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VTOL On Demand Mobility

Zootycoon

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ESA’s funding of such a flawed concept is mysterious;- one wonders as to the ethics, because although relatively small, it provided the credibility for the high net worth individuals.

I understand the majority of the investment to date, has come from a chap who’s normally used to dealing the cards.
 

fredymac

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I wonder if Bell Flight has talked to these people. Plus they are located in Texas.


 

TomcatViP

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“[Urban air mobility] with pilots will happen way before you will get anything delivered in your backyard,” Moore told a panel discussion at Heli-Expo in Anaheim, California on 29 January. “Autonomous flight is really hard. Having a pilot in the vehicle makes a huge difference in terms of the regulatory environment.”


It's probably where primes will soldier to dominate the market despite the plethora of competitors and the short flight time making efficiency a minor variable to make a difference.
 

Grey Havoc

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Yes, which makes this move by the USAF even more interesting.
 

Moose

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I think the end of the article is possibly the most telling. The small drone makers are dominated by Chinese money because US investors, private and government, were too focused on big drones and ignored the market for too long. Now USAF wants money in with VTOL mobility companies, even if they don't have a clearly defined requirement yet, to avoid a similar outcome.
 

Grey Havoc

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That part is probably true, in so far as it goes.
 

DWG

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This raises the issue that wide-scale eVTOL usage* will mean a lot of aircraft maintenance guys (and I still haven't seen anyone address where they're going to find that many licensed aircraft engineers) having to work with large, high-power battery packs, which is a set of risks the industry isn't used to dealing with. I used to sit next to the guy who did site-risk stuff at Rochester, and there was a brief flutter with potentially getting into the electric bus business (I think somewhere else in the BAE empire had an electric bus design and Transport for London were looking into electric buses, which was a potentially huge contract), enough to look into the safety aspects of possibly assembling something locally, and the possible voltages if something shorted were eyewatering.

*And similarly for all-electric and hybrid CTOL designs
 

GTX

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This raises the issue that wide-scale eVTOL usage* will mean a lot of aircraft maintenance guys (and I still haven't seen anyone address where they're going to find that many licensed aircraft engineers) having to work with large, high-power battery packs, which is a set of risks the industry isn't used to dealing with. I used to sit next to the guy who did site-risk stuff at Rochester, and there was a brief flutter with potentially getting into the electric bus business (I think somewhere else in the BAE empire had an electric bus design and Transport for London were looking into electric buses, which was a potentially huge contract), enough to look into the safety aspects of possibly assembling something locally, and the possible voltages if something shorted were eyewatering.

*And similarly for all-electric and hybrid CTOL designs
The automotive industry is going to have to deal with similar given the growth of electric cars.
 

Zootycoon

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The automotive industry is going to have to deal with similar given the growth of electric cars.
No, not really;- Lillium must deliver a solution with at least one order of magnitude more power, and at one tenth of the mass budget compared to any car.

It’s now generally accepted that very little of the future electric car technology will be of much value in the aviation sector.(Ref Key note address at Warwick Uni future battery technology conference). Electric car development is focused on cheap Cobalt free battery chemistries which are basically heavy.

Furthermore a big problem with very high power density batteries is they’re more akin to high explosive given that all of the chemistry to release the energy is inside the enclosure. With a liquid fuel tank the air volume above the fuel can be managed, I.e maintained fuel rich, or inert blanket, such that they’re inherently safe.
 

DWG

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The automotive industry is going to have to deal with similar given the growth of electric cars.
To a degree. But a car just needs to overcome rolling resistance, an electric aircraft needs to overcome gravity. Conventional cars measure fuel efficiency in miles per gallon, conventional aircraft measure it in gallons per mile. Those figures won't change a great deal in switching to electric, so aircraft power packs will need a much greater power storage level (and probably storage density). I suspect the risk levels will be higher with aviation power packs.
 

mboeller

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Lilium was not the first and most likely will not be the last company suffering a battery pack fire.

Eviations Alice prototype was nearly destroyed in a fire a few weeks ago:
 

Zootycoon

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Alice is in the same class of investor deception as Lillum. With Alice I wonder about it being an insurance job or similar exit plan. It’s a real shame that the more realistic electric aeroplane schemes are going to get such a bad name from these Enron types.
 

GTX

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No, not really;- Lillium must deliver a solution with at least one order of magnitude more power, and at one tenth of the mass budget compared to any car.
You missed my point. I was referring to the need to train a large number of maintenance people in dealing with electric vehicles (be those aircraft or automotives). There are currently plenty of ones trained for conventionally powered platforms but far less so for electric. It has nothing to do with the power density.
 

GTX

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Alice is in the same class of investor deception as Lillum. With Alice I wonder about it being an insurance job or similar exit plan. It’s a real shame that the more realistic electric aeroplane schemes are going to get such a bad name from these Enron types.
Not quite. Having spoken to some of those involved I think it is more of a case whereby you have a start up trying to move quickly on the leading edge and not always appreciating the complexities of what they are doing whilst trying to keep costs down.
 

Zootycoon

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Not quite. Having spoken to some of those involved I think it is more of a case whereby you have a start up trying to move quickly on the leading edge and not always appreciating the complexities of what they are doing whilst trying to keep costs down.
I too have spoken to people trying to develop in this sector and they’re appalled at the deliberate investor deception;- the money flows not to those on the leading edge but to the ones that mislead as to where the leading edge actually is.
 

Charlesferdinand

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Not quite. Having spoken to some of those involved I think it is more of a case whereby you have a start up trying to move quickly on the leading edge and not always appreciating the complexities of what they are doing whilst trying to keep costs down.
I too have spoken to people trying to develop in this sector and they’re appalled at the deliberate investor deception;- the money flows not to those on the leading edge but to the ones that mislead as to where the leading edge actually is.
Would that be the misleading edge?
 

Zootycoon

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