Israel-based advanced air mobility (AAM) company AIR has announced that its AIR ONE electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) prototype has successfully completed its first full transition from hover to cruise flight. AIR reported that the aircraft was loaded to its maximum takeoff weight of 1100 kg (2425 pounds) for the flight and reached its “nominal” cruise speed. According to the company, it is now planning to move the majority of its operations to the U.S. for “further flight testing, development, and ongoing certification collaboration with the FAA.”
“It is thrilling to have reached this moment in our journey as we strive to build the foundation to make personal air mobility a reality,” said AIR CEO and co-founder Rani Plaut. “AIR is incredibly proud to play a role in the global AAM movement, and we’re looking forward and upward to 2024 when adoption of privately-owned eVTOLs takes flight.”
AIR says its eVTOL will cruise at 100 MPH with a top speed of 155 MPH, have a range of 110 miles and be capable of carrying a maximum payload of 550 pounds. The aircraft, which is being marketed personal rather than commercial use, is expected to have a zero- to 100-percent charging time of one hour. As previously reported by AVweb, AIR ONE finished its first series of hover tests last July.
Never seem to hear what the range on these is with AC blowing…if you’ve never been sealed under a bubble canopy, let’s just say it’s probably warmer than acceptable to the target audience who are not accustomed to “perspiring”.
Doesn’t appear an issue on this design, but for those with parked rotors during cruise, has anyone been looking at flutter and in every possible parked rotor position?
So, a sort of short range personal helicopter that anyone can use, sans pilot. Can’t exactly replace a car in an urban environment due to geographic limitations on taking off, landing, and parking. But possibly ideal for some sort of ex-urban areas where folks have enough space around their homes and destinations? Or maybe in urban areas that have roof tops capable of landing, and with charging stations? Someone help me here. I just don’t see the universality of these personal devices. Although, I’m betting the costs will just limit these to people who have disposable cash. In short, we’ll still need real point to point transportation in urbanized areas.
What about politics? The law passed in New York legislature vetoed by the governor would have restricted helicopter ops. Can you imagine the New York City area outcry about the noise several hundred of these vehicles would create? Not that I care about either issue but there are practicality issues here that will eventually have to be dealt with for this to work.
Is it really “off the ground?” Why not use an onboard charging system so you can fly all day? I don’t know of any battery that likes fast charging without cutting into your cycle life, safety and flight distance.
According to truck industry “experts”, fast charging of batteries such as those proposed in truck EVs will shorten to half of the life expectancy. “Fast charging” whatever that really means, appears to be highly detrimental to no doubt expensive battery packs, regardless of intended use. Guys like Kris Kristopherson who used to fly around in his own helicopter are few and far between, as will those who can afford these next generation toys. The big difference is that helicopters have a wide range of potential uses that compensate for the few individuals private uses, but will these contraptions? This all assumes development, registration and marketing which is probably not going to happen next year.
Patience Grasshoppers, the market will tell