Wisk, Blade To Partner On Air Taxi Ops

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Air taxi developer Wisk Aero has announced plans to provide up to 30 electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for short-distance routes in Blade Urban Air Mobility’s U.S. network. Pending certification of its eVTOL design, Wisk says the aircraft will be chartered by Blade while being owned, operated and maintained by Wisk. The partnership agreement also includes the formation of a working group to “engage with regulators and municipalities and pursue charging infrastructure and next generation air traffic control systems.”

Blade currently offers flights in the Northeast and West Coast regions of the U.S. operating primarily helicopters and amphibious aircraft. “We look forward to working with Wisk to help accelerate Blade’s transition from conventional rotorcraft to safe, quiet, emission-free Electric Vertical Aircraft,” said Blade CEO Rob Wiesenthal.

Wisk, which is a joint venture between Boeing and Kitty Hawk, is currently developing the Cora autonomous eVTOL. The aircraft is expected to have a range of about 25 miles plus reserves and travel at approximately 100 MPH. According to the company, it has completed around 1500 test flights to date and plans to begin initial test flights in Blade’s service areas “when possible.”

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, that’s impressive. To have finalized a design and now working to get it approved under FAA ROTARY FAA rotary wing standards and FARs for air taxi operations (with autonomous flight!).

    That’s incredible.

  2. Yes, absolutely incredible (as in, impossible to believe).

    Let’s see… Who here would agree to pay for a ride in an AUTONOMOUS (no pilot) aircraft with fully-charged a range of only 25 miles??? DEFINITELY not me!!!

  3. Finalized design?

    “According to the company, it has completed around 1500 test flights to date and plans to begin initial test flights in Blade’s service areas “when possible.” When possible is the key wording here.

    Nothing is “finalized” when the FAA has not finalized what the certification regulations which would include how and when to integrate these so called urban mobility aerial conveyances within both fixed wing and rotary wing commercial aviation that currently exists. Plus, establish what a certified infrastructure will consist of. We all know the FAA is quite capable of making a simple plug in the wall a regulatory and thus an engineering nightmare

    “The partnership agreement also includes the formation of a working group to “engage with regulators and municipalities and pursue charging infrastructure and next generation air traffic control systems.””.

    CORA was the relatively easy part. They have yet to formulate a working group to engage regulators (FAA and whoever else that might include) and municipalities ( whose leadership change often in the same time frame it takes the FAA to make its glacial speed regulatory decisions). Can you imagine the confusion that will result of trying to explain to local and regional current aviation ignorant municipality leadership what aerial “urban mobility” really is, the demands of it’s required infrastructure, all regulated by the FAA…who has yet to figure out its own rules? By that time, CORA will be obsolete with its 25 mile range and 100MPH speed.

    A faster and far cheaper solution to “urban mobility” is purchasing a fleet of used Prius’s, paving an additional lane for those autonomously guided used Prius’s hauling tablet and smartphone toting passengers who presently do not look out the windows nor seem interested in much more than what is on the screen in front of them. A Prius is capable of 100MPH, hauling four folks of any girth and weight with range and hauling capacity vastly superior to CORA. Following current airline service practices, I am sure Boeing can figure out a way of stuffing 8-10 tablet/smartphone screen mesmerized travelers into a 4 passenger Prius. Besides, most engaged in their screen time will not notice if they are flying or ground bound…they aren’t looking outside anyways. For the elite, a fleet of used Tesla S’s if a Prius is beneath their sophistication threshold.

    Solving the technology challenges are the easy or easier parts of the “urban mobility” crisis. The regulatory and education of the municipal leadership, FAA approval, and infrastructure installation and implementation are far more difficult to solve.

    Besides, at the present rate several of the US’s major cities are hemorrhaging people and businesses resulting in the rapid decline of commercial real estate values, there will not be a need for “urban mobility”. Most productive companies will be long gone. CORA is trying to solve a problem of “urban mobility” that may not exist in a few years with the continuation of the current business climate. Just about the time the major cities downtown areas are largely vacant of businesses and people, the FAA will announce they have solved all of the regulatory issues and will issue a NPRM for comment and nobody remaining will care.

  4. Jim,

    Let me be the first to tell you I LOVED this:

    A faster and far cheaper solution to “urban mobility” is purchasing a fleet of used Prius’s, paving an additional lane for those autonomously guided used Prius’s hauling tablet and smartphone toting passengers who presently do not look out the windows nor seem interested in much more than what is on the screen in front of them. A Prius is capable of 100MPH, hauling four folks of any girth and weight with range and hauling capacity vastly superior to CORA. Following current airline service practices, I am sure Boeing can figure out a way of stuffing 8-10 tablet/smartphone screen mesmerized travelers into a 4 passenger Prius. Besides, most engaged in their screen time will not notice if they are flying or ground bound…they aren’t looking outside anyways. For the elite, a fleet of used Tesla S’s if a Prius is beneath their sophistication threshold.

    Made my day and I couldn’t agree more.

  5. If within 5 years my groceries can be delivered to my lake house via CORA and sometime thereafter deliver me to my lake house, life will be a lot easier, the family will spend more time there and the value of said lake house will quadruple. I travel via Tesla and love it. This project, like Tesla, looks unlikely to some on front end, but is an obvious reality in the long run. Hats off to the innovators. Put me in for the IPO.