MARKET UPDATE - 04/10/2022 - ⚡️ ELECTRIC ✈️ AVIATION
EVTOL / ADVANCED / URBAN AIR MOBILITY (UAM / AAM)
GLOBEAIR | LILIUM
GlobeAir announced their intention to purchase up to 12 x Lilium Jet aircraft from the Munich-based eVTOL developer with a focus on operations "in the French Riviera and Italy with a first and last mile service":
BLADE INDIA | EVE URBAN AIR MOBILITY SOLUTIONS
Blade India and Eve announced a partnership focused on the Indian air mobility market. The deal includes a non-binding order for up to 200 x eVTOL aircraft plus service, support and provision of traffic management software. "The companies also plan to collaborate on a three-month pilot project connecting passengers using helicopters":
SkyDrive unveiled the design of their in-development SD-05 eVTOL aircraft. The two-seat all-electric vehicle is "operated by a driver-pilot" at cruise speeds of 100km/h / 54kts over 5-10km distances. MTOW of 1,100kg / 2,400lbs, 12 rotors, 9.4 x 9.4 x 2.7m dimensions.
Touted use cases include passenger transit, tourism and emergency medical applications:
The company also announced ¥9.6 billion ($66.3m USD) in Series C funding, most coming from new investors in a round dominated by Japanese financial and industrial heavyweights, including:
SCSK Corporation - a Japanese IT / software company based in Tokyo
Kansai Electric Power Company - a large regional Japanese utility
Kintetsu Group - local railway owning group and repeat investors
Suzuki Motor Corporation - with whom the company have partnered "on mass production and potential sales in India and other parts of Asia"
Sompo Japan - the country's second largest property insurance company
Tokio Marine Holdings - the largest property insurance group in Japan
Toyota Iron Works (Toyotetsu) - a major supplier of metal car parts
Nippon Kayaku - a chemicals / pharmaceutical conglomerate whose products include epoxy resins
NHK Spring Co - a specialist in springs and maker of car seats
Pegasus Tech Ventures - a global venture fund headquartered in Silicon Valley whose portfolio includes Airbnb, SpaceX and Robinhood
Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank - one of Japan's largest asset managers
MUFG Bank - Japan's largest "megabank"
Resona Group - Japan's fifth largest financial group
Wisk unveiled their 'Generation 6' autonomous, four-seat eVTOL air taxi with 12 propeller configuration - including larger 5-blade front props - front luggage storage, individual passenger displays, 90-mile / 144km range (with reserve), 110-120kts cruise, and targeted 2,500 - 4,000ft AGL cruise altitude:
As announced by the company on Twitter September 21st, and subsequently widely reported by outlets including Bloomberg, Kittyhawk "have made the decision to wind down" the business. The company founded in 2010 were famously backed by Google co-founder Larry Page.
Vertical Aerospace's VX4 reportedly lifted off the ground for the first time in a tethered hover test with Chief Test Pilot Justin Paines on board:
(via Vertical Aerospace).
AIRBUS | ECOCOPTER
Airbus signed an MoU with Chilean helicopter operator Ecocopter (who operate a 21 strong fleet of Airbus helicopters) that will see the two parties "collaborating on the launch of urban air mobility services across various countries in Latin America...notably in Ecuador, Chile and Peru":
BOEING | WISK
Boeing and Joint Venture (JV) partner Wisk unveiled a Concept of Operations (CONOPS) for uncrewed Urban Air Mobility (UAM) in the United States:
Chinese electric car maker Xpeng's eVTOL offshoot - Xpeng Aero HT / Xpeng Huitian - will reportedly debut their Voyager X2 "roadable aircraft" overseas in the UAE, following the granting of a permit by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority:
(via Yicai Global).
EVFLY | SKYFLY
EVfly have reportedly signed an LOI with Skyfly ( and paid deposits) for the purchase of three of the company's 'Axe' two-seat eVTOL aircraft "with an option on five more." Intended uses for the aircraft include eVTOL pilot training in Thailand:
CORUS-XUAM | HOLOGARDE | M3 SYSTEMS | PIPISTREL | VOLOCOPTER
"M3 Systems, air traffic management (ATM) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) operator, light and electric aircraft manufacturer, Pipistrel, and Volocopter...completed their first joint flight test campaign in France at Pontoise airfield.
