Lilium raises additional US$119 million in share issue

By Business, eVTOLNo Comments

Lilium has revealed it has an additional US$119 million as a result of a share issue among the company’s existing investors as well as new participants. Partners involved in the issue include Honeywell and Aciturri, as well as LGT and its affiliated impact investor Lightrock, Tencent, and B. Riley Securities. Lilium’s new CEO, Klaus Roewe, and three additional board members, Barry Engle, David Wallerstein and Niklas Zennström, are also participating. Citigroup, B. Riley Securities and Piper Sandler are acting as placement agents for the offerings.

The offerings are expected to close on 22 November 2022. Lilium and its officers and directors have agreed to a lockup of 30 days, subject to customary exclusions.

Archer and United announce first route for Midnight

By eVTOLNo Comments

Archer Aviation and United Airlines have announced their first airport-to-city-centre route will be between United’s hub at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and the Downtown Manhattan Heliport, New York City. The  Heliport is located on the East river just above Battery Park on Pier 6. Archer claimed that this is the first route announced for an eVTOL city-centre-to-airport-hub service which may come as a surprise to Joby and Delta Airlines, who announced a similar service between the Downtown Manhattan Heliport and New York JFK a few weeks ago.

In the announcement, Archer said the flight time is expected to be around 10 minutes, although it has not released what the proposed route track might be. As United operates primarily from Newark’s Terminal C to the west of 04/22 preferred runway pair conceivably a path in the vicinity of the Meadowlands before approaching Newark from the west, but clearly, that would add considerable track miles to the route. Conversely, a route to the north of Liberty Island towards runway 11/29 may also provide adequate separation from larger traffic without adding too many track miles, although cranes at Port Elizabeth may be a concern. That said, even five more minutes of flight time added to the predicted 10 would be far more appealing than the one hour plus transit time via car.

Against the background of the vocal stop the chop campaigners, it’s also interesting to note that New York Mayor Eric Williams adds his support to the announcement noting, “We are thrilled that Archer and United Airlines have selected to launch their first route right here in our New York City. We want New York to be a place of bold innovation and outside-the-box thinking, and I encourage other companies to follow their lead.”


Vertical Aerospace announces Q3 figures

By Business, eVTOLNo Comments

eVTOL developer Vertical Aerospace Ltd has released its financial results for the third quarter ended 30 September 2022. The company has also issued a shareholder letter discussing its operating results and management commentary.

The operating results indicated a loss of GB£14 million, which compares with £8m for the same period last year. The company says that this reflects its increased activities, notably in the flight test programme and remains in line with its forecast.  The company also revealed that it has reserve funds of £145m on hand and has also secured an equity subscription line of credit with Nomura valued at a further £100m.

Hybrid eVTOL developer Plana signs LOI with Electric Power Systems 

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Electric Power Systems (EP Systems), have announced it has entered into a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Plana, a hybrid eVTOL company based in South Korea. Plana will deploy EPS’s battery system for its commercial hybrid eVTOL aircraft, which is targeted for service entry in 2028.

Plana is the sole hybrid eVTOL startup in Korea. Plana develops hybrid eVTOL aircraft, which carries four to six passengers with one pilot, with a cruising speed of 300 km/h (maximum 350 km/h) and flight range of more than 500km. Plana plans to finish the pure battery-based eVTOL subscale test this year and introduce a 700kg weight half-scale model next year.The company also expects to launch a branch office in the U.S,  starting the certification process with the FAA,

“Plana has been named one of the top eVTOL development programs to watch,” said Nathan Millecam, CEO of EPS. “We are thrilled that the Plana team has put their trust in us and are excited for this exciting collaboration.”

Volocopter raises additional US$182 million in funding

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Volocopter the German UAM developer, has revealed that it has secured an additional USD 182 million in  funding as the result of the second phase of what it calls its ‘series E’ funding round. The new investment comes from Saudi based fund Neom Project and Hong Kong’s GLy Capital management. The new investment will, says Volocopter, “Carry the company forward beyond the certification of its VoloCity air taxi. Volocopter expects to launch its first commercial air taxi routes in the next two years in megacities like Singapore, Rome, Paris, and the northern Red Sea region of Saudi Arabia.  “Attracting NEOM And GLy as investors is a great success and highlights our pole position in the commercial certification race. This is the key requirement to launching commercial operations and starting to generate revenue,” said Dirk Hoke, CEO of Volocopter.

