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Airbus to test eVTOL flight routes with Hiratagakuen in Japan

Partnership will test future eVTOL flight routes and concept of operations in the Kansai region

Photo: Airbus

Photo: Airbus

Airbus is partnering with Japanese helicopter operator Hiratagakuen to develop advanced air mobility services in the Kansai region and beyond. Through this agreement, the companies will tackle crucial aspects required to launch a commercial transportation service with CityAirbus NextGen.

As a first step, the partners’ joint project to organize a simulation of ideal routes, concepts of operations, and necessary equipment for safe electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle (eVTOL) flights in the Kansai region. Kansai was selected by the Osaka prefecture for the project. A demonstration flight is scheduled for later this year.

With the aim to implement air mobility services beyond urban environments, the joint work of Airbus and Hiratagakuen will support the development of advanced air mobility solutions with CityAirbus NextGen for use cases ranging from air medical services to commercial air transport and ecotourism in a variety of operational contexts.

Airbus and Hiratagakuen will use an H135 helicopter to test advanced navigation and communication technologies for safe operations of eVTOLs in urban environments, while simulating CityAirbus NextGen’s flight configuration.

Hiratagakuen is a Kansai-based helicopter operator that specializes in helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS), transportation of personnel, flight training and maintenance. The company’s fleet includes 14 H135 and two H145 helicopters.

In September 2021, Airbus unveiled its eVTOL prototype CityAirbus NextGen to explore advanced air mobility technologies. The company plans to construct a dedicated center to test the aircraft’s systems in the lead-up to its maiden flight. Airbus is also working closely with industrial and institutional partners to lead the development of urban air mobility ecosystems, including ITA Airways in Italy and launch of the Air Mobility Initiative in Germany.

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