Donauwörth, Bavaria, Germany
CityAirbus demonstrator is a multi-passenger, autonomously piloted electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle designed for urban air mobility.
Eight pitch rotors are powered by eight specially designed Siemens SP200D direct-drive 100 kW units relying on four 140 kW batteries developed by Airbus’ Defense and Space arm. The CityAirbus will carry up to four passengers with a cruise speed of 120 km/h (75 mph). The demonstrator model currently has 15 minutes of flight time. The vehicle is designed to fly autonomously. The four carbon fiber ducted co-axial propeller configuration will contribute to a low acoustic footprint. Each duct provides 400 kg (881 lb) of thrust for a payload of up to 250 kg (551 lb).
Airbus plans for a high volume production allowing for low cost units. The CityAirbus is designed to be environmentally friendly way. The first commercial flights will employ a pilot, allowing for an entry into the market before regulations or air traffic control systems have adapted to large autonomous vehicles. The vehicle will transfer to a pilotless system once these regulations are in place.
The vehicle is intended for flying between fixed routes between critical transit hubs like downtown to an airport or seaport. Type certification and commercial introduction are planned for 2023.
Although the CityAirbus has a significant resemblance with the Italdesign/Airbus “Pop.Up Next” concept, these are separate projects.
Ground tests were begun in 2018. An unpainted photo of the unmanned demonstrator was released on Mar. 6, 2019, and the company conducted the official unveiling of the demonstrator in Ingolstadt, Germany, on Mar. 11, 2019.
The first uncrewed tethered flight of Airbus Helicopters’ CityAirbus took place on May 3, 2019 at the Airbus Helicopters flight test facility in Donauwörth, Bavaria, Germany. While there was no official statement made by Airbus Helicopters and no photos or videos released, Bruno Evan, CEO Airbus Helicopters, made a congratulatory tweet to the CityAirbus team on May 3, 2019. We confirmed with Rotor & Wing Magazine, through direct communication with Airbus Helicopters, that the first flight date was May 3, 2019.
Then on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, the first uncrewed untethered flight of the CityAirbus was made at the Airbus Helicopters flight test facility in Donauwörth, Bavaria, Germany. The Dec. 21, 2019 date was confirmed with a CityAirbus official on the project. The hover test flight lasted for about five minutes and was remotely piloted.
The CityAirbus is a demonstrator aircraft and this aircraft has not been confirmed as a production aircraft. Airbus Helicopters final Urban Air Mobility (UAM) aircraft (or possibly aircrafts) could look completely different from the CityAirbus demonstrator eVTOL aircraft. It has been stated by engineers in the eVTOL industry, that the most efficient UAM aircraft will be those which can take off and land like a helicopter but use wings (with forward propellers) for sustained forward flight.
As of 2020, Airbus Helicopters Donauwörth facility employs approximately 6,500 people.
- Aircraft type: eVTOL
- Piloting: Autonomous
- Capacity: 4
- Maximum speed: 120 km/h (75 mph)
- Maximum flight time: 15 minutes
- Propellers: 8 (4 pairs counter-rotating propellers in 4 carbon-fiber ducts)
- Electric motors: 8 Siemens SP200D 100 kW electric motors with approximately 950 rpm
- Power: Batteries, capacity 110 kWh
- Empty weight: 2.2 tons
- Payload weight: 250 kg (551 lb)
- Windows: Large front and side windows for spectacular views.
- Landing gear: Fixed skid type landing gear
- Safety features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors/propellers fail, the other working motors/propellers can safely land the aircraft.
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- Article: Airbus reaffirms commitment to CityAirbus eVTOL program, EVTOL, May 5, 2020
- Article: CityAirbus performs first untethered flight, EVTOL, Jan. 10, 2020
- Article: CityAirbus Demonstrator Makes First Untethered Flight, Avionics International, Jan. 10, 2020
- Article: Airbus shares glimpse of CityAirbus progress, EVTOL, Dec. 3, 2019
- Article: City Airbus eVTOL Prototype Makes First Flight in Germany, Avionics International, May 6, 2019
- Article: City Airbus eVTOL Prototype Makes First Flight in Germany, Rotor and Wing Magazine, May 3, 2019
- Article: CityAirbus eVTOL Could Fly Next Month, AerospaceDaily, Feb. 27, 2019
- Article: CityAirbus demonstrator passes major propulsion testing milestone, Airbus, Oct. 3, 2017
- Article: Air Mobility Bonanza Beckons Electric VTOL Developers, Vertiflite, Mar./Apr. 2017
- Article: Future of urban mobility — My kind of flyover, Airbus Forum Magazine, Summer 2016
- Video: CityAirbus First Untethered Flight, EVTOL, Jan. 11, 2020
- Video: Airbus Urban Mobility, Airbus, May 14, 2019
- Video: CityAirbus – First Public Presentation 11th of March 2019 in Ingolstadt, Germany, Bauma-Stefan SH Construction, Mar. 11, 2019
- Video: CityAirbus Urban Air Mobility, Airbus Helicopters, Mar. 12, 2018