There’s No Turning Back from an eVTOL Future
The electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) revolution is upon us, and there likely no turning back. That is the message from a growing number of opinion leaders at this year’s Heli-Expo.
That list includes AHS International executive director Mike Hirschberg, who points out that more than $1 billion has been invested in vehicles and related research before regulations are finalized for the category. And the roster of companies involves includes major players such as Airbus, Boeing, Bell, Embraer, Intel, Amazon, Honda, Toyota, and Uber.
This isn’t a bunch of hobbyists in garages, and Hirschberg points to a survey taken of attendees from one of his organization’s recent conferences showing that 59 percent thought that eVTOLs would become a reality within the next five to 10 years. “Electric aviation is really changing in what it will be in the future,” he said during a Tuesday afternoon presentation at Heli-Expo. “This is really a big deal. This is a lot of money. This is technology that’s really going to revolutionize flight.”
According to Hirschberg, electrically-powered vertical vehicles provide the opportunity to eliminate all the things typically viewed as drawbacks on helicopters: transmissions, gearboxes, shafting, and hydraulics. Basically, the things that break. Sikorsky’s experimental “Project Firefly” in 2010, which electrifed a Schweizer 300C, allowed engineers to remove a vast amount of mechanical systems from the air craft.
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2 May 2018