Airbus’s CityAirbus eVTOL is continuing tethered flight testing in preparation for free flights early next year.
Airbus Helicopters CEO Bruno Even on Tuesday tweeted a photo of the CityAirbus demonstrator hovering at the manufacturer’s facilities in Donauwörth, Germany, where the aircraft has been built.
“Here’s a recent picture of our demonstrator airborne during tethered trials, ahead of free flights planned shortly in Manching [Germany]. The future is taking shape!” he wrote.
According to an Airbus spokesperson, because the Donauwörth facilities are close to the city, the manufacturer is unable to perform free flights there at the CityAirbus prototype’s current stage.
“Early next year we will bring it to Manching airfield where we can do all the tests we need,” the spokesperson told eVTOL.com.
Airbus announced the first tethered take-off of the CityAirbus demonstrator in May 2019. The 2.2-tonne, fully electric aircraft is designed to carry four passengers in urban air mobility applications.
Each of its four carbon-fiber ducts contains a pod consisting of a pair of coaxial counter-rotating propellers, spanning 9.2 feet (2.8 meters) in diameter. The upper propeller is positioned above the duct in a design optimized for cruise flight.
CityAirbus is one of two eVTOL prototypes that has been revealed by the company, the other being the tilt-wing Vahana, which recently wrapped up its own flight test campaign in Oregon.