The Future of Advanced Air Mobility
Nick Klenske

Nick Klenske

Nick Klenske writes about science, technology and innovation, with a particular focus on aerospace. His work covers such subjects as business and commercial aviation, Urban Air Mobility (UAM), drones/UAVs, air traffic control, Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM), GNSS, satellite navigation, defense, and space exploration – among others. He has lived and worked in both the U.S. and Europe and has written for both the private and public sectors, including the European Commission. He currently lives in Chicago.    

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Piasecki Prepares To Step Up Testing Regime for Hydrogen-Powered Helicopter

Piasecki Aircraft's CEO and president, John Piasecki, provided a detailed PA-890 helicopter program update at recent Vertical Flight Society events.
Piasecki Aircraft aims to build and fly a full-scale prototype of its hydrogen-powered PA-890 helicopter in 2023. Before then, it will evaluate the high-temperature fuel cell technology provided by its partner HyPoint in an existing helicopter and will conduct extensive ground testing of the technology to be used.
Piasecki unveiled the concept for its hydrogen-powered PA-890 helicopter in August 2021.

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How Methanol Is Staking a Claim to Be a Key Enabler for Hydrogen-fueled Aviation

U.S.-based start-up Element 1 is advancing the case for using liquid methanol as a means of producing net-zero-carbon hydrogen fuel for aircraft.
Hydrogen is gaining ground as a medium- to long-term alternative aviation fuel that will deliver on carbon-neutral objectives, but it is only as green as the process used to make it. This conundrum has prompted Element 1 to develop a process using methanol as a feedstock.
Element 1 is developing a process for making hydrogen aviation fuel from methanol.

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For Jaunt's eVTOL Design, Slow Rotor Compound Technology Is the Secret Sauce

The company's approach in designed to deliver the best of both the fixed-wing and rotorcraft worlds.
To date, Jaunt Air Mobility has been pursuing its advanced air mobility ambitions in a more low-key manner than some of its eVTOL rivals. However, through a pending merger with the Airo Group and multiple partnerships with leading aviation companies, Jaunt says it is ready to fully exploit the potential of its slow rotor compound technology.
Jaunt's Journey eVTOL aircraft operating over a city center.

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Vertical Flight Society Promotes Understanding of Hydrogen's Potential for Green Aviation

The organization is holding its first H2-Aero Symposium & Workshop in Long Beach, California, on March 29-31.
The first H2-Aero Symposium & Workshop will bring together multiple companies pioneering hydrogen propulsion technology for aviation with government and industry leaders seeking to promote the green fuel's adoption for new aircraft. The latest Vertical Flight Society event follows its recent Transformative Vertical Flight conference, which heard from another strong hydrogen advocate, Anita Sengupta Anita Sengupta whose HydroPlane start-up is working on plans for a 1-MW powertrain that will support various types of electric aircraft.
Universal Hydrogen is developing a plan to load hydrogen fuel into aircraft in pre-filled capsules.

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New U.S. Legislation Provides Firmer Foundation for Advanced Air Mobility

During the Vertical Flight Society’s recent Transformative Vertical Flight conference in San Jose, California, Supernal's head of policy, Diana Cooper, addressed how regulatory paths may be getting clearer.
Recent legislation in the U.S., such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, has established funding and regulatory paths to support the rollout and adoption of new forms of air transportation, such as those promised by eVTOL aircraft. According to Diana Cooper, global head of policy and regulations at Hyundai’s eVTOL division, Supernal, regulators are at last starting to deal with transportation needs at a multimodal level that could see advanced air mobility become a valued addition to national infrastructure.
Vertiport Chicago is close to the center of the U.S. city.

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Elroy Air Makes the Case for Chaparral's Transformation of Air Cargo Services

The U.S. start-up is working to bring its autonomous, hybrid-electric Chaparral C1 VTOL cargo transporter into commercial service by 2023.
According to Elroy Air co-founder David Merrill, his company's autonomous Chaparral C1 VTOL cargo transporter will bring the convenience and profitability of express freight deliveries to corners of the earth that cannot be reached by current aircraft and ground vehicles. He told the Vertical Flight Society's Transformative Vertical Flight conference that it will provide unprecedented door-to-door connections for cargo deliveries.
Elroy Air's autonomous Chaparral C1 VTOL cargo transporter aircraft.

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Jaunt Broadens Access Skyways eVTOL Initiative with Airport Group Avports

Avports, which has been managing and operating airports for 95 years and runs 30 facilities around the U.S., wants to help pave the way for commercial eVTOL aircraft operations.
U.S. airports group Avports says it has joined Jaunt Air Mobility's Access Skyways initiative as part of its wider commitment to making air transport more environmentally sustainable. It will work with the eVTOL aircraft developer and other expert partners to prepare the complex array of infrastructure and service and support provisions needed to support commercial operations with electric aircraft.
Avports and Jaunt Air Mobility executives signed an agreement for the Access Skyways alliance.

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Sikorsky Teases Possible Advanced Air Mobility Plans In VTOL Technology Talk

The helicopter manufacturer highlighted electric propulsion and automation as priorities for its research and development work on autonomous and optionally piloted flight.
Almost 12 years have passed since Sikorsky announced Project Firefly to explore the potential for electric-powered helicopters, and yet the U.S. group's ambitions in the advanced air mobility sector are no clearer. During a presentation at the Vertical Flight Society's Electric VTOL Symposium, strategy lead Jonathan Hartman spelled out what Sikorsky sees as the priorities for technological advances while avoiding any specific commitment regarding what the rotorcraft giant might deliver.
Sikorsky Matrix technology platform for helicopters.

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Counting the Cost of Urban Air Mobility Flights

Will eVTOL air taxi services really be able to deliver the promised on-demand flights affordable across income groups, or will this be another perk for high-net-worth individuals?
Companies preparing to launch eVTOL air taxi services say they will offer very affordable flights based on greatly reduced operating costs and economies of scale. Some aircraft developers have projected per-passenger-mile costs of between $1 and $3, but questions remain as to whether all aspects of their operating costs are sufficiently well known, with so many aspects such as ground infrastructure and regulation still not resolved.
Lilium Jet

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5G Connectivity Advances Set To Expand the Horizons for Autonomous Flight

While enhancing its software platform to support drone operations using low-altitude authorization and notification capability, Skyward is also looking to deliver enhanced autonomous flight capability by tapping 5G cellular networks.
Connectivity technology group Skyward is improving the support its platform provides for drone operators using the FAA's low-altitude authorization and notification capability while investing in longer-term advances in the use of 5G networks. Beyond existing drone services, the improved connectivity will support autonomous operations for eVTOLs and other new air vehicles.
Skyward