Building on what the company describes as growing investment and interest in the super midsized segment, Gulfstream has introduced new avionics and cabin upgrade options to its G280 business jet.
According to an Oct. 12 press release, the series of new avionics upgrades are being made available as V3.6.1 to the G280’s PlaneView 280 cockpit system. Among the new enhancements included in the upgrade options are SiriusXM graphical weather with real-time updates, dual electronic charts and a new surface management system that provides verbal and visual cues on unsafe ground and arrival conditions.
The aircraft’s controller to pilot data link data link communications (CPDLC) system is also now “FANS-E compliant,” providing pilots the ability to perform CPDLC messaging in en-route airspace. The G280’s RVSM heigh-monitoring validation interval has also been reduced from 96 to 24 months. Access to vertical weather and predictive windshear information is also made available via the V3.6.1 upgrade.
Inside the cabin, the G280 has a new option for Gulfstream’s plasma ionization clean air system. The G280 is certified for steep approaches, and has recently been certified to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Stage 5 noise standards.
Gulfstream’s new G280 upgrade package comes following the unveiling of their new G400 and G800 jets during a launch ceremony at their Savannah headquarters last week.
“We are seeing tremendous demand for the G280, further proving the aircraft is the high-performing super-midsize leader,” Mark Burns, president, Gulfstream said in a statement. “We remain confident in the G280’s proven track record and are committed to investing in enhancements that further increase the benefits it offers customers.”
LAS VEGAS, NV — Textron Aviation has introduced the Gen2 variants of its Citation M2 and XLS jets at the 2021 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) BACE, adding a blend of new technology and interior upgrades to its light and midsize business jets.
Citation M2 Gen2
According to an overview of the Citation M2 Gen2 released by Textron, the upgraded M2 has a range of 1,550 nm and capacity for up to seven passengers. In the cockpit, Textron notes that pilots will “enjoy improved boot up and processing speed” with the aircraft’s Garmin G3000 avionics suite. Three inches of legroom have also been added to the co-pilot position.
Textron has also added wireless charging capabilities and USB-A ports to each of its cabin seats. Other cabin upgrades include illuminated accent lighting, wireless charging and USB-C ports in the cabin club area.
“Since the Citation M2 was first introduced in 2013, it has quickly become one of our most popular light jet models – in particular with owner/operator customers,” Christi Tannahill, senior vice president, customer experience said in an Oct. 11 press release. “Building on its already outstanding performance capabilities and flexibility, the M2 Gen2 brings the latest cabin amenities and technological advances often found in larger jets to the entry-level light jet segment.”
Textron has priced the M2 Gen2 at $5.85 million and expects to begin deliveries of the upgraded aircraft by the first quarter of next year.
Citation XLS Gen2
The Citation XLS Gen2 features a range of 2,100 nm and seating for up to 12 passengers. Inside the cockpit, Collins Aerospace is providing its Pro Line Fusion 21 avionics, while the main exterior enhancement includes a lighted airstair door.
In the cabin, Textron added a new entry curtain designed for improved cabin acoustics in-flight and inclement weather protection on the ground. The cabin also features a new wireless cabin management system that includes a touchscreen moving map monitor, wireless charging, USB charging ports at each cabin seat and optional Bongiovi Immersive speaker-less sound system.
“The 560XL series is the best-selling midsize business jet family of the 21st century, and the customer-influenced updates we’ve made will ensure the next generation retains that title,” Tannahill said. “Like its predecessors, the XLS Gen2 hits the sweet spot of offering the features, amenities and comfort of a midsize jet, but with lower operating costs.”
Textron has priced the XLS Gen2 at $15.5 million and expects to begin deliveries of the upgraded aircraft by the second quarter of 2022.
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Bombardier has named Collins Aerospace as its new Preferred Service Provider (PSP) for cabin and cockpit connectivity, the two companies announced on the first day of the 2021 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) conference and exhibition.
Under the new agreement, Collins Aerospace will extend and integrate its flight planning and/aircraft connectivity service management platform ARINCDirect into Bombardier’s “digital platform.” Bombardier aircraft operators will also have Collins Aerospace available for the end-to-end management of their cockpit and connectivity needs, ranging from “sign up to training, operations and troubleshooting,” according to an Oct. 12 press release.
