How do you think this will shape or be a part of GA in the future?
Will there be affordable air taxi operations?
Will we fly these things recreationally or only use automated ones as mindless passengers to get from A to B?
We are only just recovering from EASA’s attempt to destroy the GA sector by over regulation and some might say this was only stopped because the regulators realised they would be out of a job if they had nothing to regulate.
With this in mind and knowing what they did to a mature and well regulated exiting industry what on earth are these regulators going to make of putting five people in a machine that flys without input from the occupants and takes off and lands in an urban environment.
May be the start date for these talks should be rescheduled for the first of April ?
The difference is that GA in its current form will never be a big business. eVTOL may be so there will be political support.
I guess EASA have to be seen to be doing “something modern” regardless of how many decades away the “quadcopter-type” air taxi concept is from reality.
I think once a power source with enough energy is available this will literally take off ;), within
5-10 years I think.
It isn’t just the batteries – it is everything else e.g. the single points of failure, and then guidance, avoiding objects, both fixed and flying ones. I don’t think the technology exists; actually I doubt anybody even knows how to solve the navigation challenges. They are, after all, still working out how to make genuinely completely self driving cars (and tricky policy issues e.g. kill the client being driven, or a pedestrian, or a cyclist – in what preference?).
One day this will be solved but not for decades, I think.
In the meantime a lot of “serial enterpreneurs” will send their kids to private schools, buy nice houses, drive Ferraris, while diluting their investors’ equity repeatedly, to the point where the early investors have decided to abandon the investment because 0.01% of millions is still almost nothing (been there, done that, got the t-shirt) The modern world’s second oldest profession. Of course some will say this transfer of wealth from the “believers” to the “evangelists” is good stuff and necessary for technological progress
Well that’s good news for my lycosaurus/contisaurus endeavors then ;)
To add to Peter’s message, also the inefficiency and the noise. None of the multicopter type things I’ve ever seen have been even remotely efficient: they fly purely by brute force and nothing else, and are worse than helicopters of the equivalent size. One capable of carrying several passengers will also be very noisy (multiple small high RPM props) with a bunch of annoying beat frequencies as all the props run at slightly different RPM with every slight gust of wind. We already have to fly weird circuits at some airfields because people on the ground can’t tolerate hearing a relatively quiet piston single – imagine how people are going to react with a swarm of multirotor aircraft beating the air into submission! OK, so say you make the rotors all collective pitch to avoid getting the weird beat frequencies and to allow better redundancy (where if a motor fails, the remaining motors are still powering all the rotors since they don’t have to run at independent speeds). Now you have something that’s mechanically more complex (read expensive to maintain) than a helicopter.
Then inefficiency. While the rest of the world is on a headlong rush to reduce energy usage, these things will be absurdly profligate with energy due to the way they brute force themselves into the air with zero aerodynamic grace.
Then safety. They will never autorotate. Someone would have to develop a BRS with zero-zero capability.
In the meantime a lot of “serial enterpreneurs” …
Moller has been doing this for decades at this point :-)
It isn’t just the batteries
which of course present a fire hazard