Student Design Competition Focus is Reduced Mobility Pax

12 August 2021

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Vertical Flight Society challenges university students to design electric air taxis that accommodate passengers with reduced mobility.

The Vertical Flight Society (VFS) 39th Annual Student Design Competition challenges students to design an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that accommodates passengers with a broad spectrum of mobility difficulties or other disabilities for urban air mobility (UAM) missions.

The competition is sponsored this year by Bell, and dangles $12,500 in cash prizes to the winning undergraduate and graduate teams.

“As an emerging industry, it is not too early to anticipate the greater needs of our society where it comes to eVTOL transportation. We need to recognize the needs of travelers with reduced mobility and factor that in our designs,” said Albert G. Brand, Bell’s Senior Technical Fellow for Flight Technology and the company’s lead for this year’s competition.

Partnered with the VFS is UK charitable organization Aerobility, which offers disabled people the opportunity to fly an airplane. Mike Miller-Smith, CEO of Aerobility, said, “One can only imagine how different air travel today would be for people with disabilities if this had been done at the birth of commercial aviation.”

The annual competition sponsorship rotates between Airbus, Bell, Boeing, Leonardo Helicopters, Sikorsky Aircraft, and the US Army Research Lab.

The search is on for practical solutions to eVTOL aircraft and infrastructures to establish valid Urban Air Mobility systems. Read more in   Urban Air Mobility – The Korean Solution.


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