“One of the things that we’re looking at doing here is taking the friction out of the experience from the customer perspective. We’ll be using our world class tools alongside Bombardier’s world class tools, to provide a seamless connectivity experience for all Bombardier customers,” LeAnn Ridgeway, Vice President and General Manager of Information Management Systems for Collins Aerospace said during a pre-NBAA media call with reporters.
Collins is also making ARINCDirect representatives available at Bombardier authorized service facilities under the new agreement. The PSP selection is the latest connected aircraft advancement introduced by Bombardier this year, after the business jet manufacturer started offering free Smart Link Plus upgrades to operators of legacy Challenger 300s and 350s.
Smart Link Plus is a health monitoring unit designed to enable a more streamlined process for acquiring and sharing flight data between aircraft systems and maintenance technicians, that is also featured as standard line-fit equipment on Global 7500s as well. With this new agreement, Bombardier customers can use Collins’ ARINCDirect to view and manage their in-flight connectivity service subscriptions.
“Since they’re usually making many different connectivity related decisions, we believe this creates the ‘easy button’ for Bombardier customers,” Ridgeway said. “They’ll still be making that original decision through Bombardier, while we’ll be managing the service, and we can create value for Bombardier by simplifying how connectivity solutions are integrated and supported for all their customers.”
The PSP agreement comes several weeks after Bombardier unveiled the new Challenger 3500 super-midsized business jet during a Sept. 14 virtual launch event. Jean-Christophe Gallagher, Executive Vice President, Services and Support, and Corporate Strategy, Bombardier said the new agreement will give their customers “impeccable support services” for all of their connectivity needs.
“This new agreement with Collins Aerospace will provide our customers and operators with the cockpit and cabin connectivity solutions they demand and deserve,” Gallagher said. “Having the ARINCDirect support team co-located at our Completion Centre, Customer Response Centre and at our service facilities will ensure customers get immediate assistance with their connectivity needs quickly and efficiently.”
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LAS VEGAS, NV — Honda Aircraft opened the 2021 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) conference and exhibition by introducing its next generation HondaJet 2600 Concept, displaying a mockup of the new design that will feature a transcontinental range of 2,625 nm and keeps the North Carolina-based company’s patented over-the-wing mounted engines.
The HondaJet 2600 has been introduced with a mockup at NBAA this year in an effort to collect customer feedback and validate market demand before moving forward with plans to develop a new light jet. Honda Aircraft president and CEO Michimasa Fujino describes the 2600 as continuing their goal of establishing an entirely new category for light jets.
“HondaJet set a category unto itself,” Fujino said. “Over the past five years, HondaJet continuously evolved based on our customer feedback and engineering expertise, we introduced a HondaJet Elite, then HondaJet Elite S, at the same time we became an OEM for the need for a new kind of aircraft based upon the different market segment. New conditions in the business aviation industry have signaled the need for rapid cross-country travel and the ability to carry more passengers and payload and dire necessity of cutting carbon emissions. In response we developed the HondaJet 2600 Concept, which delivers a transcontinental range of 2,625 nautical miles, with seating for up to 11 occupants.”
Fujino said their next generation light jet will enable pilots to cruise at a high speed of 450 knots with a maximum operating altitude of 47,000 feet. While Honda released very few details about the avionics systems to be featured on the aircraft, the company is planning to keep the configuration similar to the Garmin G3000 flight deck that is already in-service on the HA-420 with a few new features.
Specifically, the 2600’s new features include autothrottle, autobrake, Advanced Steering Augmentation System (ASAS) and Runway Overrun Awareness and Alerting System (ROAAS). There are also several unnamed systems onboard the new aircraft that “have incorporated increased electrical architecture allowing for more precise control and enhanced aircraft integration,” according to Honda.
Honda is also including three different types of modular and customizable cabin configurations on the 2600 Concept and claims it will feature a pressurization with a cabin altitude of 6,363 feet.
The launch of the 2600 comes a week after Honda revealed plans to develop a hybrid electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
“We’re creating a totally new aircraft concept, with the performance that not only surpasses that of other light jets, but will rival that of a medium-sized business jet,” Fujino said.
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Aviation Management Services – Serviços Aeronáuticos Ltda. (Avantto), the largest operator of Embraer executive jets in Latin America, has signed a letter of intention (LOI) under a partnership with Eve Urban Air Mobility, LLC to order 100 of its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.
