Airbus Helicopters has completed initial full-scale testing for the propulsion system for its CityAirbus demonstrator, a self-piloted electric VTOL craft designed for ‘urban air mobility’.

Airbus says the battery-powered CityAirbus ‘is designed to carry up to four passengers on fixed routes over congested megacities to important destinations such as airports or train stations in a fast, affordable and environmentally friendly way.’

“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,” says Marius Bebesel, CityAirbus Chief Engineer.

The full-scale demonstrator will be tested on ground initially. In the first half of 2018 the development team expects to reach the ‘power on’ milestone when all four motors, their ducted propellers, which will significantly contribute to safety and low acoustic footprint Bebesel says, and all electrical systems, will be switched on for the first time. First flight is scheduled for the end of next year, initially remotely piloted, but later a test pilot will aboard.

CityAirbus, which will cruise at 120km/h, will initially flown by a pilot to ease certification and public acceptance, paving the way to future fully-autonomous operations, Airbus Helicopters says.

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