Is there a vertiport near me? There soon will be

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Plans are afoot to build a vertiport in some of the world’s largest cities. The proliferation of vertiports is only a matter of time, now that the demand and design have been established and the funding is in place. Industry stakeholders have reason for optimism as concrete plans are being initiated.

These new technologies are developing rapidly. In the few years since I first flew a drone AAM aircraft have lept from the drawing board into the air as prototypes. It would not be surprising if in the next five years the first commercial services began to operate.

Floridians in the Lake Nona area are already anticipating the opening of Lilium’s first vertiport there. They plan to create a state hub for urban air mobility that will set an example to the rest of the USA and the wider world.

What is a vertiport?

A vertiport is a facility where vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft can operate. They will be typically used in urban areas where there is limited space for airports. Vertiports can be either private or public, and they vary in size and capacity.

Some of the first vertiports may only have room for a handful of eVTOL aircraft but as the infrastructure develops and public acceptance of this new form of aviation grows we may one day see vertiports in which dozens or hundreds operate.

The aircraft will be piloted or state of the art UAV (drones). We may see a certain amount of vertiport automation pilotless drones drop off and pick up small amounts of cargo. It’s also possible that flying taxis will one day be automated but I suspect that is a long way off yet.

In addition to UAM aircraft some vertiports will also allow other types of VTOL aircraft, such as drones and tiltrotor aircraft. As the popularity of VTOL aircraft continues to grow, it is likely that vertiports will become more common in cities around the world.

Vertiports in the news

Here is just a sample of recent news items, announcements, and press releases from various companies regarding vertiports and UAM in the month of June (2022) alone.

Heliport, Vertiport, Skyport

  • Helipads – Landing areas for helicopters
  • Heliports – Landing areas for helicopters with additional amenities for passengers, crew, and servicing
  • Vertiports – Landing areas for VTOL and eVTOL aircraft with the accompanying amenities that you would expect to find at an airport
  • Voloports – Landing areas specifically for Volocopters
  • Skyports – Name for a UK based company that is building a vertiports infrastructure for the AAM industry (Advanced Aerial Mobility). This infrastructure is for both UAM (Urban Air Mobility) and drone deliveries.
  • urban-Air Port – Name of another UK based company building UAM infrastructure
  • Airports – Infrastuctures where aircraft of all types operate both domestically and internationally, commercially and for recreation and training

Helipads

A helipad is a landing platform for helicopters. It can be located on the roof of a building, on the ground, or on a ship. Helipads are usually built to specifications set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Most helipads are marked with a lighted “H” to indicate their purpose, and may also be lit at night. Helipads are typically used for general civil transport, emergency medical transport, law enforcement, and military operations.

Helipad on top of a skyscraper
Photo by Wayne Chan on Unsplash

Heliports

A heliport is a specialized facility designed to accommodate helicopters and other rotary-wing aircraft. Heliports typically feature a landing pad or platform, as well as fuel and maintenance services. Some heliports may also offer passenger amenities such as terminal buildings, parking, and ground transportation.

In many cases, heliports are located near hospitals or other emergency service facilities in order to facilitate quick response times. Helicopters have a much shorter takeoff and landing distance than fixed-wing aircraft, making them ideal for use in congested urban areas. As a result, heliports play an important role in emergency medical services, law enforcement, and other time-sensitive operations.

A heliport is more than just a helicopter landing pad
Image by F. Muhammad from Pixabay

VTOL and eVTOL Aircraft

Vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft are a type of jet or rotorcraft that is capable of taking off and landing vertically. Helicopters are the most common type of VTOL aircraft, but there are also other designs, such as the V-22 Osprey and the AV-8B Harrier. All these designs have been in use for some time and are common knowledge.

VTOL aircraft have several advantages over traditional fixed-wing aircraft the most obvious of which is that they do not require a runway for take-off or landing which means they require far less land in which to operate. However, VTOL aircraft typically have shorter range and lower speeds than fixed-wing aircraft, and they are more susceptible to turbulence.

Nevertheless, with the advent of electric propulsion, VTOL aircraft are becoming increasingly popular, particularly for urban air mobility applications. Some examples of eVTOL aircraft include the Volocopter 2X, the Bell Nexus 4EX, and the Lilium Jet.

