I have noticed a definite broadening of how people view “sustainability” in air travel at the recent aerospace events I have attended. Whilst sustainability used to be much more concerned with carbon emissions, people are now talking about other issues such as noise and nitrous oxide emissions.
Urban air mobility (think flying taxis) is a hot topic in aerospace, and a fundamental requirement is the ability to take off vertically. This potentially brings the aircraft away from traditional airports and much more into town and city centres. Helicopters of course can take off vertically, but high noise levels, emissions and aircraft cost are serious drawbacks for them.
So it is very welcome news that Joby Aviation is taking giant leaps in addressing the noise issue, where it claims its aircraft is 100 times quieter than a comparable helicopter. Joby say the noise its aircraft produces also has a different quality that isn’t so penetrating, and sounds more like the wind in the trees. This, coupled with the fact that Joby’s aircraft is 100% battery powered, makes it look like a very attractive proposition. Joby plans to start offering air taxi services in 2024.
I, for one, look forward to my first flying taxi ride, whenever that will be.