Battery-powered drones are making lots of news these days – too often for causing trouble at commercial airports – but their larger VTOL siblings, capable of carrying passengers, are fast emerging as candidate vehicles for future urban mobility needs.
Prominent at EBACE 2019 are two very different concepts, from China and South Africa. AVIC-owned FACC is here from Austria promoting the one that’s most drone-like: the EHang 216, a remotely piloted, 16-motor (and rotor) aircraft that’s to be able to carry two passengers for flights of 25 min. or so. China is moving rapidly to make the concept a reality, seeing such aircraft as useful not only for passengers but for transporting light cargo and inspecting powerlines. FACC is pushing the idea in Austria.
South Africa’s Pegasus is promoting the developmental VBJ, to be capable of jet-like cruise speeds and helicopter versatility. Key target markets for the twin-turboshaft aircraft are Europe, India and China, says Pegasus CEO Reza Mia.