Watch this video to see how our electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle demonstrator, Vahana, successfully completes its full transition flight—an important next step in our journey to making urban air mobility a reality in the near future.
On 3 May, 2019, Vahana—Airbus Urban Mobility’s eVTOL demonstrator vehicle—made a significant leap forward in its path to full technical viability: a full transition flight. This flight test aims to demonstrate the full transition of an electric tilt-wing aircraft and validates the design of the final vehicle demonstrator.
“Vahana’s successful full transition flight marks a major engineering milestone,” says Zach Lovering, Vice President of UAM Systems, Airbus. “It represents everything we set out to achieve when we began our flight test campaign: to confirm the technical viability of the vehicle we first sketched out on a napkin years ago.”
During the full transition flight, Vahana vertically takes off and begins to accelerate. Although Vahana has performed a similar feat in previous test flights, the noteworthy aspect of this particular flight is that Vahana’s wing and canard rotate to the full cruise configuration before accelerating to a speed of up to 90 knots (approximately 168 Km/h). At this point, Vahana successfully completes its full transition and begins to decelerate as it prepares for its descent. The entire flight is completed in about eight minutes.
The full transition flight marks Vahana’s 66th flight since flight testing began in 2018. Following the full transition flight, Vahana has completed more than a dozen other flights. These additional flight tests have measured Vahana’s in-flight noise levels, in addition to testing its capacity to achieve higher speeds in cruise mode.
Vahana is one of two eVTOL demonstrators Airbus is working on. Airbus aims to harness the lessons learned from Vahana to develop a future market-ready vehicle.