Flying cars are once again a hot topic of discussion but this time it involves Metro Skyways, a subsidiary of Israel’s Urban Aeronautics (UA). The company has announced that they are going into the full-scale development of the CityHawk VTOL flying car. The first manned flights of this hybrid-powered six-seater will take place in 2021 followed by full FAA certification. They plan to convert the CityHawk to run on hydrogen fuel cells after the launch.
Urban Aeronautics Ltd has developed advanced aerodynamic technologies that form the basis of a new internal rotor (ducted fan) aircraft known as Fancraft™. They capitalise on their extensive portfolio through two subsidiary companies, Tactical Robotics Ltd and Metro Skyways Ltd. Both companies are developing unique Fancraft™ for specific markets. The CityHawk, wingless flying car with “land anywhere” technology is their latest project and looks impressive, to say the least.
The Israeli manufacturer has dubbed CityHawk as a true equivalent to a ground taxi or a family sedan. Not only does the CityHawk flying cars match in appearance, there’s also space for up to six passengers. We take a closer look at some of the key features, specifications and possible applications.
Developing Flying Cars With Urban Aeronautics
Going back to 2016, Tactical Robotics Ltd developed and ran successful test flights of their unmanned aerial vehicle, the Cormorant (old AirMule). The truck-sized, autonomous vehicle can navigate on its own and capable of Automatic Takeoff and Landing (ATOL).
At the time of development and testing, a spokesperson for the company said that the Cormorant would have military and commercial uses. Unlike helicopter blades, the internal rotors allow the Cormorant to land in sloped or rocky terrain while also navigating narrow residential areas. The UAV could easily deliver supplies to troops on a mountain or carry essential packages to people who need deliveries within hours.
It goes without saying that the Cormorant’s 250 successful test flights have certainly added impetus to the development of next-generation flying cars. Initial development and testing of the eVTOL CityHawk will involve two, 1 000 horsepower turboshaft engines connected to electric power generators to operate the vehicle’s thruster propellers.
While the designs are similar, CityHawk will feature two engines to conform to FAA regulations. The certification requirements call for “continuation of flight in the event of engine failure”. In addition to this safety feature, CityHawk’s design also includes the ability to deploy a ballistic parachute. As mentioned earlier, upon receiving an FAA ‘Type Certificate’, they will modify the design of the main power supply for CityHawk to 100% clean, hydrogen power.
Potential Applications Of CityHawk Flying Cars
The ability to take-off and land nearly anywhere, along with the aircraft being FAA certified and equipped with a ballistic parachute, Fancraft™ could transform personal transport into a new and enjoyable experience. Some of the proposed applications include the following:
The CityHawk offers an incredible opportunity as an Executive Aircraft for private or corporate use. In terms of space and comfort, the CityHawk provides a noticeable upgrade with a 50% larger cabin compared to a helicopter. An added benefit is the absence of overhead engines and transmissions which eliminates almost all of the vibration and much of the noise.
CityHawk’s bigger cabin and minimal carbon footprint result in transporting more passengers per trip. Increasing available landing zones will enable additional arrivals and departures which means higher profit margins for operators.
Fancraft™ can put emergency services exactly where they need to be especially areas that are inaccessible to helicopters. A key factor in emergency response is getting on scene as soon as possible in order to provide assistance and these flying cars could very well be the solution. From medical evacuation, search and rescue, firefighting to hurricane and earthquake recovery, the CityHawk can transform the industry. They will have the ability to be available anywhere within a short period of time regardless of access, weather or terrain.
Advantages of eVTOL CityHawk
The main advantage of the CityHawk over helicopters and other proposed eVTOL aircraft is its dimensions. This results in a wingless, rotorless design, combined with its significant payload of up six passengers. All the rotors are located inside the fuselage achieving unmatched safety to ground personnel and exceptional noise reduction. The result is an acoustic footprint equivalent to that of a passing car which, in itself, is an impressive feat.
An overview of the benefits include:
- High Occupancy
- Unprecedented Access
- All-Weather Capability
- Exceptionally Quiet
- FAA Certification Compliant
As stated on the company website, “Today’s innovation needs to anticipate tomorrow’s technology in order to optimise its potential”. The CityHawk, with Fancraft™ technology, is designed with the future in mind. To succeed in today’s competitive market, you must accommodate evolving technologies like artificial intelligence and energy sources. For that reason, Metro-Skyways chose to work with Hydrogen, a cleaner, more sustainable energy source with no by-product except water.
With a range of 150 km and a top speed of 270km/h, CityHawk has the potential to carry up to six people, including the pilot. The two-engine configuration helps conform to FAA requirements along with the ballistic parachute in the event of catastrophic failure. Other features and specifications include the following:
- VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing)
- Payload: 760 kg (1 670 lb)
- Cruise speed (75%): 234 km/h
- Fuel capacity: 800 litres
- Range with passengers: 150 km plus 20 minutes reserve
- Range with pilot only: 360 km plus 20 minutes reserve
- Estimated noise level: 76 dBA
The innovation and design just keep getting bigger and better as the next planned project is the Falcon XP. It is the company’s big brother Fancraft™ that will have space for 14 occupants including the pilot. What are your thoughts on this latest addition to the world of flying cars? Would you be willing to be on that first manned flight in 2021?
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