The LOI is part of a broader partnership between Avantto and Embraer’s Urban Air Mobility (UAM) subsidiary Eve to develop a UAM ecosystem in Latin America, according to an Oct. 4 announcement.
“For more than a decade, Avantto has uniquely developed software, systems, and procedures enabling the company to offer 24/7 on-call flight services for short-haul intra-city helicopter transportation to its hundreds of active members. This exclusive know-how will be one of the principal pillars of the urban air mobility ecosystem developed by the EVE/Avantto partnership,” Rogério Andrade, CEO and Founder of Avantto said in a statement.
Eve describes the eVTOL that it is developing as featuring an all-electric low-noise design that is continuing to meet their program milestones including “the first flight of the engineering simulator in July 2020, and a proof of concept in October 2020.” The company has not released many details about the design of the eVTOL it is developing other than real and computer-generated images of the aircraft showing an eight-rotor design and noting that it will feature a fifth generation fly-by-wire system as well.
The eVTOL that Eve is developing achieved its first engineering simulator flight in July 2020, and a proof of concept in October 2020, according to the company.
Avantto has become the latest private aviation operator to partner or sign an intent-to-purchase offer with Eve after a series of other companies signed similar agreements with the company in recent months. In June for example, Halo, a helicopter provider in the U.S. and U.K., formed a partnership with Eve to develop UAM products and services in the U.S. and U.K. Helisul, one of the largest helicopter operators in Latin America, formed a partnership with Eve in June that includes an order for up to 50 eVTOLs.
Fahari Aviation, a subsidiary of Kenya Airways, also became an Eve partner in August, in an effort to develop operational models for the wide-accessibility of UAM to support some of Fahari Aviation’s key markets in the region.
“Avantto has been a great partner for Embraer Executive Jets, and we are reinforcing this bond with a shared focus on sustainability in this next generation of transportation,” Andre Stein, President & CEO of Eve, said in a statement. “The strength of Avantto’s experience in operations, coupled with their growth strategy, make an ideal partner for the future expansion of Eve’s eVTOL deployment in Brazil and across Latin America. We will work together to make sure we continue our mission to democratize aviation through increasing accessibility and affordability.”
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are ready for the initial roll out of an air traffic system software update designed to significantly improve the pre-departure process for aircraft at busy hub airports.
According to a Sept. 28 announcement, the software update is being added to the FAA’s Terminal Flight Data Manager (TFDM) system as a way to enhance its ability to calculate gate pushbacks at busy hub airports so that each plane can roll directly to the runway and to take off. FAA and NASA are ready to to introduce the software update out at 27 hub airports across the country after testing it for nearly four years at its NextGen group, airlines’ airport operations and FAA radar facilities in Charlotte and Dallas/Fort Worth and the Atlanta and Washington, D.C., centers handling high-altitude en route flights.
The goal of the program is to eliminate the need for airlines to wait or make intermittent stops along the ramp.
“When you are ready to go, you want to go. Waiting in line on a taxiway is not part of the flight plan,” FAA Assistant Administrator for NextGen Pamela Whitley said in a statement. “Through a productive partnership between the FAA, NASA and the airlines, we now have technology that brings better predictability of aircraft movements on and above our busiest airports. This will yield benefits for air travelers and for the environment.”
TFDM is an airport surface management platform that the FAA developed as part of its NextGen air traffic modernization program to establish a data exchange and processing architecture for air traffic tower operations. The system includes a taxi route generator and a suite of tools for sequencing and scheduling, route-assignment, departure route viability and airport configuration among other capabilities.
Now, the FAA is claiming that the new software update will give TFDM the ability to predict the timing at which an aircraft preparing for departure should pushback and takeoff without stopping to allow for other departures or inbound aircraft along the way. Data published by the agency based on testing of the software at Charlotte Douglas International Airport demonstrated its ability to reduce taxi times that helped save “more than 275,000 gallons of fuel annually, equivalent to the fuel burn of 185 flights between New York and Chicago by a Boeing 737.”
The software was also able to reduce delays by 916 hours, or the equivalence of “shaving 15 minutes of waiting time on a taxiway for more than 3,600 departing flights,” according to the agency.
“The proof is in the pudding. This air traffic scheduling technology enhances aircraft efficiency and improves dependability for passengers every day. I’m excited that the software NASA developed for air traffic controllers and airlines will be soon rolled out at airports across the country and know the results will continue to be extraordinary,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement.
