eVTOL / ADVANCED / URBAN AIR MOBILITY (UAM / AAM)
Volocopter exhibited their VoloCity eVTOL aircraft in Rome's Piazza San Silvestro, touting 20 minute flight times from Fiumicino airport to the city centre. The company has a partnership with Aeroporti di Roma (ADR), whose main shareholders Atlantia recently made an investment into the German eVTOL manufacturer (via Atlantia, Reuters, The Local, Volocopter):
Hyundai Motor Group's US Urban Air Mobility (UAM) subsidiary in the US will be called 'Supernal' and headquartered in Washington D.C. A Californian R&D centre will be established in 2021. A fully electric vehicle is anticipated to operate from 2028 in cities, and regionally from 2030. The company announced Altitude Angel, OneSky and Skyroads as new members to its Airspace Management Consortium - a group that meets quarterly and provides feedback on the groups Concept of Operations (ConOps) for Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) (via Hyundai, PRNewswire, Yonhap News Agency, Supernal):
Spanish technology R&D centre Tecnalia and Spain's largest unmanned aerial systems company UMILES unveiled their FLYFREE passenger eVTOL concept. "The size of a Land Rover with a range of 15km" it features a novel 'universal joint' connection between propulsors and cabin for stabilisation (via The Olive Press, Economía Digital, Tecnalia, UMILES):
Xeriant - "an aerospace company dedicated to Advanced Air Mobility" (OTCQB: XERI), based in Florida, announced $6m USD in new funding. It puts the company on course to complete a planned merger with XTI Aircraft, developers of the hybrid-electric TriFan 600 VTOL aircraft (via GlobeNewswire).
Switzerland's Dufour Aerospace launched their Aero2 tilt-wing eVTOL - featuring three hours flight time, a cruise speed of 92 knots and a 40kg payload. Production is slated to commence in 2023. The company are also working on the larger, manned Aero3 aircraft (also featuring a tilt-wing architecture) which will have a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 2,800kg and be certified to carry a maximum of eight persons on board (POB) (via Auto Evolution, Dufour Aero):
Varon Vehicles and Israeli/Colombian private aviation marketplace Flapz singed an MoU to collaborate on Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market development and opportunities in Latin America, with a particular focus on Colombia (via sUAS news, Varon Vehicles).
Bavarian UTM startup D3 Technologies have re-branded as Skyroads. The company was also announced as a new partner in Hyundai / Supernal's US working group on airspace management (via Hyundai, sUAS News).
Following the recent deal to purchase up to 500 VA-X4 aircraft from Vertical Aerospace (valued at up to $2 billion USD) and invest into their SPAC PIPE, Avolon CEO Dómhnal Slattery has been announced as a board member at the Bristol-based firm and 'special adviser' to Vertical CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick ahead of the company's planned merger with NYSE-listed SPAC Broadstone Acquisition Corp later this year (via Hospitality Ireland, Vertical Aerospace).
SMALL PROPELLER, COMMUTER (19-SEAT OR LESS)
ZeroAvia & Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) announced that the companies will work together on development of a supplemental type certificate (STC) for a hydrogen-electric version of the Dornier 228 (the same airframe ZeroAvia have used as a test aircraft). Still in production by HAL (and with 242 in-service) the 228 would then be eligible for retrofit or production with ZeroAvia's ZA600 powertrain (via PRNewswire, ZeroAvia):
Canada's Harbour Air received $1.6m CAD of new funding from the British Columbian government's CleanBC Go Electric programme, to support the further electrification of their fleet including a second deHavilland 'eBeaver' (via Times Colonist).
Pipistrel's hybrid-electric version of their four-seat Panthera aircraft has completed the first phase of a flight test campaign as part of the MAHEPA (Modular Approach to Hybrid Electric Propulsion Architecture) programme, which the company's R&D division led (under the Pipistrel Vertical Solutions name). The project received EU Horizon 2020 funding and partners included Compact Dynamics GmbH - whose electric drive unit is in the aircraft (via AVWeb, MAHEPA, Pipistrel):
The Royal Air Force's Air and Space Warfare Centre is reported to have been testing the Pipistrel Velis Electro with a view to wider future use of electric propulsion in both training and operational settings (via Investor Ideas, The Times).
ADS reported that NASA's X-57 Maxwell - a distributed electric propulsion (DEP) conversion of a Tecnam P2006T - had undergone ground vibration testing with Danish testing and measurement experts Hottinger Bruel & Kjær (HBK) providing the services (via ADS):
ElectricAir in New Zealand claimed a world record with the first crossing of the Cook Strait (that separates the country's North and South islands) in a Pipistrel Alpha Electro (via Bol News, ElectricAir).
Research at the University of Surrey's Centre for Aerodynamics and Environmental Flow have created an electric engine claimed to be "the size of a desk fan with as much thrust as a Spitfire" as part of the EMPAS project, working with Ate AEROTECH, Boeing, Collins Aerospace and QinetiQ. The motor will be used in the latter's 5m wind tunnel in Farnborough in the UK (via Market Screener, University of Surrey):
REGIONAL AIRCRAFT / MW+
MTU Aero Engines have entered into "an innovation partnership" with EASA (supported by the German Aerospace Center / DLR) that aims to define approval requirements for certifying hydrogen-powered 'flying fuel cells' (FFCs) (via Green Car Congress, MTU).
Wright Electric announced their 100-seat 'Wright Spirit' aircraft. Based on a converted BAe 146 platform the aircraft will have one hour of endurance and is planned to enter into service in 2026. The company also announced the launch of a Joint Technical Assessment Phase (JTAP) to define system architecture together with partners that include Honeywell and Ohio-based battery specialists EaglePicher (via Bloomberg, BusinessWire Wright Electric):
ZeroAvia announced a partnership with ASL Aviation Holdings to work on conversion of ATR72 aircraft for cargo operations using the company's 2-5MW ZA2000 powertrain. Scaling of the company's Hydrogen Airport Refuelling Ecosystem (HARE) will work to support refuelling of the aircraft. The company also inked a deal with Rose Cay to finance the acquisition and conversion of aircraft worldwide, that included the conditional purchase of up to 250 hydrogen-electric 'engines', with first deliveries slated to commence as early as 2024 (via Yahoo! Finance, ZeroAvia I, II).
GE is set to "emerge as [an] aviation pure play after split into 3 public companies" - of the three it is the aviation unit which will keep the General Electric name. It was also reported this week that Irish aircraft leasing company AerCap (the world's largest) have completed their acquisition of GE's aircraft leasing business GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) - the combined unit now reportedly being the largest customer of both Airbus and Boeing (via ABC News, AerCap, Hospitality Ireland, Investor's Business Daily).
Nordic airline Widerøe are poised to launch their 'Widerøe Zero' subsidiary - a "consultancy-cum-incubator"that will focus exclusively on zero-emissions aviation. The company plan to have their first zero emissions aircraft in service by 2026 (via Reuters, Widerøe).
Embraer unveiled four future aircraft concepts branded Energia that included a hybrid-electric 9-seater with 500nm range, an all electric 9-seater with 200nm range, a hydrogen fuel cell 19-seater with 200nm range and a SAF/hydrogen 35-50-seater with 350-500nm range (via Embraer):