Airbus has completed the first tethered flight of its all-electric, four-seat, multicopter vehicle demonstrator known as CityAirbus. The prototype will be used for tests that focus on advancing remotely piloted electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) flight. The initial short hop, which took place at Donauwörth in Germany, will be followed by more extensive trials at the manufacturer's facility at Manching where its flight envelope will be expanded. CityAirbus is intended to be operated autonomously but will be piloted during the first phase of testing.
The full-scale demonstator is powered by four batteries delivering 800 volts and is designed to operate urban environments. It is a multi-rotor vehicle which uses eight electric motors and is capable of 120km/h.
Airbus claims the idea for a compact "flying taxi" was born from a desire to take city commuting into the air in a sustainable way. Prior to the flight of the full-scale demonstrator, a sub-scale model flew more than 100 test flights to prove the aerodynamic configuration of the CityAirbus. Airbus says the vehicle is quieter than normal helicopters, three times faster than cars, and in environmentally friendly.
Text © The Aviation Oracle, images © Airbus