Flexjet Helicopter supports eVTOL software testing for Eve Air Mobility

Flexjet, which has ordered 200 eVTOLs from Eve, is using its helicopter division to help the OEM with flight software testing.

By Doug Gollan, November 30, 2023

Eve Air Mobility has achieved a key milestone in the progression of Urban Air Mobility through a collaborative partnership with Flexjet.

The companies have conducted an initial software simulation of Eve’s cutting-edge Urban Air Traffic Management (Urban ATM) solution.

According to a press release, the initiative validated and refined the software through user testing and feedback on its interface and industry value.

With London being one of the world’s foremost helicopter markets and a key focus for future eVTOL operations, the simulation occurred four days earlier this month at Flexjet’s Tactical Control Centre at Farnborough Airport outside the British capital.

The test saw Eve’s Urban ATM software shadowing live helicopter flights operated by Flexjet’s helicopter division.

The helicopters were performing the kind of services that would be essential to enabling future UAM operations.

Flexjet operates a fleet of 11 helicopters in the UK.

In July 2021, Flexjet said it would order up to 200 eVTOLs from Eve.

“This collaboration with Flexjet represents a significant step forward in our efforts to advance urban air mobility,” said Johann Bordais, CEO of Eve.

He continued, “We are committed to exploring innovative solutions that will enhance current operations and contribute to the future of urban flights.”

Eli Flint, Flexjet President of Global Helicopter Operations, said, “We were delighted to provide Flexjet’s UK helicopter expertise and to play a key role in forging the UAM ecosystem of tomorrow, helping to inform the movements of the next generation of vertical aircraft.”

Flint added, “Flexjet is dedicated to advancing the aviation solutions that will meet our customers’ needs over the coming years, and we are excited by the potential of eVTOLs for seamless and sustainable electric short-range flights.”

eVTOL operations

The initiative encompassed various aspects of operations, including regular business operations, atypical scenarios, and flights tailored to an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft’s specific needs, enabling the demonstration of product behavior in various real-world scenarios.

The integration of vertiports to efficiently manage resources was the primary focus of the test, in addition to verifying and validating a subset of the Urban ATM product capabilities, with a specific emphasis on the UAM fleet operator support tool.

Eve’s objective with this collaboration was to provide insights into the services required to support future eVTOL operations safely and efficiently.

Another aim was to investigate whether these new services may have immediate value for existing helicopter operations.

Following the simulation, Eve and Flexjet will review the findings and discuss recommendations for improvements, changes, and potential integration requirements.

The companies will also continue to explore opportunities for further integration of existing software tools, enhancing the potential of the Urban ATM solution.

Electric UAM can improve the affordability of urban flights for communities, compared to current helicopter operations, and features a streamlined and efficient design, contributing to reduced operational and maintenance costs.

Eve’s Urban ATM solutions will support this by maximizing the utilization of aircraft and vertiports, further reducing operational costs.

Flexjet Helicopter

Flexjet recently added enhanced helicopter access in New York, London, and South Florida for its fractional owners.

Customers can now use their fixed-wing flight hours on the helicopters.

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