The airports currently expected to be part of the rollout include:
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Japan Airlines (JAL) is upgrading its Boeing 767-300 fleet with drop-in liquid crystal displays (LCD) supplied by Thomas Global Systems, according to a new announcement from the Sydney, Australia-based avionics maker.
The display series being supplied for the fleet upgrade, the TFD-7000, recently received approval for supplemental type certification (STC) from the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB).
“We are honored that Japan Airlines has chosen our TFD-7000 Series to upgrade their 767 flight decks,” Angus Hutchinson, CEO of Thomas Global, said in an Oct. 5 press release. “We look forward to providing JAL with the dependable and high-integrity technology, service and support our customers and partners have come to expect from Thomas Global.”
According to Thomas Global, among their TFD-7000 series, the “TFD-7076/7066 LCD displays are both interchangeable and intermixable with the existing legacy EDU-776/766 CRT displays, are installable on overnights or at the gate, and are fully compatible with the EFIP-701 and EAP-701/3 Boeing symbol generators.”
The company has also received type certification on the TFD-7000 display series for the Boeing 757, 767, and 737 Classic flight decks from the FAA, EASA, Transport Canada, JCAB, ANAC and CAAC.
The display upgrade for JAL comes amid a recent expansion of its international network plans to include additional 767-300 flights.
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Anthem is the first clean-sheet next generation core avionics cockpit systems computing architecture introduced by Honeywell Aerospace in more than two decades, and the first to feature cloud-native communications, navigation and surveillance systems.
Honeywell is taking a disruptive approach to the development of Anthem, embedding the processing—traditionally provided computers and cabinets of processing modules arranged in an aircraft’s electrical equipment bay—inside smart displays for a complete makeover of the concept of an avionics human-to-machine interface.
The cloud that Anthem is native to is Honeywell Forge, the software as a service edge to cloud computing platform first introduced by Honeywell in 2019. Since then, Honeywell Forge has continued to expand to effectively become Honeywell’s version of a Microsoft Azure-like cloud computing service that gives airlines and business aviation fleet operators the ability to automate their aircraft data acquisition and analysis process for quality assurance, maintenance and health trend monitoring.
Anthem has already been selected by Lilium, the Munich-based electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) developer, as the cockpit system for its 7-Seater Lilium Jet. Separately, Bristol, U.K.-based Vertical Aerospace will also use Anthem as the cockpit system for their VA-1X all-electric air taxi. Lilium expects to achieve type certification for the 7-Seater by 2023, while Vertical Aerospace is right behind them projecting a 2024 timeline for certification.
During an interview with Avionics International ahead of the unveiling of Anthem, Vipul Gupta, vice president and general manager of Honeywell’s avionics division said that the company expects to meet those certification targets. Gupta describes Anthem as a “truly game-changing system.”
“Our plan is to connect at Honeywell Forge and make that system very integrated and available for OEMs, for our customers to use. We would also be open to OEMs that may want to choose to connect Anthem to their own cloud system. That will also be feasible with Anthem’s [Application Programmable Interfaces] APIs,” Gupta said. “The aircraft becomes accessible via the cloud computing infrastructure, and things like maintenance data, flight plans and overall aircraft status are stored automatically by the avionics in the cloud and accessible by any authorized user from anywhere.”
What does cloud-native actually mean? In January, Microsoft published an article entitled “Defining Cloud Native,” offering a definition of the term as provided by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. According to the organization, cloud-native technologies can “empower organizations to build and run scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments such as public, private, and hybrid clouds. Containers, service meshes, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and declarative APIs exemplify this approach.”
Another key highlight of the article is its mention of how cloud-native applications are developed with an API-first approach.
“Make everything a service. Assume your code will be consumed by a front-end client, gateway, or another service,” Microsoft notes, depicting exactly the type of digital transformation Anthem will bring to next generation aircraft.
Outside of Honeywell Forge cloud itself, a key enabler of the built-in edge-to-cloud architecture of Anthem is its integrated network server unit (INSU) or aircraft data gateway that is embedded into its design. The INSU acts as a connectivity bridge for data flows into and out of the aircraft.
Historically, systems off-board an aircraft has not been integrated with onboard avionics and required wired connections for data transfers, according to Gupta.
