The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

FutureFlight Weekly News Roundup

Eve Air Mobility Appoints New CEO

Eve Air Mobility this week announced the appointment of Johann Bordais as its new CEO. The leadership change will be effective September 1, with Bordais transitioning from his current role as president and CEO of Embraer Services & Support. Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer is the majority shareholder in Eve, which is developing a four-passenger eVTOL aircraft.

Since September 2021, when Eve launched plans for its initial public offering on New York’s Nasdaq exchange via a merger with special purpose acquisition company Zanite, the Embraer spin-off has been led by co-CEOs Andre Stein and Jerry DeMuro. The listing was completed in May 2022. Both executives are staying at the company, with Stein becoming chief strategy officer and DeMuro being appointed executive vice president of corporate development.

“Eve has made incredible progress and accomplished important milestones in the development of an eVTOL aircraft and the urban air ecosystem under the leadership of DeMuro and Stein,” said Eve chairman Luis Carlos Affonso, who is also Embraer’s senior vice president of engineering, technology development, and corporate strategy. “Now, with the acceleration of our vehicle development and increased focus on operations and entry-into-service of our eVTOL, Johann Bordais’s outstanding addition to Eve’s team [will aid] our mission to create urban air mobility.”

Zanite Acquisition co-founder Kenn Ricci announced his intention to step down from the Eve board by the end of October. DeMuro will take his place as a director.

VoltAero and Wisk Make EAA AirVenture Show Debuts

Electric aircraft developers and advanced air mobility (AAM) pioneers converged in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, last week for the annual EAA AirVenture. Two prominent companies, Wisk and VoltAero, made their EAA AirVenture debuts this year. 

Wisk, a Silicon Valley-based Boeing subsidiary developing autonomous eVTOL air taxis, flew its two-seat Cora aircraft, its fifth-generation technology demonstrator, at the show on July 25. This was the first public demonstration flight of Wisk’s fully autonomous aircraft.

Meanwhile, the hybrid-electric Cassio 330 aircraft built by French start-up VoltAero made its North American debut at the show. VoltAero displayed a full-size mockup of the Cassio 330, complete with Avidyne’s new customizable Quantum avionics platform. 

Aura Aero’s Integral S Starts Flight Test Campaign

French start-up Aura Aero says it has successfully completed the first flight test of its Integral S aircraft, a major milestone in the path toward achieving fully electric flights with its Integral family of two-seat trainer airplanes. While the Integral S model has a conventional engine, the subsequent Integral E model will be powered entirely by batteries. 

The Integral S took off on its inaugural flight from Toulouse-Francazal Airport on July 28. Aura Aero will continue the Integral S flight-test campaign over the coming months as it works toward EASA CS-23 certification, which the company aims to receive in 2024. 

Aura Aero's Integral S training aircraft
Aura Aero is developing an electric-powered version of its Integral S aircraft. (Image: Aura Aero)

Aura Aero is also developing a 19-seat hybrid-electric regional airliner called the ERA and recently froze the design for this project.

PAL-V Launches ‘Flying Car’ Showroom in Germany

PAL-V is preparing to open Germany’s first-ever “flying car” showroom in Munich. The Dutch company is developing a drive-and-fly vehicle called Liberty, which will be the first so-called flying car to go on display at Motorworld München, a luxury automobile showroom and exhibition center that recently opened in the city’s northern Schwabing-Freimann suburb. 

The company plans to hold a grand-opening ceremony at the showroom on Sunday, September 3—the first day of the Motorworld Mobility Days trade fair, which is being held concurrently with the IAA Mobility Show in Munich that week. 

PAL-V’s two-seat Liberty vehicle, which is already approved for road use in Europe, is expected to be certified for flight in 2024 under EASA’s CS-27 rules governing small gyroplanes. 

PAL-V's Liberty flying car
German auto enthusiasts will soon be able to examine PAL-V's Liberty flying car at a new showroom in Munich. (Image: PAL-V)

VerdeGo Aero Partners with SMA for Hybrid-Electric Powertrains

Propulsion system developer VerdeGo Aero has forged an alliance with Röder Präzision’s SMA Aero Engines division to collaborate on producing hybrid-electric powertrains for new aircraft. SMA’s new SR-305-VDG diesel engine will be deployed as a key element in VerdeGo Aero’s VH-3-185 powerplant, which will have an electrical power output of 185 kilowatts and weigh 650 pounds. SMA has produced the SR-305-VDG exclusively for VerdeGo Aero, having made design changes to boost power output, while also making the hardware more compact and lower weight.

According to David Eichstedt, VerdeGo Aero’s director of advanced concepts, the VH-3 is intended for new eVTOL and eSTOL aircraft rather than retrofitting existing models. Jaunt Air Mobility has selected the powertrain for the hybrid-electric version of its Journey eVTOL aircraft.

In July 2022, VerdeGo Aero completed a $12 million Series A funding round. Raytheon Technologies, which includes aircraft engine maker Pratt & Whitney, was the main investor.

VerdeGo Aero's VH-3-185 hybrid-electric powertrain
VerdeGo Aero's VH-3-185 hybrid-electric powertrain incorporates SMA's new SR305-VDG diesel engine. (Image: VerdeGo Aero)

Australian eVTOL Developer AMSL Aero Appoints New Chair

Australian advanced air mobility start-up AMSL Aero has appointed a new chairperson, U.S. Navy veteran Chris Smallhorn, to help advise the company’s executive leadership team throughout the development and service entry of the Vertiia eVTOL aircraft. The company recently began flight-testing a prototype of the five-seat Vertiia aircraft in the Australian outback. 

Smallhorn, who lately served as the CEO and v-p of Coulson Aviation Australia, is a retired Navy commodore and former commander of the Navy’s Fleet Air Arm. He is an adjunct associate professor at the University of Sydney’s renowned business school and currently serves as vice chairman of the board of Safeskies Australia. He has been an adviser to AMSL Aero since 2022. 

AMSL Aero's Vertiia eVTOL aircraft.
Australia's AMSL Aero is developing the Vertiia eVTOL aircraft. (Image: AMSL Aero)