Vahana eVTOL passes 50 test flight milestone

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A³, the Airbus’ subsidiary based in Silicon Valley, has been flying a full scale prototype of its Vahana electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) since January 2018 and this month passed the milestone of 50 completed test flights.

The Vahana full-scale prototype has so far flown for a total of 5 hours at the Pendleton UAS Range in Oregon, USA.

The 8-prop eVTOL has a 20ft (6.25m) wingspan, can carry two passengers and is designed for a range of 60 miles (100 km) and a cruising speed of 142mph (230km/h) with a ceiling of 10,000ft.

This mid-transition video shows the vehicle reacting to impulse inputs to see how the vehicle responds to certain roll, pitch, yaw, and thrust inputs to guide the development of its flight controls.

According to this blog post by Zach Lovering, project executive for Vahana at A³, more flights are planned through at least the first half of this year to study and check flight controls, navigation, failure detection and mitigation as well as noise during flight. 

A³ has said it will have a “productizable demonstrator” ready by 2020.

Read more about Vahana in our exclusive Q&A with Lovering and A³ chief operating officer, Naresh Shah here.

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 16 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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