How Far Will Your UAM Aircraft Fly?
Many factors affect an aircraft’s range – the distance it will travel from takeoff to landing. Those factors, which also apply to UAM aircraft ranges, include:
- Takeoff weight
- Wind direction and speed (headwind vs. tailwind)
- Air temperature (warmer air depletes range)
- Altitude (higher altitudes promote greater range)
- Aircraft configuration (less drag = better range)
An aircraft’s range, be it an airplane, helicopter, or eVTOL, will impact its usefulness, its applications, and its operating cost.
In addition to its certified and intended operational range, the vehicle must have operational reserves. There must be enough fuel, be it liquid, battery, gas, or some combination thereof, to stay aloft in case of an unforeseen delay in its ability to land. Anything from an emergency on the ground impeding access to the landing point to weather anomalies that might force the aircraft into a holding pattern until it’s safe to land or to be redirected to an alternate landing site need to be factored into an aircraft’s range.
Technology’s Impact on UAM Aircraft Ranges
Assuredly, the range of any urban air mobility aircraft (UAM) will change as the technology evolves. The Wright brothers’ first flight in 1903 stayed aloft for 120 feet (roughly 36 meters). Today, Airbus’ A350 XWB Ultra Long Range airplane has a range of 9,700 nautical miles.
The average range for a passenger car today – gas or electric – is approximately 400 miles (about 643 kilometers). The flight range of the UAM aircraft now in development ranges from 17 miles (roughly 27 kilometers) to 805 miles (roughly 1295 kilometers). Not all are intended for passenger use. Some eVTOLs are aiming for cargo applications and some for military applications.
Time will tell how far these aircraft and how far urban air mobility itself will take us.Want to continue to stay up-to-date about the latest developments in the eVTOL industry? Subscribe to AeroCar Journal now. It’s FREE (for a limited time)! Join us on Twitter for the latest news, analysis, and insight about the eVTOL industry. AeroCarJ