- The startup thinks that aerial commuting is inevitable within the next 10 years.
The first untethered test flight of a two-seat Volar aircraft prototype was successfully completed by a London-based eVTOL startup.
Bellwether Industries’ futuristic-looking Volar, which would not appear out of place in a James Bond film, is set to take to the skies by 2028.
According to Bellwether, the Volar will pioneer a “new type of private urban aircraft for intra-city transport, which includes a hidden propulsion system, a very compact profile, a lifting body, and a safe means to go into and around a city.”
The final version of the aircraft will be around 10.5 feet (3.2 meters) wide, while the prototype model used in the previous test flights was about half the size. The current Volar aircraft prototype is a two-seater, with room for four to five passengers in the final design.
Last year, Bellwether Industries debuted at DroneX/Helitech in London, showcasing its prototype and introducing the public to the notion of Volar, the derivative that defines private UAM aircraft for intracity transport.
One month later, the firm was an exhibitor and panelist at the Dubai Air Show, a key event in the worldwide aviation industry.
Bellwether Industries’ Chief Operating Officer and co-founder, Kai-Tse (KT) Lin, stated;
“Our volar flies smoothly and proves our efforts that go into innovation and technology. We are confident in our volar and will strive for perfection with continuous improvement.”
The most recent flying test was conducted at a height of 13 feet (4 meters) at a speed of 40 kilometers per hour (25 miles per hour). The team stated that the test flight demonstrated the prototype’s stability and controllability and will serve as the beginning of a series of development initiatives.
Bellwether Industries’ CEO and founder, Kun-Yang (Daniel) Chen, stated: “The year 2021 marks the point at which Bellwether Industries takes a great step forward and has shown our potential towards the next level. It’s an exciting moment to witness the world’s first eVTOL without a large wingspan or exposed blades come into reality.”
A 135-mph Flying Car
Bellwether Industries also announced that the final concept of a full-scale volar will perform intracity travels at an altitude of 3,000 feet (915 meters) and speeds of up to 220 kilometers per hour (135 miles per hour).
Bellwether debuted its ‘antelope’ prototype at the 2021 Dubai Air Show. The company has so far raised $1 million from angel investors and is now looking for more funding to create its full-sized model.
“‘We believe that people commuting in the sky is inevitable within the next 10 years. Therefore, we create a volar for anyone to fly anytime and anywhere to any point. The ultimate goal of bellwether industries is to build a brand new 3-dimensional lifestyle and to lead the world toward a more comprehensive urban mobility,” the company says on its website.
The ultimate ‘Volar’ model, according to Bellwether, will travel at altitudes of around 3,000 feet, achieving speeds of 135 mph (217 km/h). Meanwhile, the battery life is estimated to be around 90 minutes, which is comparable to flying taxi models under development, such as Lilium’s eVTOL aircraft.
A significant amount of work remains to be done on Bellwether’s prototype, and flying taxi businesses such as Volocopter must still work toward flight certification before they can prepare their services for their anticipated 2023 start date. Nonetheless, multiple test flight footage reveal that eVTOL mobility is now more likely a matter of when rather than if.