Aircraft

Air targets mass production and fun with its One personal eVTOL

Air targets mass production an...
The Air One is a sporty little personal eVTOL with a pop-top 2-seat cabin
The Air One is a sporty little personal eVTOL with a pop-top 2-seat cabin
View 6 Images
The Air One is a sporty little personal eVTOL with a pop-top 2-seat cabin
1/6
The Air One is a sporty little personal eVTOL with a pop-top 2-seat cabin
The Air One is a two-seat personal eVTOL aircraft with a focus on fun and practicality
2/6
The Air One is a two-seat personal eVTOL aircraft with a focus on fun and practicality
Air says it's already validated some of its calculations in a full-scale prototype
3/6
Air says it's already validated some of its calculations in a full-scale prototype
With its wing angled back, the One gives you winged flight without a pusher prop
4/6
With its wing angled back, the One gives you winged flight without a pusher prop
Step up on the footboards to hop in
5/6
Step up on the footboards to hop in
Impressive range and cruise speed figures for a multicopter design
6/6
Impressive range and cruise speed figures for a multicopter design
View gallery - 6 images

"Fun" and "playful" are just about the last things most eVTOL companies want to be seen as; air taxis will need to be exceptionally boring in order to inspire public confidence and quick uptake. But there's another class of eVTOL starting to pop up here and there that's more about the pleasure of flight than about cheap A-to-B transport: the buy 'n' fly personal eVTOL.

Here's a new one out of Israel. The Air One, best we can tell, is a fixed-wing two-seater that conducts VTOL operations via eight vertical lift rotors mounted coaxially on four pods extending from the front of the cabin and the twin tail fins.

It appears to have retractable landing gear, and the sleek-looking cabin pops up to let the pilot and passenger hop in and out. Designed as an aircraft owners can fly for themselves, it gives you a glass panel forward of your feet through which you can see some of the ground below as you come in for landing. That's a nice practical touch, as are the collapsible wings, which will presumably squish this thing down small enough to fit in a garage.

Impressive range and cruise speed figures for a multicopter design
Impressive range and cruise speed figures for a multicopter design

While it's a winged design, it doesn't appear to have a pusher prop. So while we wouldn't call it a straight multicopter, it probably doesn't fit in the lift & cruise category either. Instead, the wings are mounted with a rearward tilt, such that they level out when the aircraft tilts forward to achieve forward motion, producing lift that takes some stress off the props.

This is an interesting take on things – the thrust from the props always has a significant vertical component – but it doesn't seem to suffer from too much inefficiency as a result of the lack of a pusher prop. Air promises a very decent range of 110 miles (177 km) per charge, endurance of about an hour and cruise speeds up to 155 mph (250 km/h).

The company is working on its own "fly by intent" control system, designed to make flying this thing as easy and accessible as possible. It's also developing an AI-enabled monitoring system to perform "frequent inspections of the vehicle and eliminate(s) checklists for riders to ensure paramount safety."

Air says it's targeting mass production for these machines, and is working with the FAA on G1 certification, which will define what Air needs to do in order to get this thing type certified. It's not clear yet what kind of pilot's license you'll need to fly one, and while pre-orders are now open, pricing won't be announced until early next year.

Air says it's already validated some of its calculations in a full-scale prototype
Air says it's already validated some of its calculations in a full-scale prototype

The company says the One is "intended for adventure, fun, and day-to-day flying by consumers," that it's "infused with a spirit of adventure," and that it'll merely be "the first in a line of diversified, playful models for personal flight."

The Air One joins the Tetra Mk5, the NFT Aska, the NeXt Personal Air Taxi and the Urban eVTOL Leo, among others, in the ranks of eVTOL aircraft designed for personal ownership rather than air taxi fleet use. It remains to be seen what the market appetite will be like; in 2017, just 2,324 general aviation aircraft were sold in the United States, bringing the total number of active GA aircraft to 213,050.

