Airbus has selected Thales and Diehl to supply the electrical flight controls for CityAirbus NextGen, the air taxi the European aircraft manufacturer expects to fly for the first time in 2023.
The system selected by Airbus will combine Thales primary flight computers with secondary flight computers from Diehl. The choice of different flight computers will help improve flight safety and guarantee system integrity to comply with the new EASA regulation for eVTOL.
The streamlined architecture of the flight control computers will make certification simpler while retaining the capacity to accommodate further developments and host multiple functions such as navigation, guidance and pilot assistance, said Thales.
The all-electric CityAirbus NextGen is designed to carry up to four passengers in a zero emissions flight in multiple applications. It is being developed to fly with a 80km (50 miles) range and to reach a cruise speed of 120 km/h (75mph), for use in cities. The aircraft is being optimized for hover and cruise efficiency, while not requiring moving surfaces or tilting parts during transition.
Airbus has been developing the evTOL since 2016, and this September revealed an updated design.
“We are thrilled to see that our close cooperation with Airbus and Diehl is once again delivering concrete results through an agreement that will add a whole new dimension to air mobility,” said Yannick Assouad, executive vice president, Avionics at Thales. “With this safe and innovative flight control solution, we are working together to build an airspace environment we can all trust.”
“I’m delighted to announce today the first system partnership for the development of our CityAirbus NextGen” said Jörg Müller, head of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) at Airbus. “UAM is a joint effort. Nobody can do it alone. Airbus is reaching out to potential partners from the industry to design and build an optimised vehicle for safe and efficient air transport in urban environments.”
“eVTOLs will be a key part of mobility in the future and will enormously enrich it – in our cities but also beyond. For this, the safe operation of the innovative aircraft, of course, plays an essential role”, said Josef Köcher, CEO at Diehl Aviation. “We see a trend-setting partnership in the close collaboration with Airbus and Thales for the reliability and safety of the CityAirbus.”