Daily Management Review

The future of private flights at Farnborough air show


The Farnborough air show 2018 was attended by more than 100 countries. Total amount of deals concluded there reached $ 192 billion. But Farnborough is not only a rivalry between Boeing and Airbus and an endless series of signed contracts. Traditionally, the British air show displays the latest developments.

Christine Matthews
Christine Matthews
The world's first industrial model of a flying car debuted at the exhibition this year. The area’s pioneer is the Netherlands company PAL-V Europe, which brought its tricycle PAL-V Liberty to the air show.

This aircraft is capable of carrying two people for a distance of more than 1,300 km along the ground and 500 km through the air. The flight preparation takes five to ten minutes, and its maximum speed reaches 160 km/h for air and land. 

"The industrial model is a moment of truth. A moment that divides science fiction and reality," said Robert Dingemanse, the company's general director." The industrial model is the last stage of the entire research and development chain that precedes the beginning of production and supply. All the certificates required to start sales will be obtained from this sample. This is the moment that separates the pioneers from the dreamers." The company expects to begin selling its aircraft in 2020.

Those who want to buy a flying car from the Netherlands developers will have to have not only a driver's license, but also a pilot license.

On the second day of the air show, July 17, Boeing announced a new unmanned flying taxi, developed by a special division Boeing NeXt. The new division of the concern will also deal with issues of air traffic regulation and creation of urban infrastructure suitable for such transport.

The development of systems for regulating the flight of unmanned aerial vehicles will be carried out in cooperation with SparkCognition, which specializes in developments in the field of artificial intelligence and detachment.

"We are at a point in history where technological advances and trends in society converge to demand bold decisions and another way to travel," said Greg Hyslop, Boeing's chief technical officer.

The world's second largest producer of aircraft engines - Rolls-Royce Plc - will also try to win the market of flying cars. The British company introduced a concept of a flying taxi, capable of carrying up to five people. Its main competitive edge lies in the fact that the device does not need to be accelerated in order to take off. Both the takeoff and landing of the Rolls-Royce flying taxi will be carried out in an upright position, like a helicopter.

It is expected that the vehicle’s speed will reach 402 km/h, and the maximum range of flight is 800 km. The vehicle will be equipped with six electric motors, the energy for which will be produced by a gas turbine engine. This eliminates the need to recharge the batteries, and the hybrid aircraft can be refilled from the existing infrastructure of airports and helicopter stations. The serial production of the model, called EVTOL, is scheduled to begin in mid-2020.

Many companies are competing for the right to create not just the first, but also the most successful flying car (it does not matter if it's a taxi or personal transport). PAL-V, Boeing and Rolls-Royce are competing with Uber, Embraer, Airbus, Audi, Porsche and many others. But flying is also a feeling of freedom. Therefore, not everyone seeks to fly with a group of people.

Famous British inventor Richard Browning clearly demonstrated that you can fly alone and even without any flying machines. For this, he created an exoskeleton with five miniature jet engines.

The device develops a speed of up to 51 km/h and can climb to a height of over 3,5 thousand meters. Yet, it is impossible to fly for a long time. "It consumes about four liters of fuel per minute, which allows you to fly 3-4 minutes," said Mr. Browning. The price of the novelty is about $ 440 thousand.