AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 31

a high-speed option available to travel to their destinations, " the
company said. A full-scale demonstrator of the Lilium Jet-a fiveseater powered by 36 electrically driven jet engines-had its first
flight in May 2019. Certification of the 162-knot, 162-nm aircraft is
expected by 2024, with entry into service in 2025.
A prototype of the Lilium Jet was destroyed in an unexplained
ground fire in February 2020. There were no injuries. If this jogs
your memory, it's because the first prototype of the Eviation
Alice-a 240-knot, composite-construction, nine-passenger, fixedwing design powered by three electric motors-was also destroyed
in a ground fire just one month earlier. A lithium ion battery pack
reportedly experienced a thermal runaway during a test procedure. Again, there were no injuries.
By far the biggest news in the eVTOL arena was Uber Elevate's
$75 million investment in Joby Aviation, makers of the S4, a 170-

knot, 150-nm, five-seat eVTOL. Essentially, Uber walked away
from its ambitious concept of a nationwide airborne ride-sharing
service, received a 26-percent stake in Joby, and invested another
$400 million in Aurora Innovation, a company targeting autonomous trucking and robotaxi services. Uber retains an interest in the
endeavor but focuses on its core ride-hailing business.
Uber wasn't the only big investor in Joby. Toyota, Intel, and
JetBlue have together pumped another $700 million into the company. Within the urban air mobility segment, consolidation and
shakeouts now seem to be in ascendance, with large corporations
taking a bigger role. That, and an increased interest in hydrogen
power. Through all of this, designers and potential manufacturers
adhere to a culture of tightly managed news. For all the buzz about
eVTOLs and UAM, there have been no first-person pilot evaluations or other on-scene reporting. With one notable exception: Guy
Norris of Aviation Week and Space Technology managed to penetrate
Joby's cone of silence, witnessed a test flight, and even flew a simulator. His review was favorable. I am jealous. Perhaps I'll be the
next to sample the S4, or whatever else Joby is flying these days.
I'm certain that AOPA's 300,000-plus pilot-members would like to
see what all the fuss is about.
EMAIL

tom.horne@aopa.org

EHang ups and downs
EHang, a Guangzhou, China-based eVTOL firm, has been
conducting flight trials and demonstrations of its EH216 AAV
(autonomous aerial vehicle), and expects its Chinese certification in mid-2021. After an initial public offering in 2019, the
company is now listed on Nasdaq (ticker symbol: EH).
As a pilotless eVTOL, the EHang is being pushed as a
vehicle specializing in offshore oil-platform supply, organ
transport, and other
logistical operations,
along with firefighting missions. EHang
says the EH216 has so
far flown on 10,000
trial flights, as well as
on 42 demonstration
flights in China and
eight other nations.
A larger version, one
optimized for air taxi
operations, is still in the future. Presumably, it will have
more than the EH216's two seats.
But a recent report by Wolfpack Research asserted that
sales to EHang's principal customer, Kunxiang Intelligent
Technology Ltd., were inflated to boost EHang's stock
price, and that Kunxiang hadn't in fact fulfilled its purchase
obligations. Some have said that Kunxiang itself was a sham
customer, and that the whole affair was a stock promotion.
The Wolfpack report went so far as to claim that EHang has
lied about its products, manufacturing, partnerships, and
revenues. EHang responded by saying it's committed to
upholding the highest standards of corporate governance.
EHang's stock has had a wild ride in 2021, reaching a
zenith of $124 per share on February 12, 2021-just days
before the Wolfpack report came out. Then the stock
dropped to a low of $42 per share as of March. It's not clear
yet if or how the recent activity in the broader eVTOL market may have been a factor. As with everything else in the
eVTOL segment, these developments bear watching. In the
meantime, other industry-watchers rate EHang as one of the
brands most likely to succeed. 
-TAH

EHang EH216
Powerplant		 All-electric
Propeller configuration 	 16 lift/thrust rotors
			(8 dual rotors)
Wing span		
18 ft 4 in
Length			
5 ft 9 in
Main frame		
Reinforced composite material
			
with carbon fiber and epoxy
Max takeoff weight 	
1,322 lb
Passenger/payload	
2 pax (485 lb total payload)
Top speed		
80 mph
Range			
22 sm with max payload
Cruising altitude		
1,600 ft agl
Flight endurance		
25 min (est.)
Charging time		
1 hr

aopa.org/pilot AOPA PILOT | 31


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AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 4
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 6
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 7
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 8
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 9
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 17
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 20
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 31
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - 33
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - June 2021 - Cover4
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