NASA LA-8 eVTOL Testbed laboratory.

NASA Flying LA-8 Testbed

NASA Langley Research Center on April 24 premiered a video describing its Langley Aerodrome 8 (LA-8) modular unmanned aerial vehicle, a testbed the agency called a “flying laboratory for urban air mobility.” NASA is using the LA-8 to investigate different eVTOL technologies and configurations in the hopes of aiding the private sector in establishing the UAM market. The LA-8 is composed of a fuselage encasing the data...

ElectraFly

ElectraFly and Utah Association to Collaborate on 3D Parts

The Utah Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Initiative (UAMMI), a multi-disciplinary association working to strengthen the state’s manufacturing and technical capabilities, announced April 14 it had partnered with Salt Lake City, Utah-based personal flying vehicle developer ElectraFly to create 3D-printed carbon fiber aircraft parts for its hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft. The companies will jointly apply lessons UAMMI...

MagniX eCaravan.

eCTOL News

Electric propulsion system designer MagniX and engineering, testing and certification firm AeroTEC conducted the first flight of an all-electric conventional takeoff and landing (eCTOL) modification to a Cessna Caravan 208B plane on May 28. AeroTEC called the 11-seat eCaravan (shown) the largest commercial electric aircraft to date. The 30-minute flight over AeroTEC’s Moses Lake Flight Test Center in Washington State was a...

Daedalean Head of Flight Testing Louis Schreuder holds a prototype of a 4-camera (positioning, landing and detect-and-avoid) dome used for mounting on helicopters.

AI Software Developer Daedalean Gaining Momentum

AI Software Developer Daedalean Gaining Momentum

By Richard Whittle

Daedalean AG — a four-year-old Swiss startup developing aircraft-agnostic flight control software using computer-vision and machine-learning to perform tasks ranging from pilot augmentation to fully autonomous flight — is conducting a Series B funding round with a $25M goal by the end of this...

Agility Prime, USA.

Agility Prime

The US Marine Corps announced March 10 (during a VFS-organized media briefing) its intention to partner with the US Air Force on the latter’s Agility Prime project, contributing funding and potential use cases towards the goal of accelerating commercial certification and assessing potential government uses for non-traditional electric or hybrid-propulsion VTOL aircraft. Like the USAF, the Marine Corps said it hopes to nurture...

UrbanAero CityHawk VTOL, Israel.

Urban Aero, Ascent Partner for Asian UAM

Israeli ducted-fan VTOL maker Urban Aeronautics announced on March 20 a partnership with Singapore-based helicopter charter booking company Ascent Flights Global to offer UAM services in Asia using the CityHawk, a six-seat manned VTOL aircraft manufactured by Urban subsidiary Metro Skyways. Although currently powered by a turboshaft engine, the aircraft is being designed for operational conversion to a hydrogen-powered eVTOL....

VoltAero hybrid-electric eCTOL, France.

eCTOL News

France’s VoltAero conducted the first flight of its Cassio 1 hybrid-electric conventional takeoff and landing (eCTOL) aircraft on March 10 at its Royan-Médis Aérodrome facility. The testbed aircraft was powered by two 80-hp (60-kW) Safran ENGINeUS 45 electric motors with forward-facing propellers, three 80-hp Emrax electric motors driving a rear pusher prop, and a 402-hp (300-kW) modified Nissan V6 internal combustion...

Kitty Hawk Heaviside in flight, USA, 2019.

eVTOL Aircraft Damage Reports

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded on March 27 that the crash of an unmanned Kitty Hawk Heaviside (above, Kitty Hawk credit) eVTOL during an Oct. 17, 2019, developmental test flight in Tres Pinos, California, was caused by a software timing error affecting the aircraft’s controllability. The timing error had, in turn, been caused by an operator failing to terminate a battery charging script prior to...

Stealth-Mode Archer Startup Poaching UAM Talent

A secretive eVTOL aircraft startup has been reportedly hiring away experienced engineers from other urban air mobility (UAM) companies, according to Aviation Today on April 6. The publication’s unnamed sources said Archer Aviation of Santa Clara, California, has collected a team of about 20 individuals, including previous employees from Kitty Hawk and from Airbus’ Vahana demonstrator team. The sources added that Archer...

SkyDrive's first crewed eVTOL flights between December 2019 - March 2020 in Japan.

SkyDrive Completes Japan’s First Manned eVTOL Test Flights

SkyDrive, Inc., announced April 7 it had completed the first manned test flights of an eVTOL aircraft in Japan, and appointed aerospace engineer and former Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation executive Nobuo Kishi as its chief technology officer (see “Leadership Moves,” pg. 10). The Tokyo-based startup first launched an unmanned outdoor test flight in December 2018, followed by numerous technical verifications and manned test...