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Aero-TV: Wisk Aero’s Sixth Generation eVTOL Impresses

Graciously Bearing the Burden of Proof

Wisk Aero is an aviation technology concern about the business of developing self-flying electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft by dint of which the company seeks to attain eminence within the inchoate, autonomous air-taxi industry. The enterprise’s lineage traces back to 2010 and an entity called Zee Aero which was founded with backing from Google co-founder Larry Page. In 2017, Zee Aero merged with Kitty Hawk, a manufacturer of ultralight VTOL aircraft. One year later, Kitty Hawk rebranded Zee Aero as Cora.

On 25 June 2019, Kitty Hawk partnered with Boeing for purpose of combining Cora’s innovations with Boeing’s scale and aerospace expertise. Six-months thence, Cora was rebranded and spun off as Wisk Aero—a separate company entrusted to the managerial auspices and business acumen of CEO Gary Gysin.
In January 2022, Boeing committed $450-million to the development of Wisk’s pilot-less air-taxi concept. The investment underscored the aerospace titan’s desire to see Wisk’s sixth-generation passenger eVTOL granted the distinction of being the first autonomous passenger-carrying vehicle to be certified in the United States.

Unveiled on 03 October 2022, Wisk’s sixth-generation prototype proved an elegant synthesis of conventional and avant-garde technologies. The all-electric VTOL contraption attains and sustains flight by way of a lift + lift/cruise scheme in which its twelve propellers articulate to provide both vertical and horizontal thrust.

Once airborne, the vehicle transitions to forward, wing-borne flight—its six, forward, five-blade, tractor propellers providing thrust, and its six, four-blade, aft propellers locking into an aerodynamically advantageous, stationary configuration in which the planes of the propellers’ disks lie parallel to the aircraft’s longitudinal axis.

Excepting a preponderance of under-wing booms and propeller assemblies, the architecture of Wisk’s sixth-generation eVTOL is surprisingly unassuming—comprising a single, fifty-foot, high-aspect-ratio, high-mounted main-wing and a  fuselage that bears a passing resemblance to that of a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter fitted out with a conventional empennage in place of a tail-rotor. A forward baggage compartment—or frunk—is located in the vessel’s nose.

The four-passenger, pilotless machine has an advertised cruise speed of 110-120-knots, and a cruise altitude of 2,500 to 4,000-feet AGL. Wisk claims the vehicle is capable of traversing ninety-miles on a 15-minute battery-charge.

Safety of flight is facilitated by Wisk’s leveraging of the selfsame proven technologies that account for more than 93% of the automated in-flight functions of modern commercial aircraft. The sixth-generation eVTOL utilizes sophisticated detect and avoid systems and logic-driven, procedural-based, decision-making software that provides reliable, deterministic outcomes. Notwithstanding the robustness and redundancy of its autonomous capabilities, Wisk’s air-taxis are monitored in perpetuity by multi-vehicle supervisors that provide human oversight of every flight and retain the ability to assume control of the aircraft if necessary.

With a target per-passenger-mile price of three-dollars, Wisk’s 6th Generation aircraft is designed to democratize flight—at least to a degree consistent with extant technological and economic constraints.

Aero-TV is a production of the Internationally syndicated Aero-News Network. Seen worldwide by hundreds of thousands of aviators and aviation adherents, ANN's Aero-TV has produced over 5000 aviation and feature programs, including nearly 2000 episodes of our daily aviation news program, AIRBORNE UNLIMITED, currently hosted by Holland Lee. Now in its third decade of operation, parent company Aero-News Network, has the most aggressive and intensive editorial profile of any aviation news organization and has published nearly a half-million news and feature stories since its inception -- having pioneered the online 24/7 aviation new-media model that so many have emulated

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