Aerospace

Video: Yet another air taxi completes first test flight

13 July 2022

Israeli aerospace startup Air has successfully completed the first hover tests of its full-scale prototype electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

Called Air One, the eVTOL aircraft performed multiple hovers throughout the day and the following weeks, lifting off, hovering in place and then returning to the ground.

Air is seeking to develop partnerships in the U.S. to assist in the development of infrastructure and policy related to urban air mobility (UAM) and is working with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to finalize certification of vehicles and guidelines for pilot licensing.

Toward commercialization

The flight of the Air One continues the push of air taxi manufacturers to advance the development of aircraft designed to transport passengers across cities or from city-to-city. What once was a dream of science fiction is inching toward reality as eVTOL aircraft are reaching a point where commercialization is not that far away.

In fact, many eVTOL vendors are targeting a date of 2024-2025 for first air taxis to be available. While this will be small scale at first, it will ramp up in the years following as vendors reap revenues.

Air, however, is not targeting commercialization on a public scale but more for individual consumers to embrace eVTOL flight in a personal transportation alternative for short distance travel. Air One is capable of taking off and landing from any flat surface with a 250 kg payload with two passengers traveling at speeds up to 155 mph.

Air One can be stored in most garages and driveways and is suitable to be placed in trailers so it can be used for daily commute or adventures out of the city, the company said.

Just last month, Volocopter successfully tested its first flight of the VoloConnect four-seat air taxi that is designed for inner-city and city-to-city travel. That test followed Volocopter’s trial of its full-size VoloCity air taxi that may be used to transport passengers to and from the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Joby Aviation also recently received from the FAA the Part 135 air carrier certificate that will help move the company toward commercialization of air taxis.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com


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