Pascall+Watson are part of the Skybus project team, led by GKN Aerospace, collaborating with Swanson Aviation Consultancy and Connected Places Catapult, to identify the unique opportunities for air ‘buses’ to operate alongside air taxis in the rapidly growing urban air mobility sector.
Completion of the initial feasibility studies, marks a key milestone for the project, which is exploring the potential for a six-rotor, 30 person eVTOL concept.
Launched in January 2021, the Skybus consortium began exploring the feasibility for mass transit eVTOLs of this size to operate from vertiports on scheduled journeys in the future, akin to bus network on today’s roads.
Studies to date have identified significant opportunities for air buses to feasibly operate alongside air taxis in future air mobility transport networks. A successful zero emissions mass transit system in the air would ease congestion on the road network, reducing overall travel time, cost and emissions for all travelers.
The Skybus project which could help decarbonize and decongest urban landscapes, was funded as part of the Future Flight Challenge, a four-year, £125m Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund programme to develop more sustainable aviation solutions. The current phase is focused on the development of integrated aviation systems that enable new classes of electric or autonomous air vehicles.
Russ Dunn, CTO GKN Aerospace, said: “Although Skybus is in its early stages, it’s a great example of the partnership approach that is required. We’ll continue to work with the Government and our partners to explore the feasibility of this innovative, zero emission mass transit solution of the future.”
The Skybus consortium also developed a Thames-based Vertiport concept as well as economic models and demand forecasts for a London based intra-city use case, with further analyses now to be carried out.
Julian Carlson, Director Pascall+Watson, said: “We are looking forward to a sustainable aviation future. eVTOL vehicles have the potential to change how people travel, as well as influencing their decisions on where they live and work. As they are developed we need to address the considerable investment in landing infrastructure that needs to take place to help realise the potential of this new form of travel. “
GKN Aerospace is the leading Tier 1 airframe supplier for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) platforms, and leading the Skybus project has helped develop further understanding of the emerging UAM sector.