Jason Pritchard - Global Air Taxi News
Aviation and aerospace experts from across the world came together yesterday (Wednesday), albeit virtually, for Foresight Aerospace 2020.
The one-day virtual conference talked about the latest developments in urban air mobility, eVTOL, electric aviation, R&D technology, future airspace/systems and airline/airport innovation. It consisted of six sessions, featuring presentations, panel discussions and Q&As.
Led by Darrell Swanson, speakers included senior figures from ADS Group, Airbus, Autonomous Flight, EHang, EmbraerX, Faradair Aerospace, Frazer-Nash Consultancy, H55, Jaunt Air Mobility, Logika Consultants, Roland Berger, Rolls-Royce, Saab Technologies, Samad Aerospace, Vertical Aerospace, VoltAero, VRCO and ZeroAvia.
There were also presentations from the National Grid, UK Research and Innovation, UK Civil Aviation Authority and the Innovation Hub.
One of the sessions, entitled ‘Urban Air Mobility and eVTOL’, featured Kaydon Stanzione, CEO of Jaunt Air Mobility. In his presentation, he talked about the importance of combating the growing rise of traffic congestion in some of the world’s biggest cities, and more about Jaunt’s plans for its own eVTOL aircraft.
He said: “Jaunt is not just building an aircraft, we are building a complete eco-system which consists of everything that it takes to launch this aircraft. This is very important, because if we build a fleet of aircraft and make it available to the public, if there are not enough trained pilots, MROs and FBOs in position, then we’re not going to be able to have the high up tempo of operations that we’re looking at.
“Jaunt’s eVTOL aircraft would fly eight hours a day, 2,000 hours a year. So these are some of the things we’re looking at right now, and we’re working with partners which have experience in flight operations and maintenance and repair.”
Stanzione also used the presentation to announce the company will be flying a demonstrator this year. The aircraft, which is a technology demonstrator acquired from a previous company, will be a cross of a hybrid and use both electric power and an internal combustion engine.
“Our goal is to have the aircraft flight worthy and providing flight demonstrations by November. That is a big initiative for us and we’re really excited to put that into place,” he adds.
Also giving a presentation was Lawrence Blakeley, Head of Power Supply at Vertical Aerospace. He talked more about the Bristol-based firm’s journey since being founded in 2016 and its eVTOL passenger aircraft, called Seraph. The concept was unveiled for the first time in Canary Wharf earlier this year.
Blakeley said: “It was taking off-the-shelf technology; the motor drives, motors, battery and landing gear, and proving that the technology was good enough for us to start the journey to create an eVTOL aircraft for the urban air mobility market.
“The [Canary Wharf unveiling] was a really specific activity to see if we could take this off-the-shelf technology and create a redundant system which could evolve to satisfy the aerospace requirements.”
Blakeley added that the company is currently working on a new ‘multicopter winged eVTOL’ that will fly in 2021, but that no further details will be released until the product launch later this year.
This session concluded with a panel discussion about the vision for urban air mobility and developing airspace for the industry, which featured David Rottblatt, Urban Air Mobility Leader at EmbraerX, Head of European Market at EHang, Rémi Petitfrere, Dan Hayes, CEO at VRCO, and Stanzione.
Other panel discussions during the day including ‘Improving Sustainability within Aviation’, with Adam Morton, Head of Environmental Technology at Rolls-Royce and Chair of Sustainable Aviation, Glenn Llewelyn, VP of Zero Emissions at Airbus and Managing Director Logika Consultants, Toby Gibbs.
‘Sub-regional Travel and Electric Convention Aircraft’ was discussed by Neil Cloughley, Managing Director at Faradair Aerospace, Jean Botti, CEO of VoltAero and CEO of H55, Andre Borschberg.
‘Aircraft Development Technology’ was led by Sameer Savani, Head of Innovation and Engineering at ADS Group, and Norman Wijker of Samad Aerospace, while the final discussions of the day was called ‘How do we make the Widespread use of Autonomy a reality?’.
This featured Chris Allsopp, Group Leader – Autonomous Systems Engineering at Frazer-Nash Consultancy, Chairman and Founder of Autonomous Flight, Martin Warner, Alex Georgiades, Autonomous Systems Specialist at the Innovation Hub/CAA and Gary Cutts, Challenge Director of Future Flight at UK Research and Innovation.