Skybus has completed its initial feasibility studies for using large-scale electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, with a Thames-based Vertiport concept as well as economic models and demand forecasts for a London based intra-city use case.
The research project has explored the potential for a six-rotor, 30-person eVTOL concept to help decarbonise and decongest urban landscapes. The studies looked to identify opportunities for air ‘buses’ to feasibly operate alongside air taxis in future air mobility transport networks.
Launched in January 2021, under the Future Flight Challenge as a GKN Aerospace-led project, in collaboration with Swanson Aviation Consultancy, Pascall+Watson and Connected Places Catapult, Skybus believes air mobility can reduce travel time and emissions.
Additionally, the consortium sees eVTOL’s potential to improve access to more remote areas, such as islands and mountainous regions.
Gary Cutts, Future Flight Challenge director at UK Research and Innovation, said: “The Future Flight Challenge has always taken a broad view of the opportunities provided by the many different types of novel clean aircraft emerging.
“Our market studies show a real potential for a substantial distributed aviation system using the types of aircraft concept envisaged by the Skybus consortium and we welcome the system-wide insights gained from their feasibility studies.”
GKN Aerospace, a Tier 1 airframe supplier for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) platforms, is leading the Skybus project and has helped develop further understanding of the emerging UAM sector.
Russ Dunn, CTO GKN Aerospace, added: “We are committed to a more sustainable future for aviation and we believe there is no single solution to achieve this. It will take a range of technologies and collaboration across the whole industry to achieve our net zero goal. Skybus is a great example of GKN Aerospace’s ambition to work in partnership to inspire our customers into new markets, products and technologies.”