The Future of Advanced Air Mobility
Charles Alcock

Charles Alcock

Charles Alcock is a senior editor with AIN Publications, having returned to the company in 2019 to launch FutureFlight.aero. He has been an aviation journalist since 1986, and previously worked for AIN from 1990 to 2017, most recently as editor-in-chief. In his new UK-based role, he focuses on covering new aerospace technologies and international news.

Having been raised in the London area, Alcock studied at Manchester University in the northwest of England and earned an honors degree in Politics and Modern History. He speaks English and French, and some German.

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Japan Airlines Backs Plans for Electric Wing-in-Ground-Effect Sea Gliders

The Asian carrier is investing an undisclosed amount in a U.S. start-up called Regent and assessing how sea gliders operating routes of up to 180 miles could better connect Japan's islands.
Regent says it has raised $45 million to support the development of a family of electric-powered sea gliders. Japan Air Lines is the latest prospective operator to show an interest in its Viceroy vessel, which is due to be certified under maritime regulations to carry 12 passengers on coastal routes.
Regent's Viceroy electric sea glider is expected to carry 12 passengers on coastal routes of up to 180 miles.

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U.S. Air Force Provides More Funding for Electra's eSTOL Aircraft

Under a Strategic Funding Increase, the Afrwerx innovation unit is making up to $85 million available to support the Virginia-based start-up's efforts to build and fly a full-scale preproduction model.
Expected to carry nine passengers or 2,500 pounds of freight, Electra's hybrid-electric eSTOL aircraft is intended for a variety of civil and military applications and for landing strips of no more than 300 feet. The company, which says it is about to start test flights with a two-seat technology demonstrator, now has more funding to complete development and certification.
The U.S. Air Force is evaluating military roles for Electa's eSTOL aircraft.

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Japan's SkyDrive Focuses on South Carolina for U.S. eVTOL Services

The company is establishing a base in Beaufort County to explore possible uses for eVTOL air taxi services with its two-seat SD-05 vehicle.
Japanese eVTOL aircraft developer SkyDrive sees South Carolina as a likely early adopter of all-electric air taxi services. Under an agreement with local and state officials, it will develop plans to launch operations with prospective partners as it continues to work on certification for its aircraft, which is intended for trips of no more than six miles.
SkyDrive plans its two-seat SD-05 eVTOL aircraft to be used for air taxi services.

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Saudi Oil Giant Backs Drone Operations and Traffic Management Group Terra Drone

Aramco's venture capital arm Wa'ed Ventures has invested $14 million in Japan-based Terra Drone to establish a Saudi Arabian division of the drone services and uncrewed traffic management group.
Terra Drone, which already provides drone operations and uncrewed traffic management services in 10 countries, is now establishing a Saudi Arabian division following a $14 million investment by the country's government-owned energy group Aramco. The Japan-based company also intends to support eVTOL aircraft operations through partnerships with vehicle manufacturers and operators.
Saudi Arabia seems advanced air mobility, including drone and eVTOL aircraft operations, as a path to diversifying its economy.

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Moya Aero Views Agricultural and Cargo Services as Likely Early Uses for Autonomous eVTOL Aircraft

The company's plans to develop an eVTOL vehicle with a 440-pound payload were boosted this week by a $2 million grant from the Brazilian government.
Moya Aero aims to have a technology demonstrator example of its eVTOL aircraft ready to start flight testing in September 2023. Building on the aircraft development expertise of its parent company, ACS Aviation, which has worked with partners including Embraer, the new business intends to offer the vehicle for applications such as crop-spraying and cargo deliveries.
Moya Aero's autonomous eVTOL vehicle could have agricultural uses.

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MightyFly Starts Flight Testing Longer-range Autonomous eVTOL Freighter Aircraft

The second-generation Cento design features a new pusher propeller that will allow the derivative of the earlier MF-100 design to carry a 100-pound payload on trips of up to 600 miles.
The FAA has issued a special airworthiness certificate and a certificate of authorization for MightFly's Cento eVTOL prototype, allowing the San Francisco-based start-up to expand the scale of flight testing with the autonomous freighter. The company plans to operate the Cento itself and promises significant cost savings for customers, including manufacturers needing to accelerate supply chains, medical and pharmaceutical groups, and retailers.
MightyFly's Cento autonomous eVTOL aircraft

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Australian Government Funds Plans To Electrify Regional Airliners

Dovetail Electric Aviation this week was awarded a A$3 million grant to support its efforts to equip aircraft such as the Cessna Caravan to use electric propulsion systems.
Australia's Dovetail Electric Aviation and its European sister company, Dante Aeronautical, are working to convert regional aircraft to use battery-electric or hydrogen fuel cell propulsion systems. These plans have been boosted by new government funding.
Dovetail Electric Aviation plans to convert aircraft such as the Textron King Air to electric propulsion.

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Advanced Air Mobility Flight Test Site To Open at German Airport

Skyroads will use the Augsburg facility to develop its air traffic automation technology to support the operation of eVTOL aircraft and large drones.
The new advanced air mobility test base at Augsburg Airport in southern Germany will be used by air traffic automation specialist Skyroads and partners including eVTOL aircraft developers Superal, Manta, and FlyNow Aviation, public transportation platform Flix, the Technical University of Munich, and drone companies Hybrid-Airplane Technologies and Blueflight, as well as the Horyzn student research initiative and flight controls specialist Amazilia Aerospace.
Augsburg Airport in southern Germany is the site for a new advanced air mobility test center.

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ZeroAvia Achieves First Flight with Hydrogen-powered Regional Airliner

A 19-seat Dornier 228 aircraft with one of its turboprop engines replaced by the company's fuel-cell-based powertrain made a 10-minute flight on January 19 from Kemble Airport in the UK.
ZeroAvia is stepping up flight testing of its 600-kilowatt hydrogen-electric propulsion system as it aims to get a converted regional airliner into commercial service in 2025. The company says it will soon announce the first aircraft type to be converted, as well as a manufacturing partner and a launch airline customer.
ZeroAvia's hydrogen-powered Dornier 228 technology demonstrator aircraft made its first flight on January 19.

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eVTOL Aircraft Developers Wisk and Lilium Make Leadership Changes

The U.S. and European companies are rebooting their C-suites with new appointments at the start of a critical year for the advanced air mobility sector.
At Wisk Aero, Boeing executive Brian Yutko will succeed Gary Gysin as CEO. Lilium is promoting Oliver Vogelgesang to take over as CFO from Geoffrey Richardson, while Sebastien Borel is being promoted to chief commercial officer.
Wisk Aero's CEO Gary Gysin is retiring from the company in February 2022 after leading the development of the company's eVTOL aircraft.