It was great to be back at EAA’s AirVenture. I thought I would share some insights from the first day at “Oshkosh”, as it is affectionately known. For aviation geeks, Oshkosh is a pilgrimage that everyone should make at least once in their lives. Where else can you see three-hour airshows each day, roam freely around ten thousand aircraft, see hundreds of tents underneath aircraft wings, and buy almost any part for your experimental aircraft?
In previous years there were quite a few eVTOL and unmanned aircraft on display at Oshkosh. With XPONENTIAL being held after AirVenture this year, most manufacturers appear to be waiting for their big announcements in two weeks.
From my perspective Volocopter was the highlight of the show. They had a relatively large team there, and their CEO Florian Reuter presented on Air Taxis coming in the next 2-3 years. In response to the noise question, Florian responded that the VoloCity was less than NASA’s 65 dbA standard during take-off/landing, but attendees can listen for themselves during the Tuesday afternoon airshow: Volocopter will have one flying at “2:56” Tuesday (another is on static display).
At their display, I was surprised by how few people were curious about the Volocity’s unique 18 electric motor configuration. I didn’t get a chance to learn how the nine battery systems were connected to be able to withstand at least four inoperative motors. From the arrows on the VoloCity’s overhead lattice, it looks like to “snap” together. I was surprised that the planned range was only 22 miles, and they expected zoning restrictions to limit the maximum speed to less than the 60 mph advertised.
Rumor had it that the Opener BlackFly and VoltAero Cassio were there, but I didn’t see the actual aircraft.
Matt Sattler of Hyundai did a presentation on the future of air travel in cities, and the challenges. Matt framed Hyundai’s eVTOL position as they won’t be first, but they will learn from others certification pains to get to the market faster.
It was great to see the VoloCity, and I look forward to seeing many more eVTOLs (and other unmanned aircraft) at XPONENTIAL in Atlanta.