It was about a year ago that we first heard about Transcend Air Corporation's Vy 400, a planned vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) six-seater aircraft that will ferry passengers in and out of cities. Now, the Boston-based company has announced plans for floating environmentally-friendly landing pads for the aircraft.

Known as "vertipads," the barge-based landing spots are being developed in a partnership between Transcend and Indiana's Lily Helipads. According to Transcend, a network of the pads will be installed on bodies of water adjacent to city centers – planned locations include Boston Harbor, the Manhattan waterfront, Montreal's riverfront, and San Francisco Bay.

Each vertipad will be entirely solar-powered, and will use that power for a patented LED take-off and landing lighting system, along with a heating system that melts away snow and ice. The pads will reportedly also be crash- and hurricane-proof, plus they will incorporate a fluid runoff capture system, that keeps liquids such as de-icer and fuel from entering the water.

And on the topic of fuel, the Vy aircraft will not be electric … at least, not at first.

"They will be turbine-powered initially, burning SAJF (sustainable alternative jet fuel), which is a biodiesel/Jet-A blended fuel from renewable sources that reduces sulphur dioxide emissions by 80 percent and nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide by 20 percent," Transcend COO Peter Schmidt tells us. "We have carefully designed the aircraft so we can electrify the fleet when electric tech advances far enough."

The company plans to launch its air taxi service – incorporating the vertipads – in 2024. And it should be noted that the Vy 400 will also be able to utilize existing conventional helipads.

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