Airbus Begins Untethered Flights Of CityAirbus eVTOL

Credit: Airbus

Airbus conducted the first untethered flight of its CityAirbus electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) air-taxi demonstrator at the end of 2019.

Video of the short hover flight in Donauworth, Germany, was posted to Airbus’ Facebook page.

The ducted-propeller CityAirbus made its first tethered hover flight in Donauwurth in May 2019, and flying is scheduled to move to the Manching air base near Ingolstadt, where unmanned envelope-expansion testing can be conducted in restricted airspace.

The four-seat CityAirbus is one of two eVTOL air-taxi demonstrators built by Airbus. The first, the single-seat tilt-wing Vahana, completed flight-testing in the U.S. in November 2019, logging more than 13 hr. over 138 flights. 

While the Vahana project was focused on autonomy, CityAirbus is centered on electric propulsion, including developing a safe high-voltage architecture. The aircraft has eight 100-kW electric motors driving four coaxial pairs of fixed-pitch propellers and uses motor rpm for flight control.

The 110-kWh battery will provide 15 min of autonomous flight at up to 120 kph (75 mph.). The propulsion architecture is designed to withstand a single failure anywhere in the system.

Flight-testing of the CityAirbus is to continue through 2020, and results from both projects will be used to inform work at Airbus on technologies and regulations for urban-air-mobility (UAM) vehicles. 

“While I can’t give a date for when you can expect to see the next Airbus electric vertical-takeoff vehicle, I can tell you the design has already been worked on over the past year,” said Zach Lovering, vice president of UAM systems at Airbus, in a December blog post.

“Once [the CityAirbus test] campaign is complete, we’ll be able to take the team’s final learnings and apply them to the next vehicle. This will include considerations around how many passengers the aircraft will transport as well as the final vehicle configuration,” he said.

Graham Warwick

Graham leads Aviation Week's coverage of technology, focusing on engineering and technology across the aerospace industry, with a special focus on identifying technologies of strategic importance to aviation, aerospace and defense.


The city is Donauwörth, not Donauworth or even Donauwurth, as misspelled in this article.
What do UBER say , anything ?