• Airflow Unveils eSTOL Cargo Concept

    From Larry Dighera@21:1/5 to All on Fri Jun 12 07:48:08 2020

    Airflow Unveils eSTOL Cargo Concept
    Kate O'Connor June 10, 20202

    Image: Airflow https://s30121.pcdn.co/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/5edc6fb678f9a03a79140cec_Airflow-eSTOL-hero-1600x822-1.jpg

    Urban Air Mobility (UAM) startup Airflow introduced its new electric
    short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) cargo vehicle concept on Wednesday.
    According to the company, the unnamed fixed-wing aircraft will require
    less than 150 feet to take off and land and will be capable of
    carrying up to 500 pounds of cargo. The single-pilot eSTOL is aimed at
    the middle-mile logistics market and is expected to have a range of
    250 miles plus reserves.

    “The demand for same-day e-commerce continues to rise, and we’re
    building a new low-cost aerial capability to enable that growth,” said
    Airflow co-founder and CEO Marc Ausman. “Our approach from the
    beginning is to focus on a simple aircraft design with well-defined
    new technology. In doing so, the team believes development and
    certification costs will be approximately $200MM versus more than
    $700MM for an eVTOL aircraft, making for more efficient use of

    Airflow says it intends to pursue certification for its eSTOL aircraft
    under Part 23 regulations. The company is targeting 2025 for the start
    of production. Based in California, Airflow was founded in 2019 by a
    group of five former members of Airbus’ Vahana eVTOL team. -------------------------------------------------------------


    Airflow Launches eSTOL Electric Cargo Aircraft
    by Charles Alcock
    - June 10, 2020, 7:24 AM
    An early concept design for Airflow's eSTOL cargo hauler shows ten
    propellers on the leading edge of the wing, plus a pusher propeller at
    the rear of the airframe. [Photo: Airflow]
    Airflow, a startup launched by five former members of Airbus’s Vahana
    eVTOL aircraft development team, today announced plans to build an electric-powered short takeoff and landing aircraft (eSTOL) to be used
    for cargo operations. The California-based company said it can get the fixed-wing aircraft into production and certified under FAA Part 23
    rules by 2025.

    The unnamed aircraft is intended to be operated from short landing
    strips of just 300 feet in length. Airflow said it will actually only
    require around 150 feet for takeoff.

    The company intends to develop what it calls an “aerial logistics
    network” for moving cargo between warehouses and distribution points
    with so-called “middle mile” trips of between around 50 and 250 miles,
    and at speeds of up to around 115 mph. It believes it can provide more efficient freight transportation than trucks.

    Initially, Airflow's eSTOL is intended for single-pilot operations and
    will be able to carry a payload of 500 pounds in a 90-cu-ft cabin.
    Airflow claims that it will be operated at around one-third of the
    average hourly cost of a comparable helicopter or one of the new eVTOL
    aircraft now under development.

    According to co-founder and CEO Marc Ausman, Airflow believes it will
    only need around $200 million for development and certification costs.
    It estimates that the equivalent amount needed for an eVTOL aircraft
    is around $700 million.

    The design concept unveiled on June 10 shows 10 propellers on the
    leading edge of the wing and a single pusher propeller at the rear of
    the fuselage. Airflow is evaluating several different concepts with
    the final configuration to be reflected in a full-scale prototype that
    is expected to fly around mid-2023.

    The company has already conducted some flight trials with a sub-scale
    model that it is using to test software developed for the aircraft’s distributed electric propulsion system and also its so-called “virtual tailhook” system to support pilots in making precision approaches to
    short runways. Around the middle of 2021, it expects to be ready to
    fly a full-scale experimental aircraft that will be used to further
    develop the propulsion system.

    Initially, the eSTOL aircraft will have a hybrid-electric propulsion
    system consisting of electric motors, batteries, and a piston
    generator. Ausman told AIN that the company chose to start with hybrid
    power because it wants it to be able to operate into locations that
    likely won’t have electric recharging capability, at least initially.

    According to Airflow, the aircraft will be able to carry significantly
    fewer batteries and smaller motors than eVTOL aircraft because its
    power requirement for takeoff is around twice that needed for cruise
    flight, compared with five times. Ausman said that the purchase price
    will likely be comparable to that of a small turbine helicopter, which
    he claimed would be significantly less than the anticipated $3- to
    $5-million price tag for eVTOL aircraft.

