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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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VTOLicious

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"Just two weeks after Kitty Hawk unveiled its single-seat Heaviside eVTOL last year, a prototype was substantially damaged after a software timing error affected the controllability of the aircraft, accident investigators say."


Maybe not the best strategy to convince NAA's around the world that established development standards like DO-178 are excessive for small "disruptive" eVTOL design organizations :rolleyes:
 

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DWG

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Maybe not the best strategy to convince NAA's around the world that established development standards like DO-178 are excessive for small "disruptive" eVTOL design organizations :rolleyes:
I think it also potentially highlights another weakness of the eVTOL model: "A review of the recorded data by Kitty Hawk revealed that the aircraft experienced a software timing error “caused by a battery charging script that, due to operator error, was not properly terminated at the ground station prior to the test flight. "

'Due to operator error'. Yet the eVTOL companies are talking about tens of thousands of these. If even a flight test team's ground crew can cause a critical failure, are you willing to bet Uber can't manage the same if allowed to do ground handling and maintenance with low paid ground crew as opposed to qualified aviation mechanics?
 

Grey Havoc

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VTOLicious

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Beta reveals modular eVTOL power pad

...keen to see their "production ready" Airtaxi, dubbed Alia.
 

TomcatViP

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It smells cheap...

If you ever had to rest in poorly ventilated container structures or ever had steel roof over your head, you'll be sorry for the poor site crew.

But I am sure they forsee their customers being quickly accostumed with the smell of sweat in their flying Pods...
 
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VTOLicious

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US Air Force Agility Prime

The Air Force recently launched Agility Prime, a non-traditional program seeking to accelerate the commercial market for advanced air mobility vehicles (i.e., "flying cars").
Leveraging unique testing resources and revenue generating government use cases for distributed logistics and disaster response, the government plans to mitigate current commercial market and regulatory risks.
Agility Prime also aims to bring together industry, investor, and government communities to establish safety and security standards while accelerating commercialization of this revolutionary technology.
The Innovative Capabilities Opening, below, establishes a rapid contracting mechanism beginning in 2020 with a “Race to Certification” series to drive government procurement of operational capability by 2023.

"In a show of force to U.S. industry and investors, the virtual launch of Agility Prime sought to demonstrate the Air Force's commitment to the commercial success of electric air taxis."

https://www.aviationtoday.com/2020/...inning-innovation-war-electric-vtol-aircraft/
 

VTOLicious

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U.S. Air Force wants 30 eVTOLs carrying cargo, passengers

https://evtol.com/news/air-force-agility-prime-30-evtols/

Though it will not place specific requirements on industry to develop the eVTOLs it wants, the Air Force has begun publishing desired attributes for the various air races it will sponsor.

AOI-1 (Area of Interest 1) is looking for larger vehicles capable of carrying four to five passengers or the equivalent weight in cargo.

AOI-2 seeks a smaller vehicle with a payload capacity of one or two passengers or equivalent weight in cargo, a range greater than 10 miles, speed greater than 45 miles per hour and endurance of more than 15 minutes, according to an Air Force solicitation published April 28 on the government’s contracting website.

AOI-3 envisions a cargo aircraft not necessarily designed to carry human passengers, according to the Air Force documents. It should have a maximum gross takeoff weight of more than 1,320 pounds, a payload of more than 500 pounds, a range of 200 miles or more, fly faster than 100 miles per hour and have an endurance of more than 100 minutes.

For all three categories of aircraft, the Air Force wants to see first flight of a full-scale prototype before Dec. 17, 2020, according to the AOI documents.
 

Grey Havoc

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Neglected to post these earlier:

 

shin_getter

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It is rather strange that it is the air force to first express interest in evtol when it doesn't fit the operating concept well and probably would operate a small number of niche craft in the end unlike other services that operates far from airfields.
 
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