The Lilium Jet – The world’s first jet powered eVTOL aircraft

Urban Air Mobility (UAM)

Urban air mobility (UAM) is the use of aircraft to move people and goods around cities in an efficient and environmentally friendly way. UAM offers a number of advantages over traditional ground transportation, including shorter travel times, lower emissions, and less congestion.

There are a variety of different aircraft that can be used for UAM, from electric helicopters to vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) jets. The infrastructure needed to support UAM is also fairly simple, consisting primarily of vertiports, helipads, and charging stations.

With the rise of autonomous technology, UAM is becoming increasingly feasible, and it has the potential to revolutionize transportation in cities around the world.

Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)

Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) could be described as the next generation of UAM. If UAM is designed to accomodate the need for efficient, ubiquitious, and freen air transport within cities then AAM is the natural extension of this between cities, carrying passengers and cargo.

Advanced Air Mobility also encompasses the ideal of private individuals flying their own recreational or commuter vehicles. In the same way that some use road transport in a private car instead of public transport, people will be able to drive and fly their flying cars instead of using the air taxi services.

As long as the industry stakeholders continue to supply the funds to continue the pace of development of these new technologies then the vision of a pollution-free cityscape populated with flying taxis could become a reality in the next five years or so.

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Urban Air Mobility Companies, UAM Vehicles, and Vertiports

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As the technology passes through its various phases there are several Urban Air Mobility companies to keep an eye on. In this post I’m going to list many of the companies involved in the field of UAM and the aircraft in development.

Urban Air Mobility (UAM is the term applied to VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) and eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) vehicles designed to carry one or more people within or between cities. These new types of aircraft may be commercially piloted, privately piloted, or autonomous drones. They may carry passengers, be flown solo, or ferry medical supplies and other cargo or deliveries.

But what’s the demand? Why do we need an alternative mode of transport?

We are familiar with the delays and frustrations caused by congestion on roads and railways, and the strains placed upon our transport infrastructure by an ever increasing urban population. Roads and railways are expensive to build and maintain, and they can be very damaging to the environment.

We’ve also grown accustomed to the idea that we have to switch to more sustainable and less polluting forms of energy consumption. And we also recognise there is continuing and growing demand for personal and public transportation within and between our cities.

People want safe, convenient, affordable transport powered by sustainable energy and it’s time we looked up to a third dimension.

Now it seems we’ve reached a point where all the necessary ingredients are in place to create a rapid period of growth in urban air mobility. The demand exists, the investment and the vision are in place, and the technological advancements have reached a point where prototypes have been flown and tested.

The development phase is well under way and flight tests have been ongoing for several years. While some have opted for a joint venture, the competitive rivalry between many urban air mobility innovators is adding grist to the mill.

And so, it is predicted that by 2025 we’ll see the first viable flying taxis and airborne intercity shuttles, and by 2050 they are likely to have become commonplace. There are now several viable aircraft ready to fly as urban air taxis, intercity commuter aircraft, and airport shuttles.

UAM Technology Companies & Vehicles

What follows is a list of the companies involved in the development of these aircraft. Some of these companies are well known global brands and others are startups bringing innovations to the industry.

If you think I’ve missed any of the major players then please post a comment and I will investigate.

