The CityAirbus is a self-piloted vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft that was first deemed feasible by Airbus in 2015. Since then, the company has worked towards its goal of flying a full-size demonstrator sometime in 2018.
This week, the company came one step closer when it completed the "power on" phase of testing at the giant test rig it calls the "Iron Bird." The Iron Bird is a test facility in Germany where Airbus tests an aircraft's systems, such as the electrics, hydraulics, and flight controls. As you can see, it's big, comprising 170 tonnes of scaffolding. The test bench configuration mimics the CityAirbus architecture, including the motors, power electronics and distribution system to be supplied by Siemens.
The latest milestone means that Airbus can move on to verification for the entire electric propulsion system, like the electric, mechanical and thermal dynamics. After it is verified on the Iron Bird, the propulsion system will be embedded on the demonstrator by mid-2018.
At the same time, other aspects of the demonstrator are coming to fruition. According to the company, the first structural parts have been manufactured, and will soon be assembled.
CityAirbus is a multi-passenger, battery-powered VTOL that is designed for urban air mobility. In theory, the four pairs of ducted rotors are designed to carry up to four passengers over congested megacities in a fast, affordable and environmentally-friendly way.
By 2023, passengers could be ordering the flying taxis through an app, fairly similar to how we currently hail an Uber.
This is IEN Now with David Mantey.