Airbus has announced plans for a new CityAirbus at the company’s first Airbus Summit on “Pioneering Sustainable Aerospace” as the emerging Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market begins to firm up.
Ushering in the next generation of CityAirbus, the fully electric vehicle is equipped with fixed wings, a V-shaped tail, and eight electrically powered propellers as part of its uniquely designed distributed propulsion system.
It is designed to carry up to four passengers in a zero-emissions flight in multiple applications.
Bruno Even, Airbus Helicopters chief executive said “we are on a quest to co-create an entirely new market that sustainably integrates urban air mobility into the cities while addressing environmental and social concerns.
“‘Airbus is convinced that the real challenges are as much about urban integration, public acceptance, and automated air traffic management, as about vehicle technology and business models. We build on all of the capabilities to deliver a safe, sustainable, and fully integrated service to society.”
CityAirbus is being developed to fly with an 80 km range and to reach a cruise speed of 120 km/h, making it suited for operations in major cities for a variety of missions.
Sound levels are a key factor for an urban mission and the CityAirbus’ sound levels are very low and below 65 dB(A) during fly-over and below 70 dB(A) during landing.
Airbus says it is optimized for hover and cruise efficiency, while not requiring moving surfaces or tilting parts during the transition.
The Vahana and CityAirbus demonstrators have jointly conducted 242 flight and ground tests and have flown around 1,000 km in total. Airbus has used extensive subscale flight testing and wind tunnel campaigns and has leveraged its computing and modeling power.
CityAirbus NextGen is in a detailed design phase right now and the prototype’s first flight is planned for 2023.
“We have learned a lot from the test campaigns with our two demonstrators, CityAirbus and Vahana”, said Even.
“The CityAirbus NextGen combines the best from both worlds with the new architecture striking the right balance between hover and forward flight. The prototype is paving the way for certification expected around 2025.”