile German concept, the Lilium, is a ‘push to extremely high levels of distribution while coupling the vertical lift in closely with the wing high-lift system.’ The concern here, however, is that such jet-lift approaches “will require substantially higher power for takeoff and landing, with greater challenges operating quietly within cities,” according to the Uber paper.” “From the looks of it, …

Faster, Cleaner AND Less Pricey?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

University of Michigan Research Sprinkled with Optimism (or Not) Can electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) machines provide the swift crossing of  urban distances at a price that will attract the non-flying public? Can they do so while keeping pollution in check? A University of Michigan study, funded in part by Ford Motors, concluded that taking a short (depending on definition) trip in an autonomous electric vertical takeoff and landing machine might not only be quicker than a ground-bound journey through gridlock, but might even be less expensive.  These two factors are important if we are clean  the toxic atmosphere that hangs over our major cities, at least partly brought about by the constant transit of personal automobiles, public buses, …

Pipistrel’s Tine Tomazic Tours West Coast for eVTOL

Dean Sigler Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Visiting Los Angeles for UBER’s second Annual Elevate Summit on May 8, Tine Tomazic and Igor Perkon presented Pipistrel’s new electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) concept.  As described in their press release, Pipistrel’s new design “utilizes dedicated propulsion systems for both cruising and vertical lift and embraces an aircraft styled family approach of eVTOL able to carry between 2 to 6 passengers.” Mark Moore, UBER’s Director of Engineering, attempted to find out about the “sauce” that helps make Pipistrel’s eVTOL concept unique, but was deflected by Tine’s response that the “airplane” (important distinction) would be a “cruise plus lift” machine, emphasizing speed of transit, but relying on electric power to provide vertical lift.  He also noted that propulsion would …