Developing and certifying an aircraft for commercial sale is no joke, and making it a transitioning electric VTOL adds further complications. Companies like Air will need to pull in some serious – and seriously patient – money to get through into production, although the fact that the company says it's already testing full scale prototypes would suggest these guys have already demonstrated the ability to move in financial and technical circles.

Certainly an interesting space to watch!

Source: Air eVTOL

View gallery - 6 images
10 comments
10 comments
dan
lol... please air evtol team study at least why aircraft have a "small wing" in the tail section and what aerodynamic forces will occur (hint: it has to do with flight stability and CG and forces are huge, so get a proper, stable design!)
Username
The Blackfly should be added to that list.
guzmanchinky
I mean, as a pilot and an avid drone flyer, I can't wait for these to take off (pun intended), but also as a pilot, I don't trust anything that hasn't been tested to death (pun intended)...
paul314
Personal aviation has always been a relatively rich person's hobby, but much more so since liability insurances accounts for the lion's share of the cost of each aircraft produced. Which might change for the newer models if they can establish an impeccable safety record. But that's a sort of chicken-and-egg problem.
Aermaco
Whatever the speed and range claimed it sure would be much more efficient i.e. more speed and range if the rotor pods could face into the same direction as the wing lift with the fuselage lowest drag coefficient direction. The props will be sucking energy trying to lift while the body creates a negative lift forcing it down as props try to pull it up draining the batteries. It's a real nice toy, but not a logical aircraft.
Towerman
@guzmanchinky

This design do seem to have some flaws however multicopters in genetal have been tested for over 5 years in dubai, add to that they are in commercial operation in China.

Add to that multicopters have been around for over a decade, their reliability proven beyond any standards required.

Your typical manned or transport multicopter will barely utilize 10% of it's gyroscopic abilities.

3d helicopters perform flawlessly, unless you make a mistake they don't faulter and they utilize almost 10 fold the gyroscopic power.

Their ststem haveen pushed to the brink of its abilities and tested far beyond boundries to perfection of what a manned multicopter will ever require !

The age of relibility and endurance is here it's called the multicopter !
ArdisLille
Humans have a tendency to think we're infallible behind the wheel of any moving contrivance. Private aircraft WILL be purchased and maneuvered by pilots who engage in typical distracting behavior: Reaching for a cig, taking a swig, searching for something in that bag back there, blanking out while on the phone. Only they'll be falling from the sky, rather than denting a guard rail or sculpting someone's front lawn. The roofing industry will be dealing with a whole new building code, and I'll be moving into my basement.
clay
These evtols (and vtols in general) need to have structurally survivable "roll cages" incorporated into their designs. Heavy? Yup. But a standard 1-3g (non-accelerating) impact rating *and* the method to keep the acceleration below that steady-rate should be standard.

VTOLS, by their nature, fall like stones. They have to be survivable at the expense of range and speed.
clay
also... Ducted fans are clearly the way to go with these designs... regardless of efficiency or thrust issues. shrapnel and "body parts" protection is 100% mandatory for such proximal bladed lift devices.
Steven Clarkson
@ardislille
You seem to think an evtol will be sold to every grunt living next door. NO that will not be the case, they will have to receive specialized training and be licensed and with that license comes responsibility it will be easy to see who breached the regulations while flying many ways to determine that via technology and the person will be held accountable so sorry to burst your bubble but NO we will not see individuals crash in backyards by the truckload ;)

@clay
No absolutely ZERO roll caging infrastructure is needed. By nature EVTOLS does Not fall like stones, did you get your knowledge from 12th century star gazing prophets ?

Modern EVTOLS are Reliable using the latest super robust brushless electric motors and beyond robust flight controlling hardware.

These systems have virtually ZERO moving parts much safer than a mechanical helicopter.

And no ducted fans are not needed whatsoever.
You seem to repeat old debunked myths from the very first uninformed individuals, normal aircraft have been flying without ducts for decades ;) and that without any electronic braking.