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EVTOL news and progress - do we need a new dedicated section?

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EVTOL news and progress - do we need a new dedicated section?

Old 14th Nov 2023, 15:09
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EVTOL news and progress - do we need a new dedicated section?

Dear all (and esteemed mods)

I've been following developments in the future EVTOL industry with such companies as Beta Technolgies, Joby, Wisk and Archer Aviation.
I think now is the time to declare this industry a "thing" and accept that they are moving rapidly to the start of revenue flights. My guess is late 2024 or into 2025 for Joby for instance.

My thought is for a seperate section to avoid this new technology getting jumbled up with the conventional Rotorcraft forum.

As evidence take a look at this latest Joby news from New York........


I don't think we will be able to ignore these operations and should really be able to track and discuss how this unfolds.
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 16:36
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The vehicles are quite impressive from an engineering perspective, but they are basically reinventions of the helicopter but then with much lower range.
And just like helicopters the costs are high and there are so many operational limits due to safety and noise that there is no sustainable business model.

Also: Just because it is electric does not mean it is sustainable.
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 16:58
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It's a luxury item for wealthy people, at present. (Like car phones were in the 80's and 70's).
When that changes the industry will (I suspect) have a niche that it fills.
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 17:13
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and noise
I think the whole point of the Manhattan demo was to showcase the low noise signature. The clever graphics towards the end were very interesting.
Hearing in person will be proof, or otherwise.
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Old 14th Nov 2023, 22:16
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The issue is that, as with supersonic aircraft, the niche is too small to be economically sustained. The higher the cost per aircraft, the fewer aircraft, which leads to an even higher cost per aircraft, etc.

Also, an empty aircraft with near to no range is always going to be very quiet, but it is not representative for a commercially viable one.
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Old 15th Nov 2023, 07:00
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Wake me up if they manage 100nm range + legal IFR reserve. Don't think that will happen within 20 years from now.
Operational I see no difference to Jet A1 burning helicopters. And the Jet A1 fuel ist not the mayor cost driver. So what is new beside much less range and performance?
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Old 15th Nov 2023, 07:40
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Originally Posted by EDLB
Wake me up if they manage 100nm range + legal IFR reserve. Don't think that will happen within 20 years from now.
Operational I see no difference to Jet A1 burning helicopters. And the Jet A1 fuel ist not the mayor cost driver. So what is new beside much less range and performance?
Most of the reports I’ve read seem to suggest that their promotors think they will operate as autonomous air taxis in urban environments That would be new!
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Old 15th Nov 2023, 08:30
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Congratulations procede

Your post qualifies as the first EVTOL "fear, uncertainty & doubt" with shades of the early EV car doubters. The machine featured on the video is a production standard example and is the first to be flown manually. All previous examples were "experimental" and also flown remotely. FAA certification is proceeding (see what I did there) and all we need to do is have a little patience to see this come to fruition over the next year or so.

an empty aircraft with near to no range
It has the range it was designed for.....100 miles. Given that the LA basin initial operations have already been given Part 135 certification with planned networks of less than 100 miles I reckon 2025 will their Tesla moment...
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Old 15th Nov 2023, 12:42
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Originally Posted by Andrewgr2
Most of the reports I’ve read seem to suggest that their promotors think they will operate as autonomous air taxis in urban environments That would be new!
Its not new per se. Just a progression of the UAM concept which started decades ago and has since been included under the newer concept of AAM and RAM. Plenty of references out there on this if one were interested to check out.

Another reference to read on UAM is on Heli-STAR performed in the 90s which used helicopters to test parts of UAM. It was also the 1st real world test of ADSB technology. But it showed convential helicopters created to much noise and other issues to be used at street level. Regardless the UAM concept was proven which eventually led to a number of large cities developing official UAM plans that some are putting into place right now.

As to range of these eVTOLs, it was never the intent to replace existing aircraft only provide a new mode in areas where conventional aircraft cannot operate. While theres been a generation of nay sayers on this concept for decades it continues to grow and is projected to be a multi-billion doller industry within the next 10 years or so. And with the FAA, EASA, and other CAAs writing new regulations for these ops, its only a matter of time before it literally takes off. China supposedly already certified the 1st eVTOL for commercial flights and it is flying for revenue.

From my view, interesting times ahead, provided they dont start dropping out the sky and making headlines. But I doubt not even that will stop the UAM concept from moving forward.
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Old 15th Nov 2023, 12:50
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Having no business acumen, my opinion of the concept as a business model is of no value.

