VTOL maker Urban Aeronautics partners with Ascent to fly helicopter charter service


Israeli VTOL manufacturer Urban Aeronautics has partnered with Philippine helicopter ride-sharing platform Ascent to fly the CityHawk eVTOL on Ascent’s planned helicopter charter service.

Urban Aeronautics is eyeing commercial opportunities for its eVTOL technology, creating the CityHawk – a six-seater hydrogen powered eVTOL; designed specifically for urban air mobility (UAM). It has partnered with Ascent to fly the aircraft on Ascent’s existing citywide charter routes.

“As we continue to advance on our development and look toward commercial flights within a few years, we are eager to work with Ascent,” said Dr Rafi Yoeli, CEO of Urban Aeronautics.

“Thanks to Ascent’s unique operational experience, and growing footprint, we are now able to enrich our aircraft design and commercialisation approach, based on direct market insights. With this partnership, Urban Aeronautics can make an aircraft for the customer, with the customer.”

The manufacturer has already developed the Cormorant, an unmanned eVTOL built for military and civil emergency response missions. The aircraft was trialled by the Israeli military for search and rescue missions in 2018.

Last month, Urban Aeronautics also announced that it would be partnering with Boeing to develop autonomous technology for both the Cormorant and CityHawk eVTOLs.

Cutting costs

Ascent currently offers fly-by-seat helicopter commutes across cities, operating predominantly between business districts and international airports. Introducing eVTOLs onto the service could cut operating costs substantially to $2 per mile, according to a company statement.

Lionel Sinai-Sinelnikoff, founder and CEO of Ascent, said: “The partnership with Urban Aeronautics is a great step forward in line with our objective to democratise sustainable urban air mobility.

“In addition to providing flights by the seat, and our commitment to climate neutrality, partnering with the industry pioneer in low-emission VTOLs brings us one step closer to doing so. We are honoured to bring Urban Aeronautics within our ecosystem.”