  • A³ by Airbus with their Vahana
  • AeroMobil and their AM NEXT
  • The Avianovations Hepard
  • Airbus Helicopters’ CityAirbus
  • The MOBI by Airspace Experience Technologies (AirspaceX)
  • The Astro Aerospace Elroy
  • Aurora’s VTOL
  • AutoFlightX’s BAT600
  • The Bartini Flying Car
  • The Beta Technologies Ava XC
  • Bell’s Nexus
  • Boeing’s Cargo Aerial Vehicle
  • The Carter Aviation Air Taxi
  • The Delorean Aerospace DR-7
  • Embraer’s Embraer X eVTOL division
  • Ehang Holdings Limited
  • The HopFlyt Venturi
  • The Hoversurf Formula Drone Taxi
  • The Kitty Hawk Cora and the Kitty Hawk Flyer
  • Jaunt Air Mobility
  • Jetpack Aviation’s Speeder
  • Joby Aviation’s Joby S4
  • Karem Aircraft’s Karem Butterfly
  • Lilium Aviation’s Lilium Jet
  • Neoptera Aero’s eOpter
  • NFT’s ASKA eVTOL flying car
  • The Opener BlackFly
  • The PAL-V Flying Car
  • Piasecki’s eVTOL
  • Pipistrel Vertical Solutions
  • The Sabrewing Draco-2 UAS
  • The Sikorsky VERT
  • Skyworks Global
  • The Terrafugia TF-X
  • The Transcend Air Vy 400
  • The Top Flight Technologies Airborg H8 10K
  • Uber’s Air Taxis
  • The Urban Aeronautics CityHawk
  • Vimana’s Autonomous Aerial Vehicles
  • The Volocopter VC200 and the Volocopter 2X
  • The XTI Aircraft TriFan 600
  • The X VerdeGo Aero PAT200 (Personal Air Taxi)
  • Zunum Aero
Opener Blackfly

Urban Air Mobility Industry Examples

Ehang

Ehang is one of the leading companies involved in urban air mobility developments. It provides a range of products and services, including eHang Passenger Service, eHang Cargo Service, eHang Aviator Service, and eHang UAV Service. Ehang has been able to make a significant impact in the industry with its innovative products and services.

Neoptera Aero

Neoptera Aero is a UAM company that has been operational for several years. The company has a strong focus on providing urban air mobility services for businesses and governments. Neoptera Aero has a number of innovative solutions that make it an attractive UAM provider, including its patented vertical takeoff and landing technology.

Opener

Opener is a leader in the urban air mobility market. The company has been able to make significant contributions to the advancement of UAM. The Opener BlackFly has been instrumental in the development of UAM. The company has also developed several other technologies that have helped to shape UAM.

Uber

Another leading company in urban air mobility is Uber. They offer a range of products and services, including on-demand transportation, freight delivery, and helicopter services. Uber is working on a number of initiatives to improve urban air mobility, including their Elevate program. This program is aimed at developing a regional air mobility network of electric aircraft that can be used for on-demand transportation.

Volocopter

Volocopter is well-known German company involved in the urban air mobility market. They offer products and services such as air taxis and cargo drones. Volocopter is one of the leading companies in this industry, and they are working on making urban air mobility a reality. They are partnering with other companies, such as Airbus.

Zunum Aero

Zunum Aero is another UAM company that is focused on making air travel more accessible and affordable. They are developing a new generation of electric aircraft that will be used for short-haul flights. Zunum Aero believes that their aircraft will help to reduce the cost of air travel and make it more accessible for people and businesses.

This image from Skyworks Aeronautics perfectly illusrates why gyrocopter style UAM are less complicated

The Emergence of Vertiports

Vertiports are a key part of the urban air mobility ecosystem. They provide a safe and efficient place for aircraft to land and takeoff, and they’re essential for connecting passengers and cargo with the rest of the transportation system. Vertiports can be on the ground, on water, or even in the air, and they come in all shapes and sizes.

Every urban area is different, so it’s important for vertiport designers to take into account the specific needs of their location. For example, a vertiport in a dense city center will need to be able to handle a lot of traffic, while one in a rural area may only need to support a few flights each day.

Vertiports are also a major part of the transport infrastructure, and they need to be able to handle the weight and size of UAM aircraft. This can be a challenge in some locations, but it’s something that vertiport designers are working on.

Overall, vertiports are an essential piece of the urban air mobility puzzle, and they’re poised to play a major role in the future of transportation.

They should not present major challenges for civil engineering but they will need to be sensitive to their locations with the urban destinations. Your local city vertiport will provide a safe landing point for and air ambulance and other emergency services.

Uber Elevate Concept

When will we be flying in these vehicles?

Before we can all start booking air taxis on our apps there are still some big obstacles to overcome. Safety is the primary concern but there are also challenges in the areas of infrastructure and noise.

Stability in the air another. No one wants to take a ride in an air taxi that’s being buffeted by gusts between the skyscrapers. Then of course there are things like battery power, vehicle separation, take-off and landing sites, and so on.

But as always, where there’s a will there’s a way.