But I am curious to know what the target demographic is for the pilots who'll be crewing the manned versions of the VTOL devices. And what will the training involve...rotor wing, fixed wing, vectored thrust ratings ?

Or will there be so few required that crew requirements aren't a factor ? And will the position appeal to prospective pilots aspiring to something bigger down the road ?

Eviation's Alice looks pretty much like a conventional airplane so that appears self-explanatory re to pilot ratings.

UAL's EVTOL plans will require a bunch of pilots if it goes as planned:

"Archer's initial aircraft will require a pilot."

https://arstechnica.com/cars/2023/03...rting-in-2025/

Last edited by bafanguy; 15th Nov 2023 at 13:35. Reason: stuff
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Old 15th Nov 2023, 13:59
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In LA, the weather is usually pretty good, though vis can get hazy. A better market than NYC, where crap weather is quite common.
Nice post ETOPS, thanks, and I think that introduction in the LA area will allow them to gloss over the bad weather risks of dense urban environments like Manhattan ...
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Old 15th Nov 2023, 15:29
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Agreed - not sure about icing and all those rotors
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Old 15th Nov 2023, 22:26
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50
In LA, the weather is usually pretty good, though vis can get hazy. A better market than NYC, where crap weather is quite common.
Nice post ETOPS, thanks, and I think that introduction in the LA area will allow them to gloss over the bad weather risks of dense urban environments like Manhattan ...
I recently rented a Tesla after a flight so I could test drive it. I was in a hot environment, 100°F, and found that a major power suck was air conditioning. The car exhausted 75% of it's just fully charged battery in a 125 mile trip; in SoCal this might be a real issue for electric aircraft endurance. This trip convinced me there is still a ways to go before I'll consider and EV, as I do quite a bit of fairly long distance drives and weather here does stay hot in the summer.
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Old 15th Nov 2023, 22:39
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At first look, the noise (real levels) will be the selling point, along with the speed. However, I agree that this could remain niche with the overall cost of travel remaining high into the foreseeable future, notwithstanding that some will always pay for this.

The two front motors look as if the rotors can be moved in an arc from vertical? They appear to be on a 90 degree angle fixture and the motors are horizontal, with all the others being vertical. On distance that would give them more speed?
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Old 15th Nov 2023, 23:09
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However, I agree that this could remain niche with the overall cost of travel remaining high
Remind me - how many niche Gulfstrean G6 series jets are in service?
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Old 16th Nov 2023, 00:01
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Originally Posted by S.o.S.
At first look, the noise (real levels) will be the selling point, along with the speed. However, I agree that this could remain niche with the overall cost of travel remaining high into the foreseeable future, notwithstanding that some will always pay for this.

The two front motors look as if the rotors can be moved in an arc from vertical? They appear to be on a 90 degree angle fixture and the motors are horizontal, with all the others being vertical. On distance that would give them more speed?
The aircraft has wings and horizontal stab so doesn't depend on the rotors for lift during high speed forward flight when the two pods tilt forward. Sort of a hybrid. The design likely keeps the fixed vertical rotors to use for pitch and roll control in forward flight, yaw can be done by differential thrust of the two forward pods..
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Old 16th Nov 2023, 00:12
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The Lilium prototype is looking interesting, an electric variation on a “blown wing” design. (“Sucked wing”, since air is pulled over the wing by fans.)


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Old 16th Nov 2023, 08:58
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All the rotors swivel equally for forward flight hence the 200mph cruise speed.

https://media.npr.org/assets/img/202...-s800-c85.webp
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Old 16th Nov 2023, 09:40
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With ducted fans the Lilium design needs 2x the power compared to an Helikopter to hover.
https://lilium.com/newsroom-detail/t...Njc0My4wLjAuMA..
Even so they claim that this stage is short (<60 seconds) certification requirement will be, that under single fault condition the craft still can hover. So the enormous power for hover need to be supplied by an almost empty partial (divided into redundant sections) battery.
To my knowledge all electric aircrafts wait for the wonder battery with several multiples of the current cell capabilities.
From all battery electrification projects flight is the hardest. If you add safety concerns for passenger transport only very narrow use cases are currently left.
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Old 16th Nov 2023, 11:52
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The Lilium jet design is just too 'busy' for its own good. KISS was always a good principle in aviation, that vehicle has too many moving parts!
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