Aerion Teams Up with eSTOL Developer Electra

 - October 16, 2020, 10:15 AM
Aerion's partnership with Electra would pave the way for door-to-door travel via eSTOL and supersonic transportation. (Image: Aerion Supersonic)

Taking a step toward its vision of creating an ecosystem of door-to-door travel that supports supersonic flight, Aerion Supersonic has formed a partnership with Falls Church, Virginia-based Electra, which is developing electric short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft.

Aerion chairman Tom Vice in June outlined plans for the company’s Aerion Connective initiative, which involves the development of a global ecosystem of transportation, including vehicles such as eSTOLs and eVTOLS, to get customers to and from the airport to provide a smoother, faster experience from beginning to end.

As part of that strategy, Aerion signed a memorandum of understanding naming Electra as a preferred partner for Aerion Connect in the greater New York metropolitan area and other potential regional hubs. “We’re…clear that enabling this reinvented, faster ecosystem will require world-class partners to achieve success,” Vice said. “I’m delighted to launch this partnership with Electra and their new generation of eSTOLs, which with their large cabin, optimal range, speed, and emissions capabilities will integrate seamlessly into our vision of the future.”

Founded and headed by John Langford, who formerly had founded and led Aurora Flight Sciences, Electra has ambitions for fixed-wing regional mobility aircraft that use a powered-lift concept to operate in and out of spaces that are used for parking garages, helicopter terminals, or barges.

“Aerion and Electra offer the perfect combination of speed and convenience,” Langford said. “Electra’s powered-lift aircraft can bring air service to areas of less than 100 feet. This will open new opportunities to connect urban, suburban, and remote areas.”

Electra’s plans include a distributed electric propulsion system that involves the use of many small motors mounted around the aircraft, saying this provides for a more fully integrated structure and aerodynamics. In addition, Electra is looking at pilot-assistance systems, using guidance and control technologies in use for autonomous vehicles, to enable high-precision landings that would come with operating out of smaller spaces.

This story comes from the new FutureFlight.aero resource developed by AIN to provide objective, independent coverage, and analysis of new aviation technology, including electric aircraft developments.