Air targets mass production and fun with its One personal eVTOL
"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.
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.
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
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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 !
VTOLS, by their nature, fall like stones. They have to be survivable at the expense of range and speed.
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 ;)
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.