Kitty Hawk, Falck Partner On Emergency Response eVTOL


All-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer Kitty Hawk and international health care company Falck have announced that they will be collaborating on adapting Kitty Hawk’s Heaviside eVTOL for emergency response operations. According to the companies, the partnership’s first priority will be developing a framework for integrating Heaviside into emergency services. Falck intends to introduce the Heaviside emergency response model in Denmark, where the company is based, before bringing it to the U.S.

“The agreement with Kitty Hawk takes us to the next level in our commitment to integrate eVTOL aircraft into our ambulance operations,” said Falck CEO Jakob Riis. “Kitty Hawk brings the technology, while we at Falck contribute with our ambulance service area as a use case. This combination gives us the best conditions to investigate how we can jointly unleash the potential of new technology and develop the ambulance-borne health solutions which are likely to set the standard in the near future.” 

California-based Kitty Hawk reports that the Heaviside eVTOL has demonstrated a range of 100 miles, speed of 180 MPH and noise level of 35 dBA at 1,500 feet AGL. Kitty Hawk has currently built 13 Heaviside prototypes which have completed more than 700 test flights to date. Following its introduction in 2019, the eVTOL was selected as a finalist for the Robert J. Collier Trophy.

Video: Kitty Hawk
Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. If there is a massive earthquake, or a major winter storm, or a major fire, chances are the electric grid goes down. In those common emergency situations I’m curious about why anyone would want to have electric emergency vehicles.

    • You may not be aware of this, but there are machines that, in an emergency, can run on gasoline or diesel (or even potentially jet fuel), and *produce electricity*. They call them generators. I mean, I know they’re kindof obscure so it’s not too surprising that you wouldn’t be familiar with them.

      See most of the time, critical infrastructure gets its electricity from the grid, but when the grid fails, organizations like emergency services, hospitals, etc will run on generators to enable them to continue to provide services. It works pretty well, to be honest. It’s called a “Backup”, and people that do emergency planning are aware that backups are necessary.

      I’m glad I was able to educate you today.

    • Seriously. Next thing you know hospitals will start running really critical equipment like ventilators and other life support systems on unreliable electricity. Could you imagine? The may even have to invest in backup generators because of their short-sightedness on depending on electricity to run such critical devices. That would be a disaster!

      • Emergency service vehicles run on diesel, gasoline, or jet fuel. Reason is you can have a tanker that can immediately refuel the vehicles.

        Personally I think loud rescue helicopters are better than silent ones. Imagine being lost in the woods at night with one flare and never hearing a rescue helicopter pass nearby.

  2. Regarding the pusher props: in this configuration they appear to offer the benefit of a less disturbed airflow over the lifting surfaces and also eliminating prop wash over the fuselage and empennage. When directed downwards thrust is clear of the airframe, which might be more efficient.

  3. Looks like the concept flies well, making a smooth transition from vertical to horizontal flight, then back to vertical for landing. Denmark will serve as a good testing environment for this emergency flight air ambulance service vehicle.

    I get a kick out of the “green” environmentalist push for conversion of all transportation to electric power, oftentimes being critical of hybrid designs employing an internal combustion engine ala Prius, for range and alternative power source when the batteries run dry for a myriad of potential reasons.

    I wonder where the electrical power reserves are in an already overloaded American power grid for this proposed electrical transportation conversion? Europe is not America in size including electrical needs. Nor has America figured out how to set up the existing road network nor the the aviation infrastructure providing electrical needs to “fuel” these electrical conveyances for anything beyond urban travel.

    I think investing in Generac along with fossil fuel production is still prudent. The world is still a long way off from becoming purely electrical. Texas and California residents have been feeling what it’s like to be suddenly “off the grid”. Not fun to be totally dependent on a highly taxed, old, and sometimes over capacity, under-performing electrical power supply system fails when it fails at a time you need it the most. Another glimpse of what we have to look forward to, nationwide, moving forward in 2021 and beyond.

    • Thanks to Alex, I figured a way to get my “grounded” electric Skymaster out of Ft Stockton. I now carry a couple of EU2200 inverter generators and four five gallon containers of gas. When the grid goes down and I can’t refuel normally, I just pour the fuel into the EU2200’s, go have something to eat and when I get back, my steed is ready to go … for another 100 miles. Then I stuff all that back into the back seat and off I go. Simple. The best part is I’m still saving the planet. OH! Forgot. I special ordered the EU2200’s in “feel good green.”

      • Which do you think is more secure in the long term: The supply of electricity or the supply of Avgas?

          • In 2017, the US GA fleet burned 200 million gallons of Avgas. That’s the equivalent of about 23,000,000,000 kilowatt hours of energy. Meanwhile, the US electrical grid produces 4,127,000,000,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in a year. If all Avgas-burning aircraft in the US switched to electric that would require just a 0.5% increase in electricity production. Avgas is used by (very generously) 500,000 licensed pilots in the US, electricity is used by 330,000,000 people in the US. TEL, the key ingredient in Avgas is made in ONE plant in the entire western world. Electricity is produced in hundreds of thousands if not millions of unique locations in the US. If Avgas disappeared tomorrow, I doubt it would even make the mainstream news. If electricity disappeared tomorrow, there wouldn’t be mainstream news.

            So are you delusional about this or just burying your head in the sand? One of those is disqualifying for an aviation medical.

  4. Alex, are you delusional, or, just burying your head in the sand thinking electric propulsion is in any reasonable way going to replace avgas burning engines in airplanes as a viable means of transportation within any meaningful time frame, if at all?

    • …and now you’re changing the subject. I asked about the security of the supply chain for Avgas and electricity, as the brilliantly analytic Larry S was concocting some ridiculous hypothetical about not being able to get electricity from the grid.

      Show me where in this thread I said that electric propulsion was a reasonable replacement for Avgas-burning airplanes within a meaningful timeframe.

  5. It’s our nature to pick a side on every question and to stoutly defend our pick; it’s also our nature to minimize or even to ignore the reality that our pick, whichever one it is, has it’s downsides.

    Assuming we don’t commit to a course of action that requires violating laws of physics, we can do anything we want to as long as we can stomach the downsides. If global warming (excuse me, that’s now climate change) causes the sea to swamp New York City we can just accept it & relocate to higher ground. If we decide running aviation on electricity will, evidence notwithstanding, somehow prevent the downside moving cities would entail, we can do that too. But we must accept that as long as the electricity must be carried in batteries it’s going to be a very different and very, very much more limited aviation. What will it be? Personally, I’d keep the effort concentrated on ground transport, where the downsides are at least manageable with the application of sufficient $$$.