New Yorkers got a glimpse of the future Sunday when two major eVTOL (electric takeoff and landing) companies demonstrated crewed demonstration flights of their planes over the city.
In an event billed as the world’s largest and first public event to showcase multiple eVTOL aircraft in a city environment, New York City Mayor Eric Adams watched as Joby Aviation and Volocopter launched their eVTOL aircraft to Manhattan’s Downtown Heliport. Flew fully electric aircraft.
Adams announced that the city plans to electrify the heliport for cleaner and quieter flights that will include not only existing tourist trips and flights to and from nearby airports, but also freight traffic.
“Today, we are taking sustainability to the skies and to our streets…as we electrify our heliport infrastructure,” said Mayor Adams. “Our vision for the Downtown Manhattan Heliport will create the world’s first heliport with infrastructure for electric aircraft and put this public asset to work as a hub for sustainable transportation and local delivery for New Yorkers.”
Adams said the move would deal with “the persistent quality of life problem with helicopter noise.” [and] “Also get trucks off the road and make our roads safer.”
It’s unclear when the facility will be up and running because it first needs construction for the electric aircraft, and Joby and Volocopter’s flying machines still need to clear several regulatory hurdles.
California-based Joby has been working on its electric plane for more than a decade and has received backing from Toyota, Intel and Delta Air Lines. The company shared photos of its New York flight in a post on social media on Tuesday:
In addition to being completely green, eVTOL aircraft also have a much smaller acoustic footprint than today’s helicopters, making them better suited for urban areas. Joby’s vehicle seats five and can reach speeds of up to 200 mph, while the Volocopter seats two passengers and has a top speed of 62 mph.