Will eVTOL’s replace helicopters?

Not sure how you go with acronyms, but I’m not too good, and the fact that there are so many in use nowadays gets me incredibly frustrated.

I was recently in a conversation with a person who was talking about an eVTOL, and I really couldn’t figure out what he was on about until it became obvious that he was talking about drones to carry humans.  What really surprised me, was to hear how advanced eVTOL aircraft are.

Firstly, for the record, an eVTOL is an ‘electric vertical take-off and landing’ aircraft which looks like an oversized drone on steroids which can carry humans or cargo.

The eVTOL can be traced back to 2009 when NASA released a video showing a single person concept rendering of the technology. Then in 2010 NASA released another concept aircraft that utilised new technology they had developed called Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP) and from here things really started to hot up. By 2011 several private companies started releasing their versions of aircrafts to occupy the space, like the Italian Augusta Westland Project Zero, Germany’s Volocopter VC1 and the Opener Black Fly from the US.

Even Uber threw their hat into the ring in 2016, when they published a paper outlining the feasibility of an on-demand aviation transportation system which helped advance the concepts of eVTOL aircraft and urban air mobility from a science-fiction concept to a potential aerospace sector that is now being pursued by dozens of development projects.

Since then, there’s been a significant increase in interest from major aircraft manufacturers like Boeing, Airbus and Bell along with many start-up companies, to the point that today there are working protypes for use as on-demand passenger services, parcel deliveries, air cargo, agricultural purposes, emergency medical services, recreational flights, and military applications.

It really is quite surprising how quickly the eVTOL phenomenon has grown and the fact that many are asking how long it will be until they replace helicopters.

This article written by Jacob Biba on builtin.com gives a great insight into the eVTOL industry and in particular the video link within it titled ‘Will eVTOLS Replace Helicopters?’ is well worth watching.

‘What are eVTOLs? Are they the Future of Aviation?’ – builtin.com

If you’d like to find out what companies are active in the eVTOL space and how close they are to going to market, this article by Dan Gettinger in the Vertiflite July/August 2023 newsletter will certainly surprise you.

‘eVTOL Leaders Continue Steps to Production and Certification’ – Vertiflite

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