The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

Kerry Lynch

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Electric Propulsion Pioneer Warns Congress U.S. Could Fall Behind Aerospace Technology Rivals

MagniX CEO Roei Ganzarski was among electric aviation advocates testifying before a hearing of the House of Representatives' aviation subcommittee.
Stakeholders backing electric aviation and plans for new urban air mobility initiatives had the chance to make the case for more proactive U.S. political leadership in support of their efforts. Those giving evidence to the U.S. House of Representatives this week included MagniX CEO Roei Ganzarski and Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, as well as Boom Supersonic CEO Blake Scholl.
MagniX eCaravan

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FAA Creates Advanced Air Mobility Council as eVTOL Type Certifications Increase

Almost one-fifth of the 37 aircraft that the FAA is evaluating for type certification are eVTOL designs.
FAA Administrator Steve Dickson told members of the U.S. National Business Aviation Association that the agency is establishing a dedicated executive council to address a wide array of tasks associated with the development of advanced air mobility technology and services. Dickson announced the move a day after the U.S. Senate joined the House of Representatives in considering a new Advanced Air Mobility Coordination and Leadership Act.
FAA EHang

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USAF Explores LiquidPiston Hybrid Propulsion Options For eVTOL Aircraft

The U.S. Air Force is awarding a $150,000 contract to see if use of a LiquidPiston rotary engine in a hybrid configuration can overcome limitations of current batteries used on eVTOL aircraft.
Noting current battery technologies limits, LiquidPiston says its X-Engine can boost range by either operating in parallel to batteries to provide lift and thrust or to continuously charge batteries on eVTOL designs. It has already demonstrated the propulsion system on smaller unmanned aerial systems.
LiquidPiston engine

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European Aviation Groups Voice Concerns Over Autonomous Aircraft Integration

A coalition of 14 organizations tell the European Union that issues related to airspace management, communications, infrastructure, liability, and costs need to be hammered out for drone integration.
The “We are all ONE in the sky” group—including commercial airlines, business aviation, general aviation, air traffic control, and pilot organizations, among others—published an open letter to European Union member states on January 25, to outline their concerns about how autonomous aircraft will share airspace with existing aircraft.
Farnborough Airport

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FAA Clears the Way to Supersonic Aircraft Flight Tests in U.S. Airspace

The new FAA rule does not lift the ban on routine supersonic flights over land.
Supersonic aircraft developers such as Boom and Aerion may now find it easier to get the special flight authorizations they need to test new aircraft at speeds in excess of Mach 1. But it doesn't mean supersonic flights will be routinely permitted over land.
Boom XB-1

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EHang Eyes eVTOL Opportunities in Sightseeing and Express Deliveries

The Chinese eVTOL aircraft developer also has welcomed the country's new standards for express delivery services using unmanned aircraft.
Through a partnership with Greenland Hong Kong, EHang will initially offer aerial sightseeing services to passengers initially from a base in the Forest Lake real estate project in the city of Zhaoqing in China's Guangdong province. The Chinese eVTOL aircraft developer also has welcomed the country's new standards for express delivery services using unmanned aircraft.
EHang Forest Lake sightseeing flight

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Blade Goes Public to Raise Funds to Build eVTOL Urban Air Mobility Fleet

The helicopter operator is planning to expand its network and prepare for eVTOL aircraft operations as it goes public through acquisition by Experience Investment.
Blade's agreement to be acquired by Experience Investment and be listed on Nasdaq is anticipated to close in the first half of 2021. The transaction is expected to result in $400 million in gross proceeds that Blade said will enable it to expand its urban air mobility routes, build up its passenger infrastructure, and accelerate plans to transition from conventional aircraft to eVTOL aircraft.
Blade

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EHang Expands Use of Unmanned Aircraft for Digital Light Shows in Europe

China's EHang reached a distribution agreement with event technology company Concept Solutions to offer AAV-powered digital fireworks through the newly created entity, DronePixel by EHang.
EHang is eying a new market in Europe for its AAV-powered digital firework shows. The company was among the first to launch an aerial media services company in China and said the use of drone technologies for digital fireworks is now widespread in Asia. However, EHang noted that the technologies are lesser used outside the Asian region.
EHang light show

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Hyundai S-A1 Remains on Track for 2028, U.S. Boss Tells Car Industry

Hyundai has formed several partnerships in its quest to enter the urban air mobility market and expects its first vehicle to enter service this decade.
José Muñoz, global COO of Hyundai Motor Company and CEO and president of Hyundai North America, recently reaffirmed the 2028 timeline for the battery-powered SA-1 personal air vehicle first detailed during the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year and said, “this project is progressing as planned.”
Hyundai S-A1

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Pal-V Liberty Fly Car Wins Approval for Operation on Roads

Pal-V's recent approval for road operation of its Liberty flying car is the culmination of years of drive and flight testing of prototypes, the company said.
Pal-V has secured European approval for road operation of its flying car, the Liberty, following an extensive drive test program conducted since February that included high-speed ovals, brake, and emission tests, as well as noise-pollution testing. The company is now eyeing EASA certification for flight in 2022.
Pal-V Liberty