MARKET UPDATE - 01/11/2022 - ⚡️ ELECTRIC ✈️ AVIATION
EVTOL / ADVANCED / URBAN AIR MOBILITY (UAM / AAM)
LILIUM | SAUDIA
Saudi Arabian flag carrier Saudia announced the signing of an MoU with Germany's Lilium that includes the proposed purchase of 100 x Lilium Jet aircraft "alongside yearly support services" in the MENA region. The aircraft are envisaged to be used for both new point-to-point services "as well as seamless feeder connections to SAUDIA’s hubs for business class guests."
The companies will also work together on "the necessary regulatory approval processes in Saudi Arabia for certification of the Lilium Jet and any other required regulatory approvals":
CHARM AVIATION | LIFT AIRCRAFT
LIFT Aircraft have signed a partnership agreement with Charm Aviation that will see the parties collaborate on flights in New York City. The deal includes a pre-order for 100 x HEXA aircraft and envisages offering flights in the single seat eVTOL to solo pilots after less than one hour's tuition, at:
"LIFT vertiports along New York City’s many waterfront areas that provide access to the “Class G”, Visual Flight Rules (VFR) corridor that extends up to 1,300 feet around Manhattan...as early as 2023" through a joint venture with formed together with Charm.
(via LIFT Aircraft).
AMPRIUS | BAE SYSTEMS
Battery specialists Amprius Technologies signed a three year agreement with BAE Systems that will see the company "initially work with BAE Systems’ Air business, delivering its light weight high-energy batteries specifically developed for electrically powered flight applications.
Both parties agree to investigate business opportunities enabled by the use and supply of Amprius’ silicon nanowire anode batteries for electric products being developed by BAE Systems in the UK."
LUNG BIOTECHNOLOGY | OC HELICOPTERS | TIER 1 ENGINEERING
Tier 1 Engineering's electrified R44 helicopter completed a 21nm cross-country flight in the US, "the first helicopter flight between airfields solely by electric power." One of the pilots was notably entrepreneur Martine Rothblatt of Lung Biotechnology, - also CEO of parent company United Therapeutics (who are also working with both eHang and Beta Technologies), who plan:
"...to use electric and sustainable aviation fueled fixed-wing aircraft to deliver transplantable organs long distances to airports and then to use the electric helicopters and eVTOLs for the shorter hops such as from the airports to the transplant hospitals."
Co-pilot Ric Webb is CEO of OC Helicopters who plan "to offer organ delivery services via the electric R44."
"The e-R44 uses a novel quick-swap technology for its helicopter battery packs to enable return trip flights without waiting for a recharge. The time required to swap a battery pack is 15 minutes vs 1 hour for a full recharge. The specific cross-country route for today's historic flight was chosen based upon FAA approval."
(via Tier 1 Engineering).
AIR FRANCE INDUSTRIES KLM ENGINEERING & MAINTENANCE | ASCENDANCE FLIGHT TECHNOLOGIES
Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) signed an MoU with Ascendance Flight Technologies that will see the two parties "explore collaborations in the field of electrically powered aircraft and sustainable aviation" - specifically looking at VTOL maintenance solutions (via AFI KLM E&M).
BELL TEXTRON | TEXTRON AVIATION
Textron Aviation revealed a heavily revised Nexus eVTOL concept from Bell:
"Our design is a bit bigger than what we’re now seeing in the air taxi sector, weighing 8,000 pounds, with a 50-foot wingspan and a range of 100 nm"
FAA | JAPAN CIVIL AVIATION BUREAU | JOBY AVIATION
On the same day that the FAA and Japan's Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) signed a "Declaration of Cooperation to support future Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) aircraft development and operation" Joby Aviation announced that they had "formally applied for [their] revolutionary aircraft design to be certified for use in Japan."
"Joby’s application to the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (“JCAB”) for the validation of an FAA (“Federal Aviation Administration”) “type certification”, is believed to be the first of its type and is a necessary step to launching aerial ridesharing services in Japan.
Joby has long-standing ties with Japan, having welcomed Toyota as a strategic partner in 2018. As well as lending their expertise on manufacturing process development and high-volume production, Toyota is also Joby’s largest outside investor, with nearly $400m invested to date. Earlier this year, Joby also entered into a partnership with ANA Holdings Inc., Japan’s largest airline, to bring aerial ridesharing services to the Japanese market."
"In our first year, we will build 250 aircraft, our second year will build 500 aircraft, our third year will build 650 aircraft and then we scale it up to around 2,000 aircraft per year".
In an interview Supernal's COO and CEO said that:
Their "focus is to manufacture these aircraft in a high-rate, automated fashion, similar to how we do it with cars, but achieving the same level of safety that you do with aircraft"
Supernal want to "ultimately move into autonomous operations"
Sub-scale test flights by end of 2022
Certification targeted for first vehicle in 2028, automation in mid-2030s
Supernal focused on vehicle devt. but have team engaging partners on infrastructure, airspace etc.
(via Aviation Today).
The latest Silicon Valley eVTOL company to 'emerge from stealth' after some seven years in development is Alef, whose 'Model A flying car' is "designed to drive on the street, take off vertically when needed and fly overhead above traffic":
VERTIPORTS / INFRASTRUCTURE
Beta Technologies outlined considerations for eVTOL charging. 350 kW DC fast chargers are expected to be the norm and the company are already working on development of charging facilities "at about 50 airports right now...with a bunch more coming."
"Beta’s charging locations for aviation will consist of a charging dispenser adjacent to the ramp and a nearby rectifier unit that takes AC power from the electrical grid and converts it to DC power; each rectifier supports up to two chargers. A charger connects to the air vehicle using a Combined Charging System (CCS)-standard plug and 50-ft. retractable reel."
(via Aviation Week).
Skyports are to expand their Asia-Pacific footprint with the establishment of an office in Tokyo. The company will grow their team in Japan to support both planned Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) and drone services projects in Osaka and the capital (via Skyports).
SMALL PROPELLER, COMMUTER (19-SEATS OR LESS)
ELECTRA AERO | WELOJETS
(via Electra Aero).
EVIA AERO | EVIATION
Germany's startup sustainable airline Evia Aero signed a Letter of Intent with Eviation for "25 all-electric commuter Alice aircraft." The company:
"...intends to enter into service with Alice as its primary aircraft for point-to-point, sustainable regional travel within Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands":
AMPAIRE | MONTE
Monte placed a firm order for 25 x hybrid-electric, nine-seat Eco Caravan aircraft from Ampaire, with an option on 25 more:
AMPAIRE | TAMARACK AEROSPACE
Ampaire signed an MoU with Idaho's Tamarack Aerospace that will see the company's SMARTWING winglets made available on each of Ampaire's planned hybrid-electric Eco Caravan, Eco Otter and Eco King Air aircraft conversions:
Eviation added Dan Nale (former Senior Vice President of Programs, Engineering and Test at Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation) to their Technical Steering Committee and Jon Piatt (former President at L3Harris Technologies) to their board (via Eviation).
REGIONAL AIRCRAFT / MW+
ARPA-E | GE
ARPA-E awarded more than $4m USD in further funding to GE's Research division that will fund demonstration of a 350kW electric powertrain for commercial aircraft.
GE also presented the design for a full-scale 2MW version of the Electric Flightworthy Lightweight Integrated Thermally Enhanced Powertrain System (eFLITES) in order to secure the Phase II funding through ARPA-E's Aviation-class Synergistically Cooled Electric-motors with iNtegrated Drives (ASCEND) programme.
Senior Engineer John Yagielski here "shows GE’s silicon carbide (SiC) wafer and module technology...a key component required for the design of a mega-watt scale powertrain system suitable for commercial aircraft":
MagniX "announced plans to develop hydrogen fuel cells to complement its battery electric and hybrid electric systems".
The change of strategy sees the company eyeing up aircraft with larger passenger capacities than their existing offerings are able to service:
"Hydrogen has a high energy density, providing the capability to power electric aircraft of 50 to 90 passengers. By offering this technology alongside battery electric and hybrid electric systems, which will remain better suited to powering smaller aircraft, magniX will be able to offer a wider range of electric solutions to operators transitioning to carbon-free fleets."
(via PR Newswire).