The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

FutureFlight Weekly News Roundup

Helisul Aviation intends to add Moya Aero’s autonomous eVTOL aircraft to its fleet, having last week signed a letter of intent with the Brazilian start-up covering the purchase of 50 of the all-electric vehicles. With a payload of 200 kilograms (440 pounds) and a range of up to 110 kilometers (70 miles), the aircraft is being developed for roles such as cargo deliveries and crop spraying.

Helicopter operator Helisul is also planning to operate Eve Air Mobility’s four-passenger, piloted Eve eVTOL aircraft and has conducted trial operations with the manufacturer in and around Rio de Janeiro using existing rotorcraft. The company says it will operate the Moya vehicles through its Helisul Drones division. Moya aims to start test flights with a full-scale prototype before the end of this year and wants to have it certified and ready to enter service in 2025.

In January, Moya said it had secured a $2 million grant from FINEP, a Brazilian government organization that promotes science, technology, and innovation. The design features two pairs of propellers installed on a tandem wing configuration, each with its own electric motor. Rather than tilting the wings or propellers, the fuselage rotates between vertical and horizontal phases of flight.

Business aviation service group Redwings has announced plans to launch eVTOL air taxi services, starting in Mexico City. The company signed a non-binding letter of intent to buy up to 20 of the four-passenger Journey vehicle being developed by Jaunt Air Mobility, starting with 10 units and with options for 10 more. Jaunt, which is part of the Airo Group, is working to complete type certification for the Journey in 2027 under Transport Canada Part 529 requirements and then under the FAA’s Part 27 and 29 rules.

The aircraft, which features both a fixed wing and a rotor, uses the company’s patented slow rotor compound technology, which reduces drag and vibration by lowering the speed of the main rotor to about 10 rpm during cruise flight. It is expected to have a maximum speed of 175 mph on flights of up to around 100 miles.

“The elevation of Mexico City at 7,349 feet is higher than Denver, Colorado, and presents challenges for many VTOL aircraft operating at this altitude,” said Redwing president Bernardo Moreno. “The Journey’s highly efficient vertical flight capability enables this aircraft to operate at altitude with no performance limitations.”

Mexico's Redwings plans to operate the Jaunt Journey eVTOL aircraft.
Mexican business aviation group Redwings plans to operate the Jaunt Journey eVTOL aircraft. (Image: Jaunt Air Mobility)

Redwings operates a fleet of managed aircraft including Embraer Legacy 600 and Hawker 800XPi jets, and a Bell 505 helicopter. It runs an FBO at Queretaro Intercontinental Airport, around 130 miles northwest of Mexico City, and provides maintenance, repair, and overhaul services.

Hydrogen fuel cell developer H2Fly says it has successfully coupled its system to the HY4 aircraft it is preparing to use for flight testing that should start this summer. The German company announced on April 28 that the on-ground testing of the liquid hydrogen (LH2) storage system had been achieved with its partner Air Liquide at the French energy group’s facility in Grenoble. According to H2Fly, the process to couple an aircraft-integrated LH2 fuel tank with the fuel cell system in the four-seat HY4 aircraft marked the final stage in preparing the powertrain. Last month, H2Fly and Air Liquide completed testing of the filling process as part of their contributions to the wider European Union-funded HEAVEN project, involving six companies demonstrating the use of liquid cryogenic hydrogen to power aircraft.

H2Fly's HY4 technology demonstrator aircraft.
H2Fly and its partners are preparing further rounds of test flights with the HY4 technology demonstrator aircraft. (Image: H2Fly)

“With the successful passing of the on-ground coupling tests, we have learned that it will be possible to scale up our technology for a 40-seater aircraft,” said H2Fly founder and CEO Josef Kallo. “We are thrilled to be making this crucial progress as we continue our efforts towards making sustainable medium and long-haul flight a reality.”

France’s Absolut Hydrogen is teaming with ZeroAvia to develop liquid hydrogen production, storage, and refueling capability at airports. The recently announced partnership is part of wider efforts by ZeroAvia to develop the infrastructure needed to support its plans to convert existing regional airliners to hydrogen propulsion using its fuel-cell-based technology.

The companies said they will work together to build and demonstrate liquefaction and liquid hydrogen storage at airports. They will also work on a concept of operations for hydrogen refueling, including safety standards and the path to scaling up the process.

ZeroAvia is developing hydrogen refuelling infrastructure for regional airliners.
ZeroAvia and partners including Absolut Hydrogen are developing hydrogen refueling infrastructure for regional airliners. (Image: ZeroAvia)

ZeroAvia is developing a conversion kit to power 19-seat aircraft with a 600-kilowatt ZA600 powertrain using gaseous hydrogen. Longer-term plans envisage the larger ZA2000 powertrain burning liquid hydrogen to power aircraft with between 40 and 60 seats by 2027.

A team of researchers led by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has received a $1.4 million grant from NASA to study noise produced by eVTOL aircraft. Specifically, the researchers will look at how new eVTOL air taxis can take off and land quietly in urban areas with unpredictable wind gusts.

According to Vladimir Golubev, an Embry-Riddle professor of aerospace engineering and a principal investigator on the project, turbulent wind conditions in dense urban environments pose unique aerodynamic and acoustic challenges that “need to be controlled through the development of accurate response-prediction tools and optimization strategies.” In collaboration with Boston University, Virginia Tech, Tuskegee University, and Joby Aviation, the Embry-Riddle researchers will also study suitable locations for rooftop vertiports, as well as flight routes that would minimize noise pollution in densely populated cities.