The aircraft industry has witnessed incredible shifts in the past three decades. There has been mushrooming passenger demanding for air travel. For instance, as per the statistics by the United States Department of Transportation (BTS), in the year 2022, the airlines in the United states carried 104 million more passengers, registering an increase of 30% year-to-year than what it was in the year 2021. In terms of the total number of passengers carried in the calendar year, the U.S. airlines registered 853 million passengers in that year. This was an increase from 658 million passengers in the year 2021. To mitigate the rising demand for air travel, researchers are amalgamating latest of the technologies such as hybrid-electric propulsion aircraft. This technology is a solution of a humongous problem of significant carbon emission through the aviation, which is expected to be around 2.5% of global CO2 emissions. In this blog, we will explore various parameters about hybrid electric aircraft or propulsion system.
It all started during the year 2009-10 by NASA researchers Mark D. Moore. He introduced the concept of a personal/one-man aviation vehicle. Later, in the year 2014, electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) was introduced by AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics). From then onwards, a spark has been ignited and changed the perception of how we would travel in air. Enthusiasts have already commenced fantasizing of flying cars that too in affordable prices.
eVTOL possess the capability to disrupt the helicopter industry. It has been estimated that approximately 200+ companies are working recklessly to fabricate eVTOL (electrical vehicle takeoff and landing vehicles). Owing to the various benefits of the eVTOL over the conventional helicopters, the demand for such air travel would rise in future. Some of the advantages of the eVTOL are as follows-
Recently, the president of the United Airlines, Michael Leskinen, stated in one of his speech that for a number of reasons, helicopters are expensive to operate, and they also have multiple points of failure. With the advent of these commercial UAV drones, this would not be the case. Owing to these many advantages, various countries are coming ahead in the domain of eVTOL development. Let’s take a glimpse on that in further reading.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (AAA) delivered a Special Airworthiness Certification to Santa Clara, California-based Alef Aeronautics’ Model A electric flying car. The startup, which is backed by SpaceX, have already started taking pre-orders for the car which is priced at USD 3 Million. In the final three months of 2022, already more than 400 people have paid the initial deposit of USD 150 to join the general queue or USD 1500 to get the priority access for the delivery of these vehicles.
In Japan, LIFT Aircraft demonstrated its first-ever piloted eVTOL aircraft, HEXA, for the FY2022 Subsidy for Urban Business Creation Flying Car Projects of the Osaka Prefectural Government. The demonstration was also aimed to be a Candidate Demonstrator for the Japan Association’s project, Expo 2025. Prior to this, LIFT Aircraft has already concluded its Phase 1 flight test and beginner flight envelope development with the Air Force of the United States.
In Germany, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) delivered its G-1 Certification Basis to Lilium N.V. for its Lilium Jet eVTOL aircraft. Earlier, in 2020, the eVTOL manufacturing company received primary airworthiness authority from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Moving forward, the organization looks forward in enabling global operations by pursuing concurrent certification through validation by the FAA, under the provisions of the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement between the United States and the European Union.
The 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic games which is scheduled to be held at Paris, France, would highlight the electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL) services for the first time ever. These services, which have never been experienced in any of the Olympic games held earlier, would be provided in association with Groupe ADP and Volocopter, supported by Paris Region and the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC). During the recent International Paris Air Show, all these four organizations confirmed that their aim of bringing Urban Air Mobility (UAM) to life in the city is on track for the coming games. Besides this, the partners would start with two tourists round trip flights and three connection routes. The tourist round trip flights would be offered between Heliport and Le Bourget of the city. The three connection routes, on the other hand, would be between Charles de Gaulle airport – Le Bourget airport, Vertiport of Austerlitz barge and Heliport, as well as Heliport and Airfield of Saint-Cyr-l’Ecole (Versailles) of Paris.
Undoubtedly, air travel by using zero emission airplane or electric aircrafts would become a popular mode of transportation when compared to traditional taxis, backed by the numerous benefits it carries. As per Research Nester analysis, the global eVTOL market was around USD 9.31 million in year 2022 and is expected to grow to USD 36.34 million by 2035. People worldwide are ready to welcome flying taxis and individuals who prefer air travel, are ready to make the switch from their current mode of mobility to a flying-taxi service in the coming years. The notion of the ‘Advanced Air Mobility’ is definitely going to become a buzz word in the coming future. The concept deals with connecting places through vertical aircraft through and skipping the road travel. The air travel has been done by helicopters by now, but eVTOLs are expecting to step into this niche soon. Furthermore, the wireless communication networks toward the 6th generations to render innumerable lucrative opportunities in eVTOLs by 2030.