Airbus Helicopters completes CityAirbus' propulsion system testing
Airbus Helicopters has concluded the first full-scale test of the propulsion system for its CityAirbus vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle demonstrator.
The test was conducted using a full-scale CityAirbus demonstrator, which is a self-piloted, multi-passenger electric VTOL vehicle designed for use in urban air mobility applications in crowded megacities.
Airbus examined the individual performance of the ducted propellers throughout the trial procedure.
Tests were also carried out to check the integration of the full-scale propulsion unit with two propellers, as well as the 100kW, Siemens-built electric motors and all of the demonstrator's electrical systems.
Airbus Helicopters CityAirbus chief engineer Marius Bebesel said: “We now have a better understanding of the performance of CityAirbus’ innovative electric propulsion system, which we will continue to mature through rigorous testing, while beginning the assembly of the full-scale CityAirbus flight demonstrator.”
CityAirbus will be able to carry up to four passengers on pre-planned routes with a cruising speed of 120km/h once fully operational.
The vehicle’s four-ducted propeller configuration is designed to offer safer operations and a low acoustic footprint.
Airbus Helicopters is set to carry out initial testing of the full-scale CityAirbus demonstrator on ground, while the system's first flight is planned to be conducted next year.
The company expects to switch on all the demonstrator's motors and electric systems for the first time in the first half of 2018.
CityAirbus' demonstrator will initially be piloted remotely, though a test pilot is also planned to be deployed on-board to ease the certification process and encourage public acceptance at a later date.
The proposed tests are expected to enable the CityAirbus VTOL vehicle to conduct fully autonomous operations in future.