Electrification and E-Flight

Jan. 18, 2018
The general public gets a glimpse at electric and autonomous aircraft.

I’ve been watching with interest the emergence of new and sometimes unusual designs of flying machines lately. Most having electric or hybrid propulsion systems and designed as a helicopter-like platform. Some piloted and others meant as autonomous vehicles in the sky.

Over the last couple weeks a few of these multi-copter, VTOL aircraft have made an appearance at some very larger non-aviation tradeshows.

AirSpaceX revealed a small-scale model of its autonomous, electric VTOL aircraft called MOBi-ONE at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Michigan. It’s designed to autonomously takeoff like a helicopter, fly like a plane, and transport passengers or cargo between urban centers.

Bell Helicopter revealed its air taxi cabin design at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Nevada. The four-passenger cabin is said to demonstrate Bell’s view of an on-demand urban air taxi ride.

The Workhorse Group also had their full-size electric-hybrid multi-copter on display at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. The SureFly Octocopter appeared last year at the Paris Airshow and was also displayed at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. I believe it is very close to first flight.

The part I thought interesting is these flying machines and concepts are appearing at non-aviation events attracting the attention of the general public - interesting to say the least.

You can read more about the above mentioned three aircraft on our website www.AviationPros.com.

The November/December 2017 issue of AMT contained a feature article, a kind of overview of E-Flight aircraft, and the first in a series on this topic so watch for the January/February 2018 issue as we talk more about these new flying machines.