So while our cities have yet to take on the appearance of Los Angeles in Blade Runner there’s a good chance that you may be able to take a ride in an air taxi in the next ten years.

You, or some of your children and grand children will be piloting these aircraft while others will be autonomous air vehicles i.e. passenger drones.

How do you think this industry will evolve? Which designs will succeed and why?

Urban Air Mobility Defined

Urban air mobility (UAM) is a term used to describe a variety of urban transportation concepts that involve the use of small, electric aircraft to transport people or goods within or between cities. UAM services can include on-demand flights, scheduled flights, or cargo deliveries.

Some major trends in the UAM industry include the rise of electric aircraft, the development of autonomous flying technology, and the increasing demand for urban transport solutions.

UAM is expected to play a major role in the future of transportation, as it can help reduce traffic congestion and improve access to transportation services in urban areas. UAM companies are poised to benefit from this growing industry, and investors should pay attention to these companies as the UAM market continues to develop.

Many other companies are involved in the UAM industry, and the market is still in its early stages of development. As the UAM market grows, we can expect to see even more companies enter this space. Investors should keep an eye on the UAM industry and watch for new developments, as this market is poised to experience significant growth in the years to come.

Airbus reveals the next generation of CityAirbus

Toulouse, 21 September 2021 – Airbus has announced plans for a new CityAirbus at the Company’s first #AirbusSummit 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. “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,” said Bruno Even, Airbus Helicopters CEO.

CityAirbus is being developed to fly with a 80 km range and to reach a cruise speed of 120 km/h, making it perfectly suited for operations in major cities for a variety of missions. Sound levels are a key factor for an urban mission; Airbus’ extensive expertise in noise-friendly designs is driving CityAirbus’ sound levels below 65 dB(A) during fly-over and below 70 dB(A) during landing.

It is optimized for hover and cruise efficiency, while not requiring moving surfaces or tilting parts during transition. The CityAirbus NextGen meets the highest certification standards (EASA SC-VTOL Enhanced Category). Designed with simplicity in mind, CityAirbus NextGen will offer best-in-class economic performance in operations and support.

Airbus is benefitting from years of dedicated research, innovation, two electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) demonstrators, and development on sound technology across its portfolio of products, as well as decades of experience in certifying aircraft. The Vahana and CityAirbus demonstrators have jointly conducted 242 flight and ground tests and have flown around 1,000 km in total.

Furthermore, Airbus has used extensive subscale flight testing and wind tunnel campaigns and has leveraged its computing and modelling 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.”

Airbus

Beyond the vehicle, Airbus is working with partners, cities, and city inhabitants in order to
create the ecosystem that is essential to enabling this new operating environment to emerge
in a true service to society.

Contacts for the media
Laurence Petiard
Airbus Helicopters
+33 6 18 79 75 69
laurence.petiard@airbus.com

Gregor v. Kursell
Airbus Helicopters
+49 (0)609 71 45 65
gregor.kursell@airbus.com

ASKA™ Flying Car

The ASKA (‘flying bird’ in Japanese) is an eVTOL personal flying car which is expected to be on the market by 2026. Test flights were expected to occur in the first quarter of 2020.

NFT are based in California and have an engineering divising in Israel, and it was there that a demonstrator model was revealed at the EcoMotion trade fair. This battery-powered SUV will have a range of 350 miles and will carry up to three people.

It will fly autonomously, with lift generated by fourteen ducted fans, 12 of which will be in the body of the car and one at each wing tip. This 20 foot long Urban Air Mobility vehicle will drive on conventional roads to a designated open space where it will unfold its wings, giving it a wingspan of about 40 feet

It will take off vertically and fly autonomously to its destination before landing and reversing the process to return to the roads. So the vehicle could arrive at your home, drive itself to a car park or charging area, take off, and fly you to your destination.

All it will need to land or take-off is a space measuring 20 x 20 metres.

Apart from that it will use conventional roads so there will minimal impact on the existing infrastructure. If you change your mind during your journey you’ll be able to select an alternative destination quickly and easily.

Buyers can expect to pay about $200,000 for the first models but the prices are expected to drop later. Another option will be a subscription service in which, for montly fee of $200 to $300, subscribers will have use of an ASKA for occassional trips.

