Plana Aero, Jeju Air to develop AAM eco-system in South Korea

Excit­ing news from South Korea with an announce­ment that lead­ing Kore­an VTOL com­pa­ny, Plana Aero, is col­lab­o­rat­ing with Jeju Air, a leader in the low cost car­ri­er indus­try, to devel­op Advanced Air Mobil­i­ty (AAM) and com­pete in the country’s major K‑UAM Grand Chal­lenge first announced at the begin­ning of last year, reports a press release. This is an ini­tia­tive from the South Kore­an Gov­ern­ment to set up a domes­tic UAM (Urban Air Mobil­i­ty) indus­try. The first phase is planned to unfold dur­ing the sec­ond half of this year.

No less than 124 com­pa­nies are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the Chal­lenge (includ­ing Hyundai) as well as the pres­ti­gious Korea Aero­space Research Insti­tute, along­side var­i­ous over­seas com­pa­nies like Joby and Sky­ports.

The press release states, “Both com­pa­nies will also active­ly col­lab­o­rate on AAM-relat­ed Air Oper­a­tor Cer­tifi­cate (AOC) qual­i­fi­ca­tion stan­dards and the train­ing of indus­try work­ers includ­ing pilots.”

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Plana’s pro­pos­al is not your typ­i­cal eVTOL, but a HeV­TOL, pow­ered by a hybrid propul­sion sys­tem. The air­craft can also run on SAF (Sus­tain­able Avi­a­tion Fuel) to help fur­ther reduce its car­bon foot­print.

Braden J. Kim, CEO and co-Founder of Plana, com­ment­ed, “Through the col­lab­o­ra­tion with Jeju Air, we will be able to pro­vide clients the unique expe­ri­ence of long-dis­tance fly­ing ser­vices which has become our com­pet­i­tive edge.” Kim E‑bae, CEO of Jeju Air, added, “As an air car­ri­er, devel­op­ing hybrid AAM is a process for us to expand our busi­ness mod­el beyond UAM.”

Like most VTOLs built with hybrid-elec­tric pow­er­trains, the pri­ma­ry goal is an extend­ed flight range. Plana says its air­craft would be able to car­ry between four to six pas­sen­gers over 310 miles while cruis­ing at 186 mph.

Last month, Plana dis­played a scaled-down pro­to­type of its HeV­TOL at the South Kore­an Busan Drone Show, the largest event in Asia that’s specif­i­cal­ly designed for drones. The event was cov­ered by evtolinsights.com.

Mean­while, the first demon­stra­tion flight of Plana’s ini­tial bat­tery-elec­tric ver­sion is sched­uled to take place towards the end of this year. The com­pa­ny also plans to open a branch office in the U.S. at a sim­i­lar time, in order to col­lab­o­rate close­ly with FAA cer­ti­fi­ca­tion author­i­ties.

Plana Aero aims to com­mer­cialise its cer­ti­fied air­craft in 2028.

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