Boeing NeXt has successfully completed the first test flight for its prototype passenger air vehicle. Boeing NeXt’s PAV, for the uninitiated, is an autonomous, short-range air vehicle that has been designed to help pave the way for making use of urban air taxis possible. The company successfully tested the prototype passenger air vehicle (PAV) in Manassas, Virginia.
During the test flight, the PAV completed an autonomous takeoff, hovering, and landing successfully. During the test flight, the ground control systems were tested as well. Greg Hyslop, the company’s Chief Technology Officer, said, ‘In one year, we have progressed from conceptual design to a flying prototype. Boeing’s expertise and innovation have been critical in developing aviation as the world’s safest and most efficient form of transportation, and we will continue to lead with a safe, innovative and responsible approach to new mobility solutions.’
Boeing NeXt says that the future test flights will be checking the PAV prototypes forward, wing-borne flight operations. The company will then move on to the crucial phase of testing electrical vertical takeoff and landing air vehicles & the transition from vertical takeoff to the wing-borne flight.
The PAV by Boeing NeXt makes use of an electric propulsion system similar to other PAVs in the industry. It has been designed to carry out autonomous operations ranging from takeoff, wing-borne flight, hovering, and landing while boasting a range of 50 miles. It is 30 feet long about 28 feet wide. The prototype’s airframe design features propulsion and wing system thus aiming for maximum possible efficiency.
The President and Chief Executive Officer of Aurora Flight Sciences, John Langford, said, ‘This is what revolution looks like, and it’s because of autonomy. Certifiable autonomy is going to make a quiet, clean and safe urban air mobility possible.’
The NeXt division of Boeing is also working on unmanned cargo air vehicle (CAV) that is capable of carrying up to 500 pounds of cargo. Vice President and General Manager of Boeing NeXt, Steve Nordlund, said, ‘Boeing was there when the aviation industry was born, and in our second century, we will unlock the potential of the urban air mobility market. From building air vehicles to airspace integration, we will usher in a future of safe, low-stress mobility in cities and regions around the world.’
Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s Chief Executive Officer, believes that the air taxis are meant to become a reality soon enough. He believes that the transition will happen much quicker than any of us are anticipating. We are excited to see what the future holds for us!