TU Delft students successful in Vertical Flight Society Student Competition
A team of six students from The Faculty of Aerospace Engineering led by Dr. Marilena Pavel have designed an electric vertical takeoff and landing air taxi that is fully accessible for passengers with transportation difficulties. In these types of small aircraft designs this is still often overlooked. The team: “We designed our concept, called AETHER, for flying between hubs in urban, suburban and rural areas, flying 100 kilometres in 1 hour. It fits a pilot and two passengers with mobility issues or a pilot and four regular passengers. In this way, anyone with any disability can have access to the magic and wonder of flying in an air taxi.” With this design, the team won the 2nd place in The Vertical Flight Society Annual Student Design Competition, Undergraduate category.
Vertical Flight Society competition
Each year, the Vertical Flight Society (VFS) competition challenges students to design a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft – basically a helicopter when taking-off, climbing and descending and an airplane during cruise flight - that meets specified requirements. This year’s challenge was entitled ‘eVTOL Air Taxi for Passengers with Reduced Mobility’ and it was sponsored by Bell Helicopters, Fort Worth, Texas. The aircraft needed to accommodate passengers with a broad spectrum of mobility difficulties or other disabilities. The spectrum includes people who are in a wheelchair, but also parents travelling with small children, older people and pregnant women.
The competition provides a practical exercise for engineering students at colleges and universities and aims to promote student interest in VTOL engineering and technology. Academic teams from around the world submitted entries in this year’s competition. A team of six students (from left to right Nanami Hashimoto, Laura Domenech Garrido, Keiya Iwamida, Jonathan Tegischer, Antonio García Bulder and Yaren Curgul) under the supervision of Dr. Marilena D. Pavel, Ir. Nils Barfknecht and Ing. Johan Leijtens won the 2nd place in this competition.
Access to the magic of flying in an air taxi
The AETHER solution from the TU Delft students was designed as a full electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) concept with a low carbon footprint and suitable for 2 passengers with mobility issues or 4 passengers without special needs. The AETHER concept was fully optimized for urban, suburban and rural travel, able to fly 100 kilometres in one hour. Design solutions to accommodate passengers with mobility issues include a high wing position for safe and easy boarding, a ramp for stretcher and wheelchair access and a seat design with room for a wheelchair en medical equipment. Pavel: “In this way, anyone with any disability can have access to the magic and wonder of flying in an air taxi.”