There are several other Urban Air Mobility vehicle prototypes being tested at the moment. Aviation and aerospace companies are well aware that this market is growing fast and the skies above our cities will look a lot different in 10-20 years time.

The ASKA’s design, price point, and ease of entry into the current infrastructure gives it distinct advantages. To find out more about the ASKA visit the website www.askafly.com.

HopFlyt Venturi

The Venturi’s design is unique and HopFlyt has a patent pending. It’s the only aircraft of its type that combines variable incidence wings with canard channels.

The combination of this unique design with other aerodynamic principles means that the aircraft is devoid of the traditional control surfaces; ailerons, elevators, rudder, or flaps. This means, of course, that there is less complexity and weight, and it also reduces the maintenance requirements.

Varying the incidence of the wings in flight and the powered canard design result in optimal lift at all phases of flight.

The Distributed Electrical Propulsion (DEP) allows for independent movement of all the wings and canards, while the contra-rotating propellers produce more thrust and reduced noise.

This eVTOL aircraft promises to provide a smooth ride at optimal speed within and between cities.

These innovations are the result of the many decades of experience in flight and aircraft design and testing within HopFlyt’s team. The founder and president, Rob Winston, has been a pilot for over 35 years, 22 of which were spent flying high-performance military aircraft. As well as being a very experienced pilot Rob has designed several aircraft including one of the world’s fastest seaplanes. 

Lucille Winston is a co-founder and Vice President. She is a former NASA Test Engineer with experience developing environment-ready hardware for satellites, the Space Station and the Space Shuttle. Additionally, she has experience testing military aviation defensive, propulsion and reconnaissance systems. 

Rory Feely is another co-founder, the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Test Pilot at HopFlyt. Rory is a military Experimental Test Pilot and Marine Corps aviator who has been flying high-performance aircraft for over 20 years. He has a BSc. in Physics (Honors), an MS in Aerospace Engineering and an MS in Technical Program Management. 

HopFlyt’s stated mission is to “solve global traffic congestion & exhaust pollution with eVTOL technology”.

The Venturi looks set to fulfill that mission and I look forward to taking a ride in this aircraft in the years to come.

Hoversurf Formula

Hoversurf’s concept is one of convenience, safety, and speed, and with these goals in mind they have created a project called Formula. Their urban mobility vision is to create a flying car that is a combination of the best of copters and aircraft. Using patented Venturi engines they have created a vehicle that dispenses with the idea of tilting rotors or wings.

The vehicle’s systems operate independently of each other thus creating added safety features that allow for easy landing in the event of any mechanical failure. In addition, they’ve added a ballistic parachute as a backup emergency system.

The Formula vehicle is what’s known as a hybrid lift and cruise type that is inherently safer than tilt rotor versions and more efficient than multirotors.

Their patented Venturi engines also generate far less noise. Hoversurf are developing larger Formula 2 Drone Taxi and Formula 4 versions for 2-4 passengers. Their vision is to create a vehicle that can use the existing transport infrastructure instead of waiting for it to evolve to cope with other urban mobility designs.

Formula’s maximum flight time will be 1.2 hours or 186 miles cruising at 155 miles per hour.

You may already be aware of Hoversurf as they are also the company behind the Hoverbike.

The company vision is to givem people the freedom to fly in personal air vehicles without the restrictions and delays caused by traffic congestion and traffic lights.

Starting with the fact that a person’s most precious commodity is time they aspire to provide eVTOL vehicles that save time while being efficient and safe.

The Hoversurf team comprises individuals with a wide range of experience in aircraft design and build, software and programming skills, and project work from concept to completion.

To find out more about the Hoversurf company and the team behind the Formula visit their website at hoversurf.com and watch some of their videos on their YouTube channel.

Opener Blackfly

The Opener BlackFly is an all electric VTOL personal air vehicle which is amphibious, energy efficient, transportable by road, and easy to assemble. During flight it has easy take-off and landing features, cruise control, and GPS position hold.

Like other designers of similar aircraft, Opener have focused on safety first and it’s not hard to see why when you consider the intended operating environment of these aircraft.

