In a 20 May blog, Zach Lovering of Airbus’ Vahana electric air taxi programme has given more details of its flight test programme.
“In our last post, we shared our incredible milestone of achieving 50 full-scale test flights with Vahana Alpha One, and eagle-eyed readers noticed that we shared a new image of Alpha Two, our second full-scale demonstrator, which also lives up in Pendleton, Oregon,” says the post. “By having a second complete full-scale vehicle we achieve two primary objectives: first, we have a complete set of spares should they be needed on-site due to variables in Alpha One testing and, second, we’re able to experiment with the passenger experience from which we’ve learned a lot. While we use Alpha One for test flights currently, Alpha Two is the first Vahana demonstrator with a finished interior.”
In the latest Alpha Two picture (above – with its canopy open on the Pendleton runway) “you can see the canopy open and ready to welcome a passenger. How passengers enter UAM aircraft may vary by vertiport, but we envision solutions including a platform or steps (neither are shown here). If you’re curious about the hardware on the front of the aircraft, that’s part of the system that Vahana uses to sense and avoid obstacles in the air. This technology is powered by Wayfinder, another project from A³ by Airbus. Check out the team’s project page if you’re interested in future updates on their system. A first glimpse of the seat inside Vahana is exciting for the team here who’ve been working hard to advance the vehicle from concept to demonstrator in just a few short years!”
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