Over the past few years, we have seen several unmanned, electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft models revealed to the public. One of them is Chinese EHang’s certified EH216-S pilotless passenger-carrying aerial vehicles.
The company has now announced that the EH216-S aircraft have successfully completed their debut commercial flight demonstrations in Guangzhou and Hefei, respectively, marking another major step towards normalizing flights with EH216-S in aerial sightseeing at local scenic spots.
Guangzhou and Hefei are two additional demonstration cities selected for UAM operations in strategic partnership with EHang for establishing a leading presence in the emerging low-altitude economy industry.
These two grand launch events were held at the Jiulong Lake Park in Guangzhou and the Luogang Central Park in Hefei and marked the debut of commercial flight demonstrations with certified EH216-S aircraft. The aircraft have obtained the Standard Airworthiness Certificates issued by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). Several government officials and even citizens from Guangzhou and Hefei were invited to hop onboard the EH216-S and experience an unmanned flight.
The Hefei government has designated Luogang Central Park as an eVTOL aircraft operation site for its Full-Space Unmanned System Integrated Application Demonstration Project. Transformed from the former Hefei Luogang International Airport, the Luogang Central Park is known as the world’s largest urban central park, covering an area of 12.7 square kilometers.
The park offers a variety of amenities such as natural landscapes, theme gardens, playgrounds, concert halls, restaurants, apartments, and hotels, which attract around 300,000 visitors during holidays. With its beautiful scenery, the park is ideal for aerial sightseeing, tourism, and regional shuttle services, making it a perfect commercial operation site for EH216-S pilotless passenger-carrying eVTOL aircraft.
Following the first eVTOL flight route at Luogang Center Park, the Hefei government plans to expand aerial sightseeing flight routes and services to more scenic spots in Hefei, such as Swan Lake. Based on the strategic partnership agreement with EHang in October this year, the Hefei Municipal Government intends to facilitate the purchase of at least 100 units of EH216 series pilotless aerial vehicles from EHang.
These commercial flight demonstrations in Guangzhou and Hefei are the result of several other milestones and global breakthroughs. The EH216-S was the first eVTOL of its kind to be officially selected by a police force in the EU, specifically the Spanish National Police. It also set multiple records during an impressive tour of four cities in Japan.
The EH216-S is an unmanned eVTOL that is officially classified as a short-range, two-seat UAV that can fly autonomously without a pilot. It is designed to operate at a maximum altitude of 9,800 feet (3,000 meters), cruising at 80.7 mph (130 km/h). Apparently, it promises a range of up to 22 miles (35 km) on a single charge, and its batteries require two hours to be fully recharged. Compared to other eVTOLs, the EH216-S may not have the best performance, but it excels in autonomous flight.