The Vertical Flight Society’s comprehensive directory, which lists all known eVTOL aircraft, has now reached 500 concepts – a leap of 100 entries since the start of the year.
The directory was first launched in 2016 on the VFS’s electric VTOL news website, with a dozen concepts catalogued. It now includes designs from nearly 300 different companies/developers, which features first conceptual studies and defunct projects, to aircraft currently being flown for certification testing – from major OEMs to new startups, innovators and inventors.
Mike Hirschberg, Vertical Flight Society’s Executive Director, said: “Electric VTOL aircraft promise to be safer, quieter, cheaper and cleaner than today’s fossil-fuel-burning aircraft. The aircraft design freedom from mechanical drive systems through distributed electric propulsion allows myriad new vertical flight aircraft concepts, and innovators around the world are exploring the possibilities that electric propulsion can provide.”
This growth in entries is indicative of the overall growth in the eVTOL sector. Between 2011 and 2020, some $4.5 billion has been invested in exploring the transformative potential of theseL aircraft, with 2019 and 2020 averaging about $1 billion of investment each year.
Early this year, another $4 billion in investments were announced by Archer Aviation, Joby Aviation, Lilium and Vertical Aerospace. In addition, airlines and other operators have place conditional ‘orders’ for more than 2,000 eVTOL aircraft from these and other American and European eVTOL developers.
Hirschberg added: “Since we held the world’s first meeting of the eVTOL development community in 2014, the Vertical Flight Society has been at the forefront of what we see as ‘The Electric VTOL Revolution.
“During this time, several of our earliest eVTOL members have grown from a handful of employees to hundreds, while many new eVTOL companies have only recently entered the scene. The establishment of this new aviation sector is creating thousands of new jobs each year, advancing research and technologies, and creating new supply chains.”
Partly as a result of this extraordinary growth in interest and developments in eVTOL by industry, academia and government agencies, VFS has now reached 6,500 individual members — an increase of six per cent in the last quarter and 23 per cent since 2018 — and 155 corporate members — an increase of 55 per cent since 2018; these are modern day records for VFS.
In addition to supporting electric VTOL aircraft developments, VFS is holding its fifth Workshop on eVTOL Infrastructure for UAM from September 20th to 21st, 2021.
This virtual event will focus on infrastructure operations and safety as they relate to eVTOL aircraft capabilities and performance. The workshop sessions will include presentations from key players and experts from the industry.