⚡️ ELECTRIC ✈️ AVIATION - MARKET UPDATE - 08/12/2021
EVTOL / ADVANCED / URBAN AIR MOBILITY (UAM / AAM)
NEOM | VOLOCOPTER
Saudi Arabian startup region / city NEOM placed a firm order for 10 x VoloCity and 5 x VoloDrone aircraft from Volocopter. In addition the two parties will form a joint venture that will be NEOM's sole operator of "initial public transit routes across NEOM." The German company will also work with NEOM to seed an Urban Air Mobility (UAM) ecosystem in the region, focused on both public transport and aerial logistics (via NEOM, Volocopter):
EVE URBAN AIR MOBILITY | SYDNEY SEAPLANES
Embraer subsidiary Eve Urban Air Mobility Solutions announced a partnership with Sydney Seaplanes, which includes an order for 50 x eVTOL aircraft with deliveries commencing from 2026. The aircraft will enable Australia's largest seaplane operator to expand with routes beyond Sydney Harbour (via Eve).
EVE URBAN AIR MOBILITY | NAUTILUS AVIATION
Queensland based Nautilus Aviation also announced a partnership with Eve urban Air Mobility Solutions this week, along with an order for 10 x eVTOL aircraft. The company plan to offer net-zero emissions across their business by 2030, including sightseeing flights over the Great Barrier Reef (via Eve, PRN):
MAGNIX | TIER 1 ENGINEERING
Tier 1 Engineering have taken delivery of their first Electric Power Unit (EPU) from MagniX, which they'll now work to integrate into their electric conversion of Robinson R44 helicopters (a prototype version of which already holds four Guiness World Records). The company has close ties to Martine Rothblatt of United Therapeutics - whose subsidiary Lung Biotechnology PBC are the potential customer for a fleet of 'eR44' aircraft for organ deliver. The parent - often referred to as 'Unither' - are also engaged with Beta Technologies and eHang (via Yahoo! Finance):
HONEYWELL | LILIUM | VERTICAL AEROSPACE
Honeywell's new integrated avionics / flight deck system - Honeywell Anthem - was confirmed as appearing in both the upcoming Lilium Jet and Vertical Aerospace VA-X4 aircraft (via Aviation Week, Honeywell):
BLADE | HELIJET
Blade will operate Helijet's scheduled passenger routes in Canada and the Pacific Northwest, including flights across the US-Canada border. The deal sees the US company handle marketing, booking, reservations and terminal management and gaining access to terminals, with the Helijet concentrating on aircraft operations and studying in detail the introduction of new Electric Vertical Aircraft (EVA) technologies (via Blade, Times Colonist).
In a speech in Macau Airbus China's CFO Philipp Visotschnig segmented the Urban Air Mobility market into three distinct categories:
City flying taxis - 15 to 50km flights - over densely populated urban areas
Airport shuttles - 15 to 80km flights - transferring from transport hubs to airports
Inter- or intra-city - up to 250km - flying commuter routes
Archer Aviation's prototype Maker eVTOL was granted a Special Airworthiness Certificate from the FAA, paving the way for a first hover flight test (via Archer):
In their Q3 earnings call eHang senior management suggested that they expect full type certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) for their EH216 multicopter Autonomous Aerial Vehicle (AAV) "within months". Their investor presentation claims the aircraft has now racked up more than 20,000 separate flights in 11 countries (via eHang, Fool, New Atlas).
ASCENDANCE FLIGHT TECHNOLOGIES
French startup Ascendance Flight Technologies unveiled a revised design for their 5-seat, fan-in-wing hybrid VTOL 'Atea' aircraft. With a claimed 400km+ range the lift + cruise aircraft utilises the company's 'Sterna' "modular hybrid propulsion technology", and features two horizontal propellers alongside 8 integrated into two sets of fixed wings (via Ascendance):
Joby Aviation added former President of the National Air Traffic Controllers' Association (NATCA) - Paul Rinaldi - to their advisory board. At NATCA he'd "...held positions on the FAA’s Management Advisory Council (MAC) and NextGen Advisory Committee (NAC)" (via Joby).
SMALL PROPELLER, COMMUTER (19-SEATS OR LESS)
BYE AEROSPACE | SKYE AVIATION
Electric-aviation leasing company Skye Aviation based in Colorado chave added five more 8-12 seat eFlyer 800 aircraft to their previous order of 15 from Bye Aerospace. Purchase deposits have been completed for 17 and option agreements on three of the total order, now standing at 20 aircraft (via Bye Aerospace, EIN):
REGENT CRAFT | SOUTHERN AIRWAYS EXPRESS
US commuter airline Southern Airways Express have placed an order for 20 ground-effect electric 'seagliders' from VC-backed startup Regent Craft. Deposits valued at nearly $250m USD will reportedly secure the operator 15 x 12-passenger 'Viceroys' and 5 x 100-passenger 'Monarchs'. (via Metro Airport News):
BRITTEN-NORMAN | PROJECT FRESSON | REACTION ENGINES
Having opted for hydrogen fuel cell technology over hybrid-electric, Project Fresson looks set to announce a motor supplier. Project partners Cranfield Aerospace Solutions acquired a Britten-Norman Islander airframe in September and Reaction Engines came on board in October - bringing fuel cell cooling technology. Entry to service is expected in 2025 (via Future Flight).
REGIONAL AIRCRAFT / MW+
AIR NEW ZEALAND | AIRBUS | ATR
Air New Zealand's sustainability strategy was published, one of the pillars being zero emissions aircraft. The airline will look to replace their Q300 Dash 8 aircraft with either an electric or hydrogen substitute, have signed an MoU on hydrogen technologies with Airbus, an MoU with ATR on battery / hybrid designs and are "partnering with future energy stakeholders to enable both battery-electric and green hydrogen solutions." (via Air New Zealand):
AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGY INSTITUTE
The UK's Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) unveiled a concept liquid hydrogen fuelled 279-seat airliner, developed by partners of the FlyZero programme. With a theoretical 5250NM range and cryogenic fuel tanks the concept has a 54-metre wingspan and two turbofan engines (via ATI):
ELECTRIC AVIATION GROUP
SNC-Lavalin subsidiary Atkins will provide business and technical support to the UK's Electric Aviation Group (EAG), in support of their planned 90-seat hybrid hydrogen-electric H2ERA airliner, planned to launch in 2030 (via Yahoo! Finance):