U.S Air taxi developer, Wisk Aero, expects in October to unveil its sixth generation version of eVTOL aircraft which the company then aims to bring to FAA certification, reports flightglobal.com.
While Vertical Aerospace’s VX4 Aircraft attracted the primary flying taxi headlines at this year’s Farnborough Airshow, Wisk’s full-size display of its fifth generation eVTOL, a two-seat model called Cora, located in a large chalet building offset from the main halls, still wowed the crowd.
Executives from California-based Wisk and its primary financial partner Boeing, are quick to point out that their team is among only a few to have cracked the complicated problem of developing an aircraft capable of taking off and landing vertically, and then transitioning into forward flight.
Wisk Aero ‘Cora’ at Farnborough
Brian Yutko, Chief Engineer for Sustainability and Future Mobility at Boeing, remarked, “Doing that is a very difficult flight-control problem. There are only a few that can design a plane that can take-off vertically and fly horizontally.”
Explains flightglobal, “Cora has 12 wing-mounted lifting fans and one aft-mounted pusher propeller. A typical take-off involves ascending vertically to about 40ft, then transitioning to forward flight, a process taking about 25 seconds.” Gary Gysin, Wisk CEO, says his company is flying test aircraft “almost every day” and that its fleet “has logged some 1,600 trial flights.” As for the latest aircraft version, he enthused, “We will be flying the new version soon.”
This six-generation prototype will likewise have wing-mounted lift-fans, but Gysin has declined to say, if it will also have a pusher propeller.
Wisk and competing developers of eVTOL aircraft ultimately see their designs becoming autonomous. While its rivals see a need for piloted variants, initially, Wisk’s aircraft will be autonomous from the start. Yutko affirmed, “We will certificate the first passenger-carrying autonomous aircraft.”
Due to technical requirements associated with full autonomy, Wisk is not saying when it hopes to achieve certification, freeing engineers to focus on safety-of-flight considerations. Gysin describes Boeing’s backing as critical, pointing out, “We are able to tap their aerospace expertise.”
Watch Video: “Wisk Aero at Farnborough Airshow”
Wisk has some 500 people working on the eVTOL project, including about 100 Boeing engineers. Operations are being performed at sites in California, St Louis and Virginia, as well as elsewhere in the eastern USA.
Wisk has not said where it expects to produce its air taxi, but Gysin says: “It won’t be in California. It’s not the lowest-rent district in the world!” He anticipates Wisk could build up to 2,000 eVTOL aircraft within five years of service entry. Unlike some competitors, the company intends to operate its air taxis, “At least at first,” says Gysin. “That doesn’t mean it’s going to be forever”.
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(News Source: https://www.flightglobal.com)