engineering careers  Flying taxi’s propulsion system fired up for the first time
engineering careers  Flying taxi’s propulsion system fired up for the first time

Airbus Helicopters has recently completed the first full-scale testing for the propulsion system of the CityAirbus demonstrator

While a few companies are working on the concept of flying taxis none have the engineering pedigree of Airbus.

In 2016 aeronautics giant detailed a project called CityAirBus. This vehicle was designed to autonomously carry passengers around urban areas.

On Tuesday the CityAirBus passed an important milestone, firing up its propulsion system for the first time.

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 Marius Bebesel, CityAirbus chief engineer

Earlier this year a CityAirbus mock-up made an appearance at the Paris Air Show. The proposed battery-powered VTOL aircraft will carry up to four passengers and will be powered by eight 100-kW electric motors. This will allow it to fly using eight fixed pitch propellers at a cruising speed of 120 km/h (75 mph).

Airbus full-scale test of its propulsion system earlier this week is an important milestone for the project as it allowed the team to successfully demonstrate its intergration with two of the aircraft’s four propellers.

The full-scale demonstrator will be tested on the ground initially. However, in early 2018 the development team hopes to reach the “power on” milestone, meaning that all motors and electric systems will be switched on for the first time.

The first flight is scheduled for the end of 2018 with the test aircraft being remotely piloted before a human test pilot is allowed on board. Airbus plans for the vehicle to eventually carry passengers along fixed routes over congested hotspots like airports or train stations.

If all goes well with the next phase of testing it could be carrying out the first test flight of the CityAirbus in late 2018.