Want a quick ride in the (possible) future of aviation? Got 300 euro ($A489.42) to spare? Then you too can enjoy 15 minutes of urban air mobility in an Asian or European city.
Electric urban air vehicle manufacturer Volocopter last week offered 1000 rides in its VoloCity Air Taxi. The German company says the certified air taxi will take off ‘within two to three years’.
Volocopter’s Chief Commercial Officer Christian Bauer told the GreenTech Festival in Berlin, ‘While the final certification for air taxis is still pending, we do have a detailed realistic timeline to launch commercial VoloCity flights in the next 2–3 years. Moreover, those who reserve now can receive the latest updates about our progress and the commercial launch plan.’
Volocopter says ticket buyers will get a flight of about 15 minutes with a human pilot, ‘a video of your historic flight, and a high-quality and limited souvenir in the form of a certificate’. Nearly $A500 is an expensive taxi fare, admittedly, but could be thought of as a cheap price for being part of aviation history, and a tiny fraction of the $US250,000 ($A350,000) seat cost for the three-hour mission and four minutes of weightlessness being offered (at an unspecified future date) by commercial space launch provider Virgin Galactic.
Volocopter demonstrated its urban air vehicle last year with a flight over Marina Bay, in central Singapore. The flight, although only two minutes in duration, was a long way from the company’s first test flight in 2011, when it flew a prototype that used an exercise ball as landing gear.