Some will be flying at lower levels over and between our busiest cities, so they need to be safe and easy to fly with several layers of redundancy as standard. To that end this aircraft will contain redundant motors, elevons, and batteries.

It will have three fail-safe flight systems and an isolated, distributed battery system. It will have a backup landing system in the form of a low-power glide mode and an optional ballistic parachute system (BPS).

Opener want to make the BlackFly easy to fly thus giving owners the ability to build confidence quickly.

The flying controls and instruments will be simple and intuitive to use. Comprehensive training will be available to owners, who can also be reassured by its soft landing and geofencing capabilities.

Although it won’t be necessary to obtain a full Private Pilots Licencse to operate a BlackFly in the USA, owners will need to omplete the FAA Private Pilot written examination and also complete the company-mandated vehicle familiarization and operator training.

There will even be a ‘return to home’ (RTH) button which will have a similar function to the one configured on DJI drones.

So far the Opener BlackFly prototypes have completed tens of thousands of test miles with payloads added.

The delays caused by traffic congestion and the stress created by wasted time and missed opportunities are frequent contributers to our collective health. The knock-on effect is less productivity, sub optimal health, and less quality of life.

The transport network of the future will free us from the tailbacks while using sustainable energy sources. The Opener BlackFly is a personal aerial vehicle option for the individuals who want to remove themselves from the traffic jams.

To find out more about the Opener company and the team behind the BlackFly visit their website at www.opener.aero and watch some of their videos on their YouTube channel. https://youtube.com/c/openeraero

XTI Aircraft’s TriFan 600

The six-seat TriFan 600 will have the speed, range and comfort of a luxury business aircraft, but with vertical take and landing (VTOL) capabilities.

The TriFan 600 will be flown by a pilot with space for up to five passengers.

Advanced avionics and safety features will provide computerside control for take-off and landing. Using three ducted fans, the TriFan 600 lifts off vertically and in seconds, the two wing fans rotate forward for a seamless transition to high-speed flight. 

Within just 90 seconds, the airplane reaches cruise speed – where the lift is provided by the wings just like every other fixed-wing airplane.  The fuselage-mounted fan, no longer needed, then closes up. The airplane then flies directly to its destination and reverses the process. 

It lands vertically right where it needs to be – wherever there’s a clear helipad-sized paved surface.

It will travel at 300 knots (345 mph), with a range of up to 1,200 miles. The aircraft’s ceiling is 29,000 feet with a time to maximum altitude of 11 minutes.

The VTOL capabilities and the comparatively small footprint of this aircraft mean that it can provide site to site travel as opposed to airport to airport. Journey times are therefore shorter and remove the need for journeys by helicopter, car, or public transport to and from airports.

In May 2018 the XTI Aircraft Company announced that it had successfully completed the first test flights of its 65% scale prototype of the TriFan 600 VTOL aircraft.

The TriFan 600 prototype completed multiple takeoffs, hover, and landings, which tested and validated the electric motors, battery power system, ducted fan propulsion, flight controls, other electrical systems and instrumentation.

In July 2019 it was announced that the TriFan 600 will be fitted with GE’s Catalyst™ engine as the core of its hybrid-electric propulsion system.

XTI Aircraft have already received 80 orders for the TriFan 600, representing over a half billion dollars in future revenues.

VTOL capability for fixed-wing aircraft has been a major challenge for a hundred years.  Ducted fan technologies have even been tried, but unsuccessfully.

XTI has now combined modern advances in technology — lighter and more powerful turbine engines, light carbon fiber materials, and incredible computer capabilities to enhance safety, stability and control. 

These advances enabled XTI to overcome these historical challenges. The TriFan 600 embodies proven technologies in a revolutionary configuration. 

It is both beautiful and highly functional. It is visually distinguished by a sleek exterior, and three ducted fans in place of large diameter helicopter rotors.  The two ducted fans in the wings pivot and enable the aircraft to transition from hover to forward flight and back again for landing.

To find out more about this aircraft please visit xtiaircraft.com.

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Ferrovial and Lilium to develop US vertiport network

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  • Ferrovial and Lilium will collaborate on 10+ US vertiport network.
  • Zero-carbon vertiport to provide green, high speed, affordable services to connect communities.

