Airbus: VTOL Prototype To Fly This Year

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Airbus officials recently provided the European media with an update on their CityAirbus project to develop a four-seat VTOL aircraft, and said they expect a prototype to fly by the end of December, in Germany. “With this concept and the right approach, you can deliver an opportunity in cities,” Marius Bebesel, head of the urban air mobility project, said at the media event. “This is the first step for us, showing that the business models are working. Then the next steps I would say would be the technical milestones, such as electrification, to reduce the costs.” Airbus anticipates that fully certified VTOLs should be flying by 2023, according to Rotorhub.

The aircraft will be driven by four 140-kw lithium-ion batteries to power the eight Siemens SP200D electric motors, which directly drive the eight fixed-pitch propellers, according to a report in VerticalMag based on Bebesel’s news conference. “The only real mechanical part on this aircraft is the propeller shaft,” said Bebesel. “Of course, this simplicity has a big impact on operational cost, and this simplicity has an impact on maintenance costs.” Airbus is targeting a range of about 60 miles and a speed of about 75 mph for the aircraft, according to Bebesel. Those parameters will enable the VTOL to operate efficiently in “all the megacities of the world,” he said.

Comments (3)

- Just another crazy idea. Won't happen.
- Electric aircraft will never work. Use a proven Lycoming engine.
- The FAA kills technical advances.
- What if the engine fails?
- Real pilots won't want to fly this. I fly a NORDO J-3 / Baron IFR, and this would be boring.
- Not enough range to take my family on vacations.
- I'd never get in one of those things.
- I hate Airbus 320s.

[I think that about covers the standard responses - anything else?]

Posted by: Rollin Olson | February 27, 2018 11:35 PM    Report this comment

Four relatively heavily loaded contrarotating props. It's going to be LOUD.

Posted by: Thomas Boyle | February 28, 2018 7:09 AM    Report this comment

Again, I have to ask:
Does Airbus want to be an aircraft manufacturer, or an airline?
Does Airbus think that it can be - or HAS TO be - both?
And how will Airbus' existing customers - the airlines - react to Airbus' apparent determination to sell tickets to passengers?

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | February 28, 2018 9:38 AM    Report this comment

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