Avionics News October 57-10 - 42

eVTOL AIR VEHICLES
Continued from page 41

owner)," Fymat said. And these new vehicles will also
have detect-and-avoid systems with various sensors that
will have to be inspected, serviced and at times replaced.
Honeywell has a memorandum of agreement with
Vertical Aerospace, a leading eVTOL company in the
United Kingdom, that will integrate Honeywell's latest
flight systems into urban air mobility vehicles. This
includes Honeywell's compact fly-by-wire system that
fits in a package the size of a paperback book.
None of the prospective air taxi operators or aircraft
manufacturers intend to set up their own repair shop
network, and even if they play in maintenance and
repair a bit, they won't have a staff of their own A&P
mechanics. "They are looking to partner with MRO
organizations, and that is an opportunity for those
businesses," Fymat said.
"If a repair shop is thinking strategically regarding
where this business is headed, it should reach out and
work with Uber on what their plans are for MRO,"
Fymat said. Signature Flight Support set up a nationwide
partnership with Uber Elevate a year ago to become the
first on-airport infrastructure partner.
Fymat said shops could also partner with companies
like Lilium, in Munich, Germany. Lilium is developing
an eVTOL aircraft for use in regional air mobility. The
aircraft has 36 single-stage electric motors providing
thrust in almost any direction so that it doesn't need a
tail, a rudder, propellers or a gearbox. There is only one
moving part in the engine. Lilium is flight testing a fullscale prototype and has completed 100 flights so far. The
aircraft will have a 186-mile range for regional flights.
Cargo drones are also seen as a promising segment
for early operational use because certification and
regulation are less risky. A year ago, San Franciscobased startup Elroy Air Cargo conducted the first flight
of its 250-pound payload Chaparral cargo drone that has
a range of 300 miles. The company sees cargo drones as
a steppingstone to flying people. Elroy is partnered with
EmbraerX, the innovation arm of the Brazilian company.
Just how soon cargo drones will go operational at
more than a demonstration level is not clear, but Fymat
thinks it could happen as early as 2025.
One experimental test pilot and flight test engineer
who co-founded Sabrewing Aircraft in Silicon Valley
42

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OCTOBER

2020

plans to get going on operations before that. Both he
and his partner, engineer Oliver Garrow, have extensive
experience with drones and in aerospace and defense.
Chief Executive Officer Ed De Reyes saw air cargo as
a near-term possibility using an off-the-shelf approach.
The COVID-19 outbreak postponed the first flight of the
company's 30-foot-long 1,000-pound payload prototype.
The production Rhaegal RG-1 drone will be 47.9 feet
long with a 55.8-foot wingspan. It is being designed to
cruise on one engine at 25% of power close to a ground
idle power setting so it can conduct a lot of out and back
cargo missions up to 250 nautical miles from an airport.
The aircraft has a 1,000-nautical mile range. De Reyes
said one advantage of this operational scheme is that the
cheapest fuel is always at home base.
The eVTOL air vehicle has four ducted electric motor
fans for lift and forward flight and a Safran Ardiden 3
turboshaft to generate power. The production drone will
have a payload of 5,400 pounds in VTOL mode and
10,000 pounds with a short takeoff run of just 350 feet.
The nose can be lifted on the ground to load LD-1 -2 or
-3 cargo containers, or bulk cargo can be pushed in over
rollers on the floor. The drone does not require a special
recharging station.
The RG-1 will make use of off-the-shelf avionics
including automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast
and the traffic alert and collision avoidance system.
The aircraft will also have its own customized landing
zone clearance system featuring LIDAR, radar, Iris
Automation cameras and artificial intelligence. A Garmin
weather radar that can detect objects at a distance will
also be installed.
"All this will be fused together in an auto-flight
system with an overall picture of the aircraft's
environment," De Reyes said. It will keep the aircraft
clear of any conflicts in the air, on the ground and warn
if it is about to fly into the side of a mountain. If a person
is standing in the way of a landing on the ground, this
system will detect that. "For the amount of intelligence
built in, it (the auto-flight system) is not more expensive
than a weather radar or TCAS," he added.
If the aircraft loses communications five minutes
after takeoff, it can continue the flight all the way to the
destination autonomously. The remote operator station
doesn't have a throttle or a stick, just a keyboard and a
set of monitors.
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Avionics News October 57-10

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Avionics News October 57-10

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Avionics News October 57-10 - Intro
Avionics News October 57-10 - No label
Avionics News October 57-10 - Cover2
Avionics News October 57-10 - 1
Avionics News October 57-10 - 2
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