In this article, we take a look at some of the latest updates in the world of advanced air mobility, featuring news from PLANA, AutoFlight, Skyportz, and more. (Photo: PLANA)
This week, PLANA announced a new strategic partnership with vertiport infrastructure developer BlueNest at the Paris Air Show. This partnership was created to accelerate advanced air mobility (AAM) and vertiport operations by leveraging the expertise and resources of both PLANA and BlueNest.
Another partnership between PLANA and a French carbon composite propeller and rotor manufacturer, DUC Hélices Propellers, was made public during the Paris Air Show. They plan to collaborate on the development of innovative propulsion solutions for AAM.
Based in South Korea, PLANA is developing hybrid eVTOL aircraft. The company recently received an iF Design Award in the Professional Concept category. LG Uplus and Jeju Air each signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with PLANA earlier this year. The MoUs include plans for joint research on 5G/LTE-based avionics data communications for urban air mobility and the opportunity to collaborate on an AAM ecosystem.
AutoFlight, an eVTOL developer, recently unveiled the interior design of its Prosperity I aircraft. Frank Stephenson, Chief Designer of Prosperity I, commented, "Designing the interior of the Prosperity I has been a phenomenal journey. Our aim was to create an environment that evokes a sense of safety, comfort, and innovation.”
AutoFlight showcased the full-scale aircraft type at the Paris Air Show. This week, the company signed an MoU with Groupe ADP to conduct piloted eVTOL flights during the 2024 Paris Olympics. Edward Arkwright, Deputy CEO of Groupe ADP, remarked, "Pontoise Vertiport, equipped with exceptional infrastructure and facilities, serves as an optimal platform to support electric, innovative aircraft.”
The eVTOL developer may have set a record for the longest flight of an eVTOL aircraft in February, breaking a previous record set by Joby Aviation in 2021. AutoFlight’s aircraft flew a distance of 250.3 kilometers during a test flight.
Australia-based Skyportz revealed a revolutionary vertiport design that supports the rapid deployment of a global network of eVTOL landing sites. Unveiled during the Paris Air Show, the “Vertiport-in-a-Box” design is a modular aluminum shell structure that comes in three sizes which can be connected based on the requirements of the space in which they are placed.
Skyportz's Vertiport-in-a-Box design is pictured above to the left of some AAM aircraft. (Photo: Skyportz)
“Skyportz will be getting our network of vertiports established now with enthusiastic property owners who will come back later for an aviation use permit. In the meantime, they will have a vertiport building that could be used for other purposes,” explained CEO Clem Newton-Brown.
“We are focusing on affordable options that property developers can incorporate into new developments or retrofit into existing buildings,” he added.
In other news this week, Rolls-Royce’s new small gas turbine—developed specifically to power hybrid-electric aircraft—is ready to start testing. “The engine is part of a turbogenerator system that is being developed for the advanced air mobility market,” according to the company.
“The turbogenerator system will [deliver] an on-board power source with scalable power offerings between 500kW and 1200kW, enabling extended range on sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and later, as it becomes available, through hydrogen combustion. This will open up new, longer routes than electric battery-powered aircraft can support as of today.”
Additionally, check out our article featuring some of the latest updates from leading eVTOL developer Lilium. The company made three significant announcements this week. Additionally, the coverage by Avionics International includes insights from Collins Aerospace about their collaboration with Lilium to design new flight controls for the Lilium Jet.