New York becomes latest US city to host eVTOL aircraft, with Volocopter, Joby Aviation and BETA Technologies taking part in historic day

Volo­copter and Joby Avi­a­tion both made his­to­ry this week, with each com­pa­ny fly­ing their eVTOL air­craft in New York. For Joby, it rep­re­sent­ed the first time the com­pa­ny has flown its air­craft in an urban set­ting.

Each air­craft was flown from the icon­ic Down­town Heli­port in Man­hat­tan, where today (Mon­day), New York City May­or, Eric Adams, announced the city’s inten­tion to elec­tri­fy the heli­port, lay­ing the ground­work for New York to become the glob­al leader in the adop­tion of clean, qui­et flight.

JoeBen Bevirt, Founder and CEO of Joby Avi­a­tion, said: “By elec­tri­fy­ing one of the most famous heli­ports in the world, New York is demon­strat­ing glob­al lead­er­ship in the adop­tion of elec­tric air trav­el.

“We’re grate­ful for the sup­port of the city, and we’re hon­oured to be work­ing with vision­ary part­ners like Delta Air Lines to bring our air taxi ser­vice to this mar­ket. We plan to make qui­et, emis­sions-free flight an afford­able, every­day real­i­ty for New York­ers, while sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduc­ing the impact of heli­copter noise.”

Chris­t­ian Bauer, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of Volo­copter, added: “A New York City flight has always been on Volocopter’s mind when design­ing an eVTOL that could be safe and qui­et enough to fly its busy skies. 

“Our flight in NYC proves that we have every­thing required to make this emerg­ing tech­nol­o­gy flour­ish in this city. This event was an amaz­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty to show­case how elec­tric air taxis can ele­vate the qual­i­ty of life in a city that nev­er sleeps.

“We are con­fi­dent this will open doors to air taxi com­mer­cial oper­a­tions in more cities in the U.S., and we look for­ward to fly­ing again soon in the Big Apple”. 

As well as Joby and Volo­copter, BETA Tech­nolo­gies were also present at the event and brought its Charge Cube.

These are mul­ti­modal and inter­op­er­a­ble, designed to sup­port oth­er elec­tric air­craft and ground elec­tric vehi­cles as well. Archer signed a part­ner­ship with BETA only last week, where it would pur­chase sev­er­al Charge Cubes and Mini Cubes. Alto­geth­er, BETA has installed charg­ers at 15 sites across the U.S., with 55 more sites in devel­op­ment along the east and gulf coasts.

Kyle Clark, BETA Tech­nolo­gies’ Founder and CEO, said: “We’re see­ing real res­o­nance with elec­tric avi­a­tion, from air­craft being deliv­ered to the mil­i­tary to the recep­tion we felt fly­ing down the east coast into the com­mu­ni­ties this air­craft will even­tu­al­ly serve.

“Access to reli­able, fast charg­ing infra­struc­ture will be crit­i­cal to enabling this tech­nol­o­gy to dri­ve the econ­o­my and con­nect com­mu­ni­ties, from down­town Man­hat­tan to more rur­al areas. New York has long been out in front sup­port­ing sus­tain­able, next-gen­er­a­tion trans­porta­tion, and we’re grat­i­fied to be part of its embrace of that same future for avi­a­tion.”

As part of the pub­lic show­case, the City of New York out­lined a new vision for the future of the Down­town Man­hat­tan Heli­port, seek­ing to reduce emis­sions, noise pol­lu­tion, and improve the qual­i­ty of life for res­i­dents.

It aims to reshape heli­ports such as DMH to accom­mo­date eVTOL air­craft so that the city can diver­si­fy its mobil­i­ty options to reduce con­ges­tion, while still meet­ing the trans­port needs of one of the busiest cities in the world.

DMH is a well-known trans­port hub for trav­ellers in need of an effi­cient ride to neigh­bor­ing air­ports or for touris­tic flights to view the NYC sky­line.  

Andrew Kim­ball, Pres­i­dent and CEO of the New York City Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (NYCEDC) Pres­i­dent & CEO, said: “The Adams Admin­is­tra­tion has been a leader in dri­ving tech­nol­o­gy inno­va­tion and eco­nom­ic growth while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly improv­ing qual­i­ty of life.

“EDC’s new strat­e­gy for the Down­town Man­hat­tan Heli­port reflects these pri­or­i­ties while mak­ing it an indus­try leader in the embrace of eVTOLS – a qui­eter and green­er heli­copter alter­na­tive – while at the same time facil­i­tat­ing mar­itime freight with last mile e‑bike deliv­er­ies that takes trucks off the roads.”

In 2018, Volo­copter con­duct­ed its maid­en U.S. flight in Las Vegas. Since then, it has flown in Oshkosh, the Dal­las-Fort Worth area, Tam­pa, and now in NYC.

Volo­copter expects to receive a final cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of its com­mer­cial eVTOL air­craft, the VoloC­i­ty, from the Euro­pean Union Avi­a­tion Safe­ty Agency (EASA) in 2024. The com­pa­ny is also in the con­cur­rent val­i­da­tion process with the FAA, which was sub­mit­ted in 2020.

Joby pre­vi­ous­ly announced through its part­ner­ship with Delta Air Lines that it expects New York to be one of its ear­ly launch mar­kets after receiv­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from the Fed­er­al Avi­a­tion Admin­is­tra­tion (FAA).

While trav­el­ing from Man­hat­tan to John F. Kennedy Inter­na­tion­al Air­port (JFK) can take more than an hour by car, Joby expects the trip to take just sev­en min­utes by air

Joby and Delta are work­ing close­ly with the Port Author­i­ty of New York and the New York City Eco­nom­ic Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (EDC) as they plan for ini­tial oper­a­tions, includ­ing the devel­op­ment of infra­struc­ture at JFK and LaGuardia Inter­na­tion­al Air­port (LGA).

This builds on sig­nif­i­cant recent invest­ments Delta has made in upgrad­ing the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence at its New York hubs.

Gail Grim­mett, SVP of Sus­tain­abil­i­ty Per­for­mance and Strate­gic Part­ner­ships at Delta, said: “Deliv­er­ing excep­tion­al expe­ri­ences for our cus­tomers is why Delta has invest­ed over $7 bil­lion in New York City, espe­cial­ly at our LaGuardia and JFK hubs.

“Today’s announce­ment demon­strates the great progress that’s been made toward launch­ing clean, qui­et and con­ve­nient air taxi ser­vices for Delta cus­tomers trav­el­ing to and from New York, and is a tes­ta­ment to our inno­v­a­tive part­ners at Joby and the sup­port of May­or Eric Adams in advanc­ing new and sus­tain­able tech­nolo­gies.”

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Jason Pritchard

Jason Pritchard is the Editor of eVTOL Insights. He holds a BA from Leicester's De Montfort University and has worked in Journalism and Public Relations for more than a decade. Outside of work, Jason enjoys playing and watching football and golf. He also has a keen interest in Ancient Egypt.

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