(Conventional carbon fiber manufacturing requires pieces to be shaped and then baked in an oven to set, a longer and more labor-intensive process.) Fixes If Icon is a cautionary tale, another new airplane manufacturer could prove to be an inspiration for the eVTOL.
Replace the wheels with heavy-duty helicopter skids, add four buzzing dronelike electric fans to each one, and you’ll have something like Boeing’s prototype flying taxi.
That industry is based on the idea that quiet, efficient, and safe air taxis (aka flying cars) with electric power and high-tech control systems will allow safe operation by either computers or human pilots with minimal specialized training.
The two aircraft don’t share any hardware, but they both use swiveling rotors to switch between flying vertically (to take off and land like a helicopter) and horizontally (to cruise like a plane).That connection has concentrated extra attention on the aircraft’s testing phase, and Bell and partner Lockheed Martin, which is in charge of the avionics and weapons systems, have done just about everything they can to smooth out its adolescence.“The whole idea from the beginning has been to find simple solutions for complex designs,” says Jeff Josselyn, manager of V-280 flight maintenance at Bell’s Arlington, Texas, headquarters.
Researchers at LakeDiamond, a spinoff of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, think their solution could be the dilithium crystal of roaming drones.They have developed an artificial diamond that can help a laser beam maintain its quality over much longer ranges, and say ground-based networks of these diamond-enhanced power sources could send drones flying great distances, without wasting power to haul their big batteries around.LEARN MOREThe WIRED Guide to DronesLakeDiamond CEO Pascal Gallo says the company’s lab-created diamond—a smooth, tiny rectangle placed directly in front of the laser source—can convert a low-power laser diode into a beam with consistent, parallel rays that can stretch several hundred meters.
But it’s a no-go when you’re on atop a narrow ridge cluttered with bushes with barely enough room for the aircraft, and when you can only get one skid down safely: You can’t rely on the ground to support you.“That means he’s still flying the helicopter,” Brevik says.
By this point, they were accompanied by a pair of F-16 fighter jets scrambled by the Portuguese air force, which led the Embraer south toward the airport in Beja.Even when your navigation systems are working, that kind of guidance is helpful because it gives you one less thing to worry about.