One of the biggest manufacturers of commercial aircraft in the world is Airbus. The company has revealed its plans for the emerging Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market with a helicopter called CityAirbus. The next generation of the flying vehicle is fully electric and has fixed wings and a V-shaped tail. It’s powered by eight electric propellers and is designed to carry up to four passengers.
Airbus is developing the original CityAirbus concept to deliver an 80-kilometer range with a cruise speed of up to 120 km/h. Airbus says its specifications will make it ideally suited to operate within major cities with various missions. For any aircraft designed for operation within an urban area, noise is a critical factor in its design.
CityAirbus has been engineered to produce sound levels below 65 decibels during flyover and 70 decibels during landing. The aircraft is optimized for increased efficiency without needing moving surfaces or tilting components during the transition from hover to cruise. The aircraft is designed to be simple promising best-in-class economic performance when it comes to operations and support activities.
Airbus is currently operating demonstrator aircraft with CityAirbus and Vahana demonstrators, having jointly conducted 242 flights traveling around 1000 kilometers combined. CityAirbus NextGen will be an evolution of the existing CityAirbus demonstrator vehicle. NextGen is currently in the detailed design phase, and the first flight for the prototype is expected in 2023.
In addition to working on the CityAirbus NextGen prototype, Airbus is also working with partners, cities, and citizens living in cities to create an ecosystem to support the new type of air travel. CityAirbus NextGen is being created to have the perfect balance between hover and forward flight with certification for the new prototype expected around 2025.