Austin, Texas/Munich, Madrid, 27/01/2021. – Ferrovial, a global leading infrastructure operator, and Lilium, the aviation company developing an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) jet aircraft, have signed a framework agreement to develop a network of at least ten vertiports.

The zero-carbon infrastructure and services will cover strategic locations in all major cities across Florida. This partnership seeks to provide an efficient and environmentally friendly alternative transport network connecting locations across Florida.

Vertiports are a key component in realizing the enormous potential of innovations in eVTOL aviation, providing infrastructure for landing, recharging, and taking off with passengers. Ferrovial and Lilium will collaborate in designing and constructing the vertiport facilities as well as the operation and maintenance of the vertiports for passenger service. The first location in South Florida will be announced as soon as Spring 2021.

Commenting on the partnership, Daniel Wiegand, Chief Executive Officer and, Co-founder, Lilium said:

“Our partnership with Ferrovial to develop flight infrastructure, is a critical step in delivering the potential of regional air mobility to provide high speed, affordable, emissions-free travel to millions of people.

As we accelerate our launch plans, Lilium is committed to partnering with industry leaders, bringing together their strengths and experience with our aircraft technology and passenger service infrastructure. We’re excited about what we will achieve together.”

Dr. Remo Gerber, Chief Operating Officer, Lilium continues:

“Our strategy to bring high-speed transportation networks to an entire region is being brought to life in Florida, and Ferrovial is the ideal partner with their unrivalled expertise in airport construction and operations around the globe.

Nearly all 20 million Floridians will live within 30 minutes of our vertiports and the 140 million annual visitors to the Sunshine State will have a high-speed option available to travel to their destinations.”

“We are delighted to partner with Lilium in this big step towards new ways of achieving air mobility and sustainable infrastructure. Our partnership will deliver a uniquely different end-to-end passenger experience,”

said Jorge Gil, CEO Ferrovial Airports.

“At Ferrovial, we are determined to conceptualize, design and build the future of transport and mobility infrastructures. In this case, we partner with Lilium, one of the leading companies in this nascent urban air mobility ecosystem to deliver an innovative mode of transport that will shorten distances and improve quality of life for citizens,”

adds Rafael Fernandez, Ferrovial Innovation Director.


The Lilium Jet will connect regions in new, sustainable, and more convenient ways. The efficient and ultralow noise electric jet engines allow the Lilium Jet to operate in densely populated urban areas and cover longer distances at high-speed with zero emissions.

By saving time and enhancing connectivity, the service will drive significant economic growth for cities and increase access to industry, culture, and nature. Ferrovial serves a world on the move.

The company has earned a reputation as a leading infrastructure investor and operator, dedicated to developing sustainable solutions throughout the lifecycle of a project with an integrated approach, taking advantage of its business units’ synergies. Ferrovial currently manages $10 billion in assets in the United States.

Ferrovial Airports is ready to be a player in the future of vertiports and urban air mobility. Providing passengers with choice and air travel alternatives contributes to the commitment to enhanced and further personalized passenger experience

About Ferrovial

Ferrovial, a leading global infrastructure operator, is committed to developing sustainable solutions. It is a member of Spain’s blue-chip IBEX 35 index and is also included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and FTSE4Good; all its operations are conducted in compliance with the principles of the UN Global Compact, which the company adopted in 2002.

For more information visit www.ferrovial.com.

Ferrovial Airports have been part of the aviation industry since 1998 and have more than 20 years of experience investing, developing and operating 33 airports around the world, including the United States, Australia or Chile.

The current portfolio in the United Kingdom consists of four airports. With a 25% stake, Ferrovial is the largest shareholder and industrial partner in Heathrow Airport, the busiest hub in Europe (pre-COVID data). It also holds a 50% stake in the Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Southampton airports.

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Drone Pilot Jobs in 2022 and beyond

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In this post we’re going to explore the potential for drone pilot jobs in 2022 and beyond.

  • Are you a recently qualified drone pilot eager to start your career?
  • Do you have ambitions to become qualified but at the same time you’re concerned about the job prospects?
  • Do you think increasing legislation and control of drone flying is going to spoil the fun and perhaps even hinder your chances of developing a career?

