Airbus Helicopters has broken ground on a test centre for the CityAirbus NextGen eVTOL aircraft in Donauwörth, Germany.
The 1,000 square meter (10,800 square foot) building is scheduled to be completed in around eight months and will be used for testing systems for eVTOL aircraft.
The hangar will contain high-voltage equipment and lithium batteries and is designed to undergo testing with the highest safety precautions, said Airbus. The center will host all of the ground testing required before CityAirbus NextGen’s maiden flight, which is planned to be conducted there next year.
The ground testing campaign will cover the electric motors with their eight rotors as well as the aircraft’s other systems such as flight controls and avionics.
Airbus’ CityAirbus NextGen is an all- electric four-seater aircraft that will have an 80km (50 miles) range and a top cruise speed of 120 km/h (75mph). It is being developed to meet EASA special condition VTOL certification standards.
Development of the CityAirbus started in 2015 and a prototype was flown in 2019. Last September Airbus revealed an updated design of the eVTOL aircraft and added “NextGen” to its name.
Wolfgang Schoder, managing director of Airbus Helicopters in Germany said, “We are investing in the future of electric flight because we believe this technology holds key potential for zero-emission flights.
“Urban Air Mobility will change the way we travel in cities and beyond and it will be a new pillar of business for Airbus. Donauwörth plays an important role in the development and construction of CityAirbus NextGen.”
Development of the CityAirbus NextGen has been based at Donauwörth for several years. Donauwörth is Airbus’ main helicopter production and technology site in Germany, with several hundred engineers working in its development centre. The company developed and makes the H135 and H145 light utility helicopters in Donauwörth.