While happy with the announced funding Volocopter says that its series E funding round remains open and it is continuing to seek additional investors.


Archer select Mecaer for Midnight landing gear…

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Mecaer Aviation Group and Archer have entered into an agreement for the design, development, qualification, and supply of landing gear for Archer’s piloted-plus-four-passenger eVTOL aircraft, Midnight. The design brief calls for a system that will allow conventional and vertical take offs and landings and a high cycle operation. Mecaer says the deal adds another high-profile customer to Mecaer’s growing portfolio while also demonstrating Archer’s continued momentum as it moves toward its goal of achieving Type Certification for its production aircraft in 2024.

Commenting on the announcement Bruno Spagnolini, Mecaer’s CEO said“We’re thrilled to add Archer, an industry leader in the emerging field of urban air mobility, to our growing list of world-class customers. Archer is pioneering the future of affordable, sustainable, and safe urban air mobility. We’re proud to be part of their mission and help contribute to the future of urban transportation.”

Archer say they will produce 250 Midnights in 2025

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Following on from Midnight’s unveiling announcement (see RotorHub International newsfeed, 16 October), in an interview with Reuters, Archer CEO Adam Goldstein has made the bullish prediction that the company will produce 250 of its Midnight eVTOLs in 2025, doubling the following year, with 650 in 2027.

Ultimately, production would ramp up to 2,000 aircraft per annum.

Presumably this prediction is based first on the assumption that the type is certified “on time”.

Archer predicts Midnight’s US FAA certification for “the end of 2024”. Arguably itself an optimistic prediction considering the current position on regulation and the enormous demand for certification the FAA will face once the regulatory landscape is finalised.

It is interesting to note that some analysts express concerns that these predictions may err too much on the side of optimism, noting the strength of the competition and the performance of the company’s share price in the markets over the last 12 months.

Hyundai and Honeywell to ‘explore avionics integration’ for Supernal

By Avionics, eVTOLNo Comments

Supernal and Honeywell have announced an agreement to explore the integration of the Honeywell Anthem flight deck suite into Supernal’s eVTOL.

Supernal is working with  more than 50 affiliates and external partners like Honeywell to develop its eVTOL vehicle targeting service entry in 2028.

“Supernal is leveraging synergies between automotive’s high-rate manufacturing capabilities and aerospace’s high certification standards to build the foundation for everyday air vehicle transportation,” said Jaiwon Shin, president of Hyundai Motor Group and CEO of Supernal. “We are pleased to work with aerospace leader Honeywell to mature Advanced Air Mobility avionics systems and certify our eVTOL vehicle to the highest commercial aviation safety standards.”

EASA and CAAS sign UAM regulation agreement

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The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on urban air mobility to support the development, deployment and safe operation of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.

The agreement calls for the two regulators to collaborate in the development of regulatory safety standards and related requirements for the certification and operation of VTOL aircraft, including the competencies of personnel involved in the operation of such aircraft, the certification requirements for operations in hot and humid environments and the requirements for personnel training organisations. They will also work ​​​​strategies for outreach to relevant stakeholders on urban air mobility including educational outreach to the public and the industry. In addition they will also carry out analysis of public attitudes towards urban air mobility and VTOL as a mode of transport in an urban environment.

Midnight to be revealed at midnight…

By eVTOLNo Comments

Archer Aviation have announced that they will unveil Midnight, the company’s first production specification eVTOL at it’s California headquarters at midnight during and open house event on the 16th of November. The company says that besides revealing the aircraft they will also share details of the aircraft’s specification as well as it’s proprietary powertrain system. As well as the core question it’s progress toward certification of the type. According to information already released by Archer Midnight is expected to have a payload of 1,000+ pounds, which supports four passengers and a pilot, and a charging turnaround time of approximately 10 minutes for the company’s target flights, enabling Archer’s UAM network operating model.