Read this post to the end as it will give you some idea of current job prospects and career development opportunities in the years ahead.

During the past few years we’ve seen the FAA and the CAA introducing tighter legislation with more to come.

We must anticipate that other aviation authorities around the world will do likewise as increasing numbers of drones and other flying robots appear in the skies above cities and fields. 

The hardware and software are evolving but at the same time, the aviation authorities are drawing up guidelines and legislation to control this new form of air traffic.

As with all technological advances there is a need for skilled personnel to fill vacancies created by the companies who recognise the potential for UAS and want to invest in it.

Once they are convinced of the benefits to their industries and the cost savings made possible by UAS then the spending follows naturally, creating a demand for more drone pilots.

There are also startup companies looking for designers and engineers who can bring a concept into reality.

With a little planning and the right training drone pilots and others can look forward to varied and rewarding careers within an exciting industry, but the keyword is planning.

With a little planning, drone pilots who want to rapidly gain experience and develop their careers can be ready to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

In order to do that they need to anticipate how the UAV industry is evolving and in which direction it’s heading.

As anyone who has taken the first steps into the world of unmanned aviation knows, drones can be put to all kinds of uses.

There is the obvious task of aerial photography and cinematography, and there’s also mapping, construction, inspection, agriculture, and security. 

The Next Wave Of Development

According to a report published by Guinn Partners the next wave of development in UAS will be autonomous drone stations.

Autonomous drone stations (ADS) are things like platforms from which the drone takes off and to which it returns, all automatically, 

It’s pre-programmed to take off and fly a fixed route, return, get recharged wirelessly on the platform, and then repeat the process next hour or the next day.

These might be used for checking for forest fires, inspecting solar panels on solar farms, or in precision agriculture.

The Airscort ST-1200 docking station is another example.  It’s a box from which the drone emerges, carries out its work, and to which it returns for recharging.

Once safely in the docking station it’s protected from the elements, dust, animals etc.

Industries are willing to invest in UAS technology but they obviously want the best ROI for the cash they risk.

And one of the ways in which they can increase this figure is to use autonomous drones that require minimal amounts of maintenance or human intervention.

This may have an impact on the number of drone pilot jobs available but as the industry grows other opportunities requiring piloting skills will emerge.

Urban Air Mobility (UAM)

The developing world of urban air mobility involves pilotless aircraft, like drone taxis.

Although some UAM aircraft will be piloted, be they personal aerial vehicles (PAV) or flying taxis and commuter aircraft, others will be autonomous and robotic.

So there is a crossover between manned and unmanned aviation within the UAM branch of the aircraft industry.

Who will design the most successful unmanned aircraft capable of carrying passengers?

Will it be drone engineers who started their careers on nano drones or Small UAS and ended up designing large UAVs?

Or will it be aerospace engineers who began designing conventional manned aircraft and migrated into unmanned aircraft.

Drone Pilot Specialities

As you’ve probably already noticed, the important thing to remember from a drone pilot’s point of view is the importance of specialisations.

If you can fly a drone well and you’re a confident and competent UAV pilot, that’s a good start.

But you stand a much better chance of being the one picked for employment if you have one more specialisation or experience in working in a particular industry.

You’ll still find jobs open to you without these strengths but the starting salaries will be lower while the companies train you to fit their niche.

Start thinking about how you would adapt your flying skills to inspection of utility networks, agriculture, mapping, security, or the construction industry. 

Drone Pilot Salaries

As with any other industry, drone pilot salaries are commensurate with skills and experience and there is likely to be a wide variation in pay.

According to Payscale.dom a drone pilot in the USA can expect and average of $50,000 per year.

But an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Pilot can expect an average of $75,000 per year.

So to get a more accurate figure for your dream job role I suggest you visit sites like payscale.com or glassdoor.com and then search using a variety of search terms like; drone pilot, unmanned aerial vehicle pilot, operator, or maintainer, 

Aside from the candidate’s skills and experience there is the size and profitability of the company itself.  

A startup drone company might offer lower salaries with share options.  If it becomes a success then this could be worth far more than a higher starting salary with no share options. 

Wherever you fit into the Drone Age I wish you well with your career.

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