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    hybrid technology

    Technology for World’s First Electric Hybrid Aircraft Gets Funding From Boeing And JetBlue

    Technology / Backed by funding from Boeing HorizonX and JetBlue’s technology venture arm, Zunum Aero has revealed its plans to create a hybrid electric aircraft designed for regional flights with plans to fly by 2020. The aircraft would have a range of around 700 miles at launch, and the plan is to get that up to over 1,000 miles by 2030, which means it could potentially service many popular commuter routes in the United States.

    hybrid technology

    The Zunum Aero plane is designed around the idea that by routing more traffic to regional hub airports, and providing much lower operating costs for smaller craft with between 10 and 50 seats that do short-haul trips, between locations like Los Angeles and Silicon Valley, air travel can become much more efficient and convenient for commuters. Zunum says that air travel between hubs as an alternative to slower options like overland rail and highways hasn’t really gotten any better in the last 50 years, but it hopes to change the economics with its electric drive technology.

    The use of electric drive system technology will help Zunum Aero achieve hard targets including a 40 percent decrease in the overall travel time between spots on busy commuter corridors, or by up to 80 percent on routes that have less traffic. Costs will be reduced by between 40 to 80 percent, too, which could accommodate a corresponding decline in fares. Even with the hybrid tech, the planes will result in 80 percent decreased emissions vs. purely gas-powered regional jets, with the ultimate aim of working on 100 percent battery power with zero emissions once battery density capability catches up.

    Finally, Zunum Aero promises a 75 percent drop in community noise, which could dramatically increase both the hours of operation for smaller regional airports, and the willingness of communities to allow the existence of hubs to begin with, and larger planes with higher seating capacity on existing routes.

    In addition to funding from Boeing and JetBlue, Zunum has a team that includes a leader from a previous NASA-backed project on developing electric drives for airliners, and a long-term partnership in place for research on electric systems power optimization with the University of Illinois. It’s also been in close contact with the FAA since 2014 to work on certification standards for electric aircraft, so it’s up to date on the regulatory environment, too, and is helping shape what that looks like.

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    First Flying Car Technology Set To Showcase By The End Of The Year

    Technology update: Dutch company PAL-V is now accepting pre-orders for “the first certified commercial flying car ever,” its Liberty vehicle. The three-wheeled ‘car’ has a top-mounted retractable rotor, which kind of makes it more like a motor trike with gyrocopter skills than a car. The vehicle can both fly and drive, which is double what most cars or aircraft can do.


    PAL-V is selling it at a price beginning at $400,000, but that’s for the base model. If you want the proper trim and kit, you’ll spend $600,000 for the “Pioneer” edition. This adds at-home training, power heating, special detailing, and an electronic flight instrument display instead of just the electromechanical option. You won’t have to pay all of that up front, since PAL-V says it’s aiming at the end of 2017 for production. Rather, the company is asking for either a non-refundable deposit of $25,000 for the top trim Pioneer, or $10,000 for the base model Sport. The other option will be putting down a $2,500 escrow deposit which can be refunded. This will will get you on the waiting list.

    The PAL-V also has specs including take-off space that generally will mean you’ll have to use an airfield to fly. It has a 100 mph top ground speed and has 817 miles driving distance on a full tank of fuel. While flying, it has a top speed of 112mph, but mileage greatly reduces. You will have to refuel every 310 miles, but that’s still enough for jumping between many cities. The company has been doing concept testing since at least 2009, and it also founded the first North American flying car school in the U.S. in Utah in 2016. Still, don’t count your flying cars before they take to the sky, unless you’ve got at least $10K lying around you are ok with never seeing again.

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    Boom Supersonic Jet Technology Is On Its Path To Production

    Technology for supersonic airplane startup Boom is well on its way. The startup completed its wind tunnel analysis, verifying its first two years of aerodynamic design work and setting the stage for constructing the airframe that will become the basis of it first flight-ready aircraft. We spoke to Boom co-founder Blake Scholl and CEO about the wind tunnel testing that had been completed, and asked why this was such a large step for the startup.


    Scholl explained that this was a major turning point because it meant being able to move on to constructing large-scale hardware for analysis with human pilots. However, Scholl also told us that just a few years ago, this kind of technology milestone would have involved multiple wind tunnel tests through numerous physical model iterations over a drawn-out period of time.

    Scholl stated, “It used to be you do all your development in wind tunnel. Every iteration would take six months, cost millions; you’d better be a big company. But today, you can do aerodynamic development in simulation, where each iteration takes 30 minutes and costs almost nothing, and so you can do it with a tiny team. And then when you think you’ve got it right, you go to the wind tunnel and you verify rather than develop there.” The adjustments in the cost of the advancement process are part of what is helping Boom reach its achievement of creating a Concorde-like supersonic passenger jet that can operate at costs comparable on the traveler’s end to business class travel on regular planes today.

    Scholl’s target is not just to get supersonic flight down to business class prices. He envisions a time when they can bring costs down far enough that supersonic travel will be accessible to anyone who can fly today. Boom sees itself having a parallel trajectory with SpaceX technology or Tesla in terms of massively changing the economies of a transportation tech that at first seems out of reach, Scholl explained. “It’s the dividing line between development and being ready to build, so you do all of your testing and simulation initially, you think you have a design that looks like it’s going to go work, and then you go to the wind tunnel and you verify with real air and real flow that you’re seeing the results that you predicted in simulation and at that point then you’re ready to go forward and start constructing large pieces of the aircraft,” he stated. Scholl said that there was a “really awesome agreement” between the conclusions predicting in software simulation, and the results that bore out in actual wind tunnel testing, with a few areas for improvements the team will work on before heading to the construction phase.

