Electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) passenger aircraft should have safety records equal to those in the commercial aviation sector to prevent fatalities, says Horizon Aircraft.
The aerospace engineering company says the global spotlight on the first air taxis will be sufficiently intense that any accidents and safety risks would set the industry back years in terms of passenger confidence and regulatory approval.
Horizon CEO Brandon Robinson says: “There is much debate around the safety requirements of eVTOL aircraft, with some commentators for example, saying they should be twice as safe as driving a car, or have safety records on a par with helicopters."
"The safety bar must be set much higher so that potential passengers, regulators, and other stakeholders have the highest possible levels of confidence in the first eVTOL aircraft. This is essential to the sector reaching its full potential.”
Horizon describes its Cavorite X5 as a normal aircraft with an additional eVTOL capability that adds safety and operational capability.
According to Horizon, Cavorite flies 98% of its mission in a configuration exactly like a normal aircraft, meaning discussions surrounding certification can start from a well-understood baseline, which greatly reduces risk during the process.
Last month, eVTOL developer Astro Aerospace entered an