“The INSU is our portal or gateway to providing connectivity directly to the flight deck. We’re designing it to meet all existing cybersecurity regulatory requirements to Security Assurance Level 3 (SAL 3). INSU provides a connection when you are in air to high-speed SATCOM right or you’re in air low speed SATCOM on the ground, potentially through Wi-Fi or on the ground through cellular connectivity. It’s just like have a regular cellular chip into this box,” Gupta said.
Similar to Forge cloud platform, Honeywell had established the aircraft data gateway as a key cockpit connectivity enabler in recent years. The technology made its debut on the E2 family of Embraer regional jets in the form of the ADG-400. There is also the ADG-300, that Honeywell developed as a drop-in replacement to legacy airborne and portable data loaders such as the Airbus Multi-purpose Disc Drive Unit (MDDU), Boeing’s Airborne Data Loader (ADL) and Teledyne’s ePDL. It can enable wireless distribution of navigation databases and other field loadable software for on-board loading into avionics systems while also wirelessly capturing and transmitting Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) data.
This next generation flight deck avionics architecture effectively combines the connectivity and wireless data transfer bridge provided by the aircraft data gateway and the existing cloud infrastructure of Forge to deliver Anthem.
“The cloud connectivity piece, which we are building on with Forge allows us to stage all those databases onto the INSU. That aircraft data gateway can load all those databases from the cloud, such as navigation database, terrain database, and other pieces straight onto the INSU. With Anthem, let’s say, when you want to just update the software on the airplane, you can do it from the INSU straight onto the airplane,” Gupta said.
In their Oct. 5 announcement unveiling the new Anthem system, Honeywell also claims that their new “always-on cloud-connected avionics” will dramatically reduce pre-flight preparation time for pilots “by ~45 minutes per flight.” For most pilots on modern air transport aircraft, pre-flight preparation can consume several hours and usually involves changes that the pilot must make as they get increasingly closer to takeoff and flight environment changes occur.
According to Honeywell, Anthem will enable remote flight planning, meaning, a pilot could be in their hotel room or an airport terminal making flight plan changes that are directly being updated inside the cloud-native Anthem flight management system onboard their aircraft. That direct integration of tablet electronic flight bag applications into the integrated avionics systems is further leveraged once the pilot gets onboard the aircraft and starts flying through the aircraft data gateway.
However, Gupta said with Anthem the flight deck itself has become like an iPad. The system features what Honeywell calls a “secure cockpit browser” that gives pilots the ability to interact with and move between applications similar to the way iPhones and Androids are operated.
“The goal is to actually provide the secure cockpit browser directly onto your front displays. Our goal is to work with our OEM partners to see what kind of applications they want to allow. But overall, the displays have become the secure cockpit browser, allowing Anthem’s applications to be running on the ground, while being accessed right there on your displays in the cockpit. You can use that kind of a capability right there on the front displays rather than on your iPad or in combination with your iPad. That’s the goal,” Gupta said.
Aside from the embedded connection to Honeywell Forge, or the cloud service of a future aircraft OEM’s choice, Gupta said that Anthem is also being developed based on the assumption that most of the aircraft it will be implemented on will feature satellite, air-to-ground or cellular connectivity that is separate from the cloud connectivity of Anthem.
“If you look at most of the larger business aviation airplanes today almost 90 percent of them actually come equipped with high-speed satcom. I can see a time where five years from now, I expect that connectivity is going to become just a standard piece of equipment on the airplane rather than the novelty that it remains today,” Gupta said.
Similar to the way that Honeywell was able to adjust and scale Primus Epic to a wide range of air transport aircraft, Anthem is to become scalable as well, but in a different way. Due to its cloud-native status, the same customizable screens and applications available to the most advanced Airbus or Boeing jets is also scalable to smaller Part 23 and general aviation aircraft.
A key element of this scalability is Anthem’s smart display screens, where, because of advancements in embedded processing, the screens manage the communication, navigation and surveillance system functionality previously relegated to an aircraft’s electric equipment bay.
“We have embedded this processing capability directly into the displays,” Gupta said.
There is also a major effort by Honeywell to match the human-machine interface and intuitiveness of manipulating Anthem’s screens to match the way most people interact with smartphones. Pilots can customize the layout of the displays remotely from their tablet, and there are also visualization and modern graphical and gesture-based methods, making the aircraft much easier to use.