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    Airbus Should Have Self-Flying Technology Vehicle Prototype This Year

    Airbus CEO Tom Enders announced the company aims to roll out a prototype self-flying technology for small urban transport made for single-passenger travel by the end of this year. Airbus has been advancing its self-governing vertical take-off and landing concept through Project Vahana, an internal project designed to research viability and refine a model for urban air transport. Enders told the DLD tech conference in Munich that Airbus is taking the project “very seriously.” Airborne’s transit for goods and individual passengers would be highly beneficial for alleviating urban congestion, and redefining how urban planners think about city designs.


    Vahana plans to have a workable production urban aircraft for short trips ready by 2021, and so actual model tests by the end of 2017. The company previously said it was wishing to field a full-scale model sometime in 2017. It seems like Enders is still dedicated to keeping his company to that deadline. The self-flying vehicle will most likely use a 4 rotor design with variable positioning possible to aid with vertical take off, and then shift to push the vehicle forward in the air. The architecture process is taking into account what’s most economical, given requirements like an electric motor, which Airbus is focusing on so that a fleet of the vehicles will not have a worse impact on the environment than ground-based transportation in terms of adding to air pollution.

    Flying cars might seem outrageous but helicopter-creator Airbus thinks that they would be ignoring the category at their peril, given the advance of technology that can help make it possible. If Airbus can pull off the model, the biggest hurdle might be regulation. Transporting people by drone is still a big legal concern in metropolitan areas. It will be difficult to prove its safety to municipal regulators.

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    The most popular e-commerce business brand in the world Amazon is unveiling their branded cargo planes. There would be 40 jetliners to make their own transportation network. By doing this they will have more control on the deliveries and their processing. The number of shipped packages all around the world is getting increased after each year. So, this pushes the company to make their delivery process speedy by introducing their own cargo planes. In 2015, the company has parceled around 1 billion packages around the globe.

    In the past, the company Amazon had many issues with the air freight services. Back in 2013, Amazon started offering a refund policy for those customers who received their orders late in Christmas due to bad weather. According to the analysts, it is good for the company to have their own air fleet in order to control their delivery process. They can process deliveries faster and with the no-extra cost for delivery.

    The president of ShipMatrix (shipping consultant company) Satish Jindel said in an interview that “They are such a big online retailers. There’s so much volume that if you have to add transportation for yourself, why would you pay a retail price when you can get wholesale? It makes sense.”

    The Amazon revealed their first cargo plane labeled as “Prime Air” on Friday at Seafair Air Show in Washington. The company had leased 40 Boeing jets from Air Transport Services Group and Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings to operate their air cargo network. From 40, eleven of them are already delivering packages with free two-day shipping. The next Boeing jets will start delivering packages in the next couple of years.

    The senior vice president of worldwide operations of Amazon said that “Aircraft like Amazon One will allow the company to continue to maintain our fast delivery speeds and lower our costs as our Prime base and our Prime member growth continue to soar.”

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    Surf Air is a travel startup that provides an “all you can fly” service. The company recently announced that they are beginning to run routes in Europe this October. This service is available to all paying members. Surf Air’s European routes will specifically include daily flights between London’s Luton Airport, and other hubs such as Cannes, Geneva, and Zurich. The company aims to additionally offer weekend flights to popular holiday destinations, such as Ibiza, Paris, Amsterdam and Barcelona, in early 2017.

    In the United States, Surf Air sends its customers to airports in areas such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Reno, Palm Springs, and Napa, that are near major business and popular vacation spots. At first, members are going to need to pay a fee of $1,000, and they then continue to pay a fee of $1,950 per month so long as the service is being used domestically. The company has a large fleet which includes a Pilatus PC-12 NG aircraft as well as other seven-seat business jets, all of which have been designed by BMW DesignworksUSA. European members will need to pay £2500 per month in order to fly between all of the company’s locations. In addition, they can purchase one-way guest passes for £750 a trip.


    The company controls everything via their app, which allows members to book flights and access valet parking at the airport. The new European addition will allow Surf Air to compete more against other business travel offerings. Here is Surf Air’s main competition: Wheels Up, which charges for hours flown, and JetSmarter, which lets members book unused seats on someone else’s private jet. Surf Air was founded in 2011 and has raised $18.76 million in equity funding from investors. Their main investors include Anthem Venture Partners, Baroda Ventures, Base Ventures, NEA, FF Venture Capital and Mucker Lab.

    The service itself is very novel and in comparison to other “on demand flight apps” like JetSmarter or helicopter app “Blade”, Surf Air allows for unlimited use all month long. This is in comparison to having to pay for a chartered flight or planning ahead weeks in advance to see if a flight route is even available. SurfAir even gives its members one complimentary guest pass per quarter and is something neither of the previous companies mentioned can say. The downside? Right now the company is domestically in California for the most part so anyone on the east coast looking to book their next year’s worth of business travel will have to wait. Internationally, however, you’ve now got a little taste of the good life!

    Interested in scheduling this month? Here is a link to their flight plan for July:

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