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.