    Airflow says it is in discussion with several real estate groups and
    expects to make announcements for plans to develop landing facilities
    at cargo distribution locations, perhaps even building them on top of warehouses. Later this year, the company intends to announce plans to
    raise further investment to support the program.

    The company’s business model envisages it securing contracts to
    provide air transportation to logistics groups and then subcontracting
    aircraft operations to Part 135 charter operators. It is developing an operating system that will track aircraft and their maintenance needs.

    The aircraft is being developed for single-pilot operations and
    Airflow envisages this role being filled largely by younger pilots
    looking to build miles in their logbooks before moving up to airline
    jobs. Eventually, it could be operated autonomously but Ausman said
    that he feels it could take 15 years to get approval for this in some countries.

    In the longer term, Airflow sees potential for the eSTOL to operate
    air taxi services. In addition to a single pilot, the aircraft could
    be adapted to carry two passengers.

    This story comes from the new FutureFlight.aero resource developed by
    AIN to provide objective, independent coverage, and analysis of new
    aviation technology, including electric aircraft developments. ---------------------------------------------------------


    Airflow is building an aerial logistics network to move short-haul
    cargo quickly and cost effectively over traffic by utilizing the
    unused airspace around cities.

    Logistics and e-commerce companies using Airflow can:

    * Expand time-sensitive services to more areas
    * Offer more SKUs for same-day delivery because goods can be moved
    into cities from remote warehouses quickly and inexpensively
    *Move goods quickly between warehouses throughout the day and night
    * 4x faster than trucks
    * 1/3hourly operating cost of a helicopter or eVTOL
    * 150feet take-off and landing distance

    The need for rapid middle-mile logistics (between 50 - 200 miles) is
    growing due to e-commerce growth and increasing road congestion.
    Airflow addresses that need.

    Trucks add to road congestion and will only get worse as e-commerce
    grows. The diagram below shows how cargo moves today between
    warehouses (distribution centers) using trucks.

    Airflow offers the first aircraft service that can move cargo directly
    between warehouses without the use of airports.

    Conventional aircraft need airports with runways that are thousands of
    feet long. Airflow eSTOL aircraft require only a few hundred feet for
    takeoff and landing (about the length of a football field). That means
    runways can be built almost anywhere, under existing regulations.

    This diagram below shows how Airflow moves cargo quickly and
    inexpensively between warehouses, many times throughout the day and

    Other use cases include rural delivery, medical supplies to remote
    areas, disaster relief, and military applications.

    The graphic shows the diversity of areas that are part of the Airflow
    network: airports, regional warehouses, local distribution centers,
    and remote areas. Avoiding intermediate transfer steps through
    airports reduces

    Started by five former Airbus Vahana team members with over 60 years
    of aerospace experience, Airflow's mission is to expand the benefits
    of aviation and bring new capabilities to the industry.

    The founding team’s background includes companies like Airbus, Eclipse Aviation, Northrop Grumman, Uber Elevate, Airware, and Scaled
    Composites. Most recently, the team worked together on the successful
    Airbus Vahana eVTOL program.

    Airflow is developing the technology to deliver a commercially viable
    solution based on proven principles. The three key technology enablers
    are shown below.

    Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP)
    DEP enables operations into and out of very short runways by providing
    more control at slower airspeeds.

    Virtual Tailhook™?
    A pilot assistance system that provides safe, repeatable landings on
    very short runways. It reduces pilot workload and increases safety.

    Aerial Operating System
    Allows operators to manage aircraft in real-time and integrates fleet
    data into scheduling and ERP systems.

    Developed with an eye towards future autonomy, the Airflow eSTOL
    aircraft carries a pilot with 500 lbs of time-sensitive cargo and can
    operate on short runways.

    1 pilot
    500 lbs cargo
    150 ft T/O & land distance
    250 cu ft cargo volume
    90 mile range + reserves

    The Specs:
    Single pilot
    Part 23 certification basis
    Operates in poor weather
    Cargo compartment designed for low-density cargo =======================================================================

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