Overair partners with Urban Movement Labs to bring Butterfly eVTOL to Los Angeles
By eVTOL | May 18, 2022
Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 50 seconds.
Urban Movement Labs (UML) has added two additional advanced air mobility (AAM) partners to its consortium of companies tasked with exploring urban air mobility (UAM) operations in Los Angeles, California.
California eVTOL developer Overair and German air traffic management specialist Skyroads are the latest companies to join aviation service provider Helinet, eVTOL developers Archer, Supernal, and Volocopter, as well as others in the AAM industry. The partnership was first introduced in December 2020, with purpose of defining what the future of air mobility will look like in Los Angeles.
Spun out from Karem Aircraft in 2020, Overair said it plans to introduce its Butterfly eVTOL aircraft for passenger services in the region as early as 2026. Ben Tigner, CEO and co-founder of Overair, said he believes the “Los Angeles metro area can benefit greatly from advanced air mobility, given the increased travel times in Southern California on a daily basis.”
The company claims its aircraft will be able to transport five passengers and a pilot at distances of up to 100 miles (160 kilometers) and top speeds of 200 mph (320 km/h). It can also be reconfigured to carry 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms) of cargo.
Through UML, Overair will be working with the other partners to explore operational and infrastructure development considerations, as well as study the noise impacts of eVTOL aircraft in the city.
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“Our partnership with Urban Movement Labs is a step forward on our path to future operations,” Tigner said. “Working together with UML on planning efforts grounded in community engagement, we’re on the path to providing reliable, affordable, equitable, and sustainable transportation options to the city of Los Angeles and surrounding areas.”
Overair, which has operating partnerships with Hanwha Systems and Bristow Group, plans to unveil its full-scale Butterfly prototype at the end of this year, and is targeting first flight by 2023. The company has already completed its full-scale propulsion testing earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Skyroads plans to work with UML and its partners to look at how it can launch its automated airspace management and vehicle guidance systems for future UAM operations in Los Angeles.
The company said digital infrastructure for air traffic management is often an overlooked component to introducing UAM services, and Skyroads believes its system will help manage air traffic safely and efficiently in busy airspace.
“With our technology, we will bring together a holistic group of stakeholders to create a common understanding and action plan for an early embodiment of advanced air mobility and support its implementation in cities like Los Angeles,” said Achim Kostron, chief commercial officer at Skyroads. “In addition to new technology, new methods of multi-agency coordination need to be tested to bring all relevant stakeholders to the table and assure that all preconditions for this new transport mode are met.”