Back to the future – Advanced Air Mobility

Smithsonian National Postal Museum

Earlier this week I attended the Canadian Advanced Air Mobility Consortium
(CAAM) press launch. It was very well put together and shows great promise, I wish them well.

Delivering things into inner cities has been tried before, for one year. In America, the post office trialled airmail, airport to rooftop. The flights were between Philadelphia’s central post office and Camden Central Airport, New Jersey taking place from July 6, 1939 to July 5, 1940. They flew five times a day weather permitting on a six-minute route.

In the way, we are seeing many renderings of visions and worthy trials these flights really served to advertise a newly stood up autogyro company. The Kellett Autogiro Corporation founded in 1939 manufacturing Autogyros, under license from Pitcairn-Cierva Autogiro Company in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.

Anybody considering entering the AAM world should look back before rushing forward.

But wait there’s more, the autogyro is already being reconsidered.

DLR has been having a think about it researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) are developing new technologies for safe, flexible and economical freight delivery. They are analyzing different aircraft and their potential for automation.

Within the project ALAADy (Automated Low Altitude Air Delivery), DLR is investigating automated and unmanned freight delivery. The flight in very low level altitudes below 500 feet with comparably large scale aircraft is especially innovative. Safety, technological feasibility and economical aspects are core elements of the project. Relevant applications are transportation of time critical cargo like replacement parts or humanitarian goods.

For these applications, specialized aircraft concepts are designed to carry around one metric ton of payload and airspace integration is explored. Key components for safe operation and certification of drones are concepts recently published by EASA.

Whether such an automatic transport system is safe and feasible using these new concepts is one of the main questions the researchers are studying. For this purpose, the whole systems including its operation are analyzed within a realistic simulation environment. Additionally, a prototype based on a gyrocopter is developed to investigate aspects of the study in flight test.

There is also this one