Anthem will also feature voice activation for some applications. According to Gupta, it’s a complete redesign of the human-to-machine interface traditionally featured in avionics systems.
“Our last generation cockpit, Primus Epic, its core architecture was primarily designed more than 20 years ago. The iPad and other tablets or smartphones were not a thing at that time. As you can imagine, right now, our expectation on how we use electronic devices is driven essentially by how we use our tablets, how we use our computers, right. And we have taken some of that experience and brought it into the cockpit,” Gupta said.
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Gulfstream revealed its two all-new aircraft types, the large cabin G400 and what will become the longest-range aircraft in the company’s history, the G800.
These are the first new aircraft types introduced by Gulfstream in two years, since the unveiling of the G700 during the 2019 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) conference and exhibition. During an Oct. 4 live-streamed unveiling event from their Savannah, Ga. headquarters, Gulfstream showed the first G800 test aircraft while giving a virtual tour of the G400.
According to an Oct. 4 press release, both aircraft will keep the Symmetry flight deck in place that was fist launched on the G500/600, with electronically linked active control side sticks and 10 touch-screen displays.
“As the capstone, of our next generation of fleet, the G800 of course features the safety and reliability of the Symmetry flight deck, with its active control side sticks, extensive use of touch screen technology and our own data concentration network,” Mark Burns, president, Gulfstream, said during the unveiling Monday night. “We have taken these advancements even further with an all new combined vision system that brings enhanced flight vision systems (EFVS), and synthetic vision together in a dual head up display in our cockpit. These advanced avionics increase situational awareness and airport access.”
On the G800, Gulfstream is including seating for up to 19 passengers, and configurations separated into four living areas or three living areas with a crew compartment. The aircraft is powered by the same Roll-Royce Pearl 700 engines featured on the G700—which is on track for entry into service late next year, according to Gulfstream.
According to Burns, Gulfstream has started manufacturing the first G800 test fleet of aircraft, “and the team has already began instrumentation and calibration of this first test airplane, clearing the way to begin flying,” he said.
The G400 will feature three different floorpans, with options for seating up to nine, 11 or 12 passengers and will fly 4,200 nm/7,778 km at its long-range cruise speed of Mach 0.85. Powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PW812GA engines, the G400 is Gulfstream’s first new large-cabin aircraft program in more than a decade.
“The vision of all of these airplanes has been in the works for quite some time. G700 was our initial announcement, we were working on G800 simultaneously making sure we took all advantages of the design efficiency and the manufacturing efficiency to bring this airplane to market, 8,000 nautical miles kind of says it all,” Burns said.
Gulfstream’s G800 and G400 introduction follows Dassault’s May launch of the Falcon 10X, with a range of 7,500 nautical miles, also to be powered by Rolls Royce engines. The company is anticipating customer deliveries of the G800 to begin by 2023, followed by the G400 in 2025.
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Honda Motor Co. has reveled new plans to develop a new electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, as part of a series of next generation technologies being researched and developed at the company’s headquarters in Tokyo.
Details released by Honda in a Sept. 30 announcement are scarce, calling the aircraft the “Honda eVTOL” that is to be powered by a “gas turbine hybrid power unit,” according to the company. Other new “outside-the-box” technologies being researched by Honda include an avatar robot, small reusable rockets and a partnership with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to build a “circulative renewable energy system on the lunar surface,” according to the company.
The decision by Honda to develop a hybrid rather than full-electric eVTOL aircraft is driven by the company’s desire to increase the range featured in its design, which Honda claims would be limited to “intra-city (inside city) transportation” due to the limitations of all-electric aircraft.
“However, all-electric eVTOL aircraft face a range issue due to limited battery capacity, therefore the realistic use area is limited to intra-city (inside city) transportation,” Honda notes in their Sept. 30 announcement. “To address this issue and realize user-friendly inter-city transportation with longer range, Honda will leverage its electrification technologies and develop Honda eVTOL equipped with a gas turbine hybrid power unit.”
Beyond the aircraft itself, Honda wants to develop an associated reservation service system, as well as maintenance and air traffic control services as part of a broader mobility ecosystem.
A video accompanying the Honda eVTOL announcement gives an overview of a multimodal smartphone app-based service that connects passengers to a car-to-eVTOL port service.