The week-long flight tests simulated three different avoidance maneuvers in real-world situations where unforeseen circumstances occur, such as a complete airport or vertiport closure, an unavailable final approach and takeoff (FATO) area, and traffic deconfliction. This joint campaign between the three companies and the French partners, Groupe ADP and its wholly-owned subsidiary Hologarde, aimed to achieve smooth interaction within and between the new lower airspace’s unmanned traffic management (UTM) and standard civil aviation ATM systems."
The flights were conducted as part of the EU-funded CORUS-XUAM programme:
(via M3 Systems, Volocopter)
TECNALIA | UMILES
Spain's UMILES flew their 'Concept Integrity' prototype air taxi at the Onera Test Field near Toulouse as part of the EU funded Tactical INstrumental Deconfliction And In flight Resolution or 'TindAIR' initiative. Together with partners Tecnalia:
"In this demonstration, other UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) flew alongside the air taxi to show that this new traffic element can successfully coexist in urban areas in the near future.
At the event, UMILES Next was able to test automatic flight control and autonomous take-off and landing on its eVTOL aircraft...making it possible to integrate the air taxi into the U-space."
Lilium shared video of the Lilium Jet achieving "full transition on wings and canards" during a test flight:
Beta Technologies are reported to be pushing ahead with a previously touted plan to lease 20,000 sq ft of a former Energizer battery plant in St Albans, Vermont. The company have a view to "moving over time into a total of 155,000 square feet in its portion of the facility" to build battery packs for their aircraft (via Yahoo!).
HANWHA SYSTEMS | KOREA AIRPORTS CORP | KOREA METEOROLOGICAL INSTITUTE | K-UAM DREAM TEAM | LX | SK TELECOM
SK Telecom are leading the K-UAM Dream Team consortium pursuing an air taxi pilot project on Jeju island in South Korea. Other partners include Hanwha Systems, Korea Airports Corporation, LX (a public geospatial information provider) and the Korea Meteorological Institute (via Yonhap News Agency).
NASA shared details of their upgraded Mobile Operations Facility (MOF) that will be used "to test systems required to integrate air taxis, cargo delivery, and other AAM concepts into the National Airspace System":
KULR TECHNOLOGY GROUP
"...received an order from a leading Fortune 500 commercial aviation company...to provide its suite of battery design and safety solutions in the development of its new electric vertical takeoff and landing (“eVTOL”) aircraft.
KULR expects this order to be the first of several from the customer, as the implementation of KULR’s products and services will be fundamental in the testing and evaluation of the customer’s battery-powered aircraft design."
(via Globe Newswire).
Florida's Luftcar announced plans to develop a hydrogen fuel cell powered hybrid-electric powertrain targeted at the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) market, dubbed HYDROB. It "will serve to give enough vertical thrust to lift vehicles up to 8500 lb. GVW. and cover distances up to 500 miles":
(via Hydrogen Central).
VERTIPORTS / INFRASTRUCTURE
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released 51 pages of new design guidelines for vertiports on September 26th to "serve as the initial step to provide key information for airport owners, operators and infrastructure developers to begin development of facilities that will support operations of AAM aircraft that are electrically powered and take-off and land vertically" which will be used "until performance-based vertiport design guidance is developed."
Addressed topics include:
Safety-critical geometry and design elements
Lighting, markings and visual aids
Charging and electric infrastructure
SKYDRIVE | VOLATUS INFRASTRUCTURE
Japan's SkyDrive announced a "strategic alliance" with US-based vertiport company Volatus Infrastructure that will see them "utilize Volatus’ advanced air mobility (AAM) infrastructure including vertiports and charging stations" in the US, as well as wider collaboration on promoting Advanced Aerial Mobility (AAM):
AECOM | FERROVIAL
Infrastructure consultants AECOM are partnering with Ferrovial's Vertiports division "to identify optimal sites for a planned vertiport network connecting strategic locations in Florida" using a proprietary due diligence framework.
“Our vision is that the Ferrovial vertiport locations designed by AECOM will provide an industry-leading, user-friendly, and convenient experience for passengers and eVTOL operators"
SMALL PROPELLER, COMMUTER (19-SEATS OR LESS)
ELECTRA AERO | MINT AIR
South Korea's Mint Air are reported to have signed an LOI with Electra Aero in the US that will see the company take delivery of up to 50 of the company's nine passenger / 1,800lbs payload eSTOL aircraft starting in 2026/27:
(via Future Flight).
Eviation's prototype Alice aircraft flew for the first time - for 8 minutes and up to an altitude of 3,500 feet - from Grant County International Airport (MWH):
REGENT CRAFT | TOTALENERGIES
Regent Craft announced the completion of a series of test flights with the company's quarter-scale, 18ft wingspan "electric sea glider" technology demonstrator, and shared video footage:
(via Regent Craft).
Electra Aero announced first flight of 'Dawn One' - a "solar-battery hybrid electric research aircraft" with 90ft wingspan, to be used for stratospheric climate observations as part of a NASA contract in partnership with MIT through the Stratospheric Airborne Climate Observatory System (SACOS) programme:
(via Electra Aero).
Australian startup Kite Magnetics have raised a $1.2m USD funding round "to design, build, and test the 65-kilowatt motor for initial use with two-seat electric light aircraft, like Pipistrel’s Velis Electro." The company have plans to scale up to a 650kW Electric Propulsion Unit (EPU) for use in turboprop aircraft "such as the Cessna Grand Caravan":
ZeroAvia shared footage of their Dornier 228 prototype - fitted with a 600kW hydrogen-electric fuel cell powertrain - undergoing high speed taxi testing at Cotswold Airport in the UK:
US startup Panwhar Jet announced the start of a $3.5m USD crowdfunding campaign via WeFunder. The company are planning to build an all-electric fixed wing aircraft with five seats, 250kts cruise, 1,400lbs payload capacity, 3,500lbs MTOW and "flight time between 6 to 8 hours" dubbed 'ElectroBird':
REGIONAL AIRCRAFT / MW+
TEXTRON AVIATION | ZEROAVIA
ZeroAvia and Textron Aviation entered into a non-exclusive agreement that will see the two parties work together to obtain a Supplementary Type Certificate (STC) for a modified version of the Cessna Grand Caravan, retro-fitted with a ZeroAvia ZA600 hydrogen-electric powertrain. Certification is targeted for 2025:
HINDUSTAN AERONAUTICS | HONEYWELL
Honeywell reportedly signed an MoU with Hindustan Aeronautics to jointly manufacture the company's 1-megawatt turbogenerator for hybrid-electric aircraft applications (via Manufacturing Today).
HEART AEROSPACE | MSB
Heart Aerospace have contracted Canada's MSB (a subsidiary of France's Sogeclair) "to design and develop some 60 key structural components for the cabin, flight deck and cargo areas" of their recently announced ES-30 aircraft.
"The scope of work includes full provision of floor coverings, headliners, acoustic and thermal insulation, emergency equipment throughout the fuselage, and cabin seat integration. Individual components to be provided for the individual aircraft zones include the flight deck console trim panels, side ledges and stowage systems; cabin sidewalls, window shades and passenger service units, as well as cargo area linings, tie-downs and nets. Completion of the first phase of the project is anticipated in the final quarter of 2023."
CLEAN AVIATION JOING UNDERTAKING
The European Union funded Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking (CAJU) announced funding for 20 projects, five of which relate to development of hybrid electric regional aircraft (full list here):
HE-ART - coordinated by Rolls-Royce Germany - related to multi-MW hybrid-electric propulsion system development
AMBER - coordinated by GE's Italian Avio Aero subsidiary - also related to multi-MW hybrid-electric propulsion system development
TheMa4HERA - coordinated by Honeywell - related to thermal management solutions
HECATE - coordinated by Collins Aerospace in Ireland - related to electrical distribution solutions
HERWINGT - coordinated by Airbus Defence and Space - related to innovative wing design