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Monday, March 4, 2024

California-designed hybrid air taxi to be built in UAE


Most eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) developers have a diverse portfolio of international customers. Still, they don’t often receive funding from another country’s government. Odys Aviation is one of the few companies whose main partner is the Ministry of Economy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Many AAM (advanced air mobility) companies in the US are based in California, but one of them will assemble its electric air taxis all the way in Abu Dhabi. Ord Air A regional headquarters is currently being established in the region, with plans to add assembly and maintenance facilities in the near future.

Relocating to the UAE is not the result of a business partnership, but of the NextGen FDI program. The UAE Ministry of Economy launched the scheme last year to encourage high-tech companies to relocate to the UAE. The California start-up is one of those to benefit from the funding, and its goal is quite ambitious – the Odys-designed eVTOL will be the first aircraft to be exported with the ‘Made in UAE’ certification.

Two things set the Alders apart eVTOL. The first is a hybrid propulsion configuration. All-electric VTOLs have limited range and require specific infrastructure. Hybrid alternatives can significantly extend that range and be put into service much sooner.Odes VTOL Only 200 miles (321 kilometers) of range are promised on battery alone, but that can be increased to 750 miles (over 1,200 kilometers) when switching to hybrid-electric mode.

Another benefit of regional flights is the size of the Odys aircraft. Unlike most eVTOLs, it has enough room for up to nine passengers and two pilots. At 345 mph (555 km/h), it handles short trips and area routes with ease. The California startup claims the hybrid air taxi has everything (from range to capacity) needed to operate effectively on more than half of the domestic routes in the US.

The Odys aircraft also differ from other eVTOLs in terms of design. A box wing and flap-based takeoff system replaces the usual tilt fans. The aircraft uses flap-based vectoring to generate lift and claims to be a safer, more stable alternative to tilting fans and rotors.

One of the potential disadvantages of hybrid electric VTOLs is higher levels of toxic emissions compared to Battery electric aircraft. However, the California startup is looking at a green jet fuel known as SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) for its VTOL conventional gas turbines. By combining hybrid propulsion with the use of SAF, VTOLs can reduce emissions by nearly 80 percent compared to conventional jets, making them more sustainable.

Before opening the doors of its new assembly plant in Abu Dhabi, Odys Aviation is working on a full-scale prototype due to launch in 2025. If all goes according to plan, the aircraft, designed in California and built in the United Arab Emirates, will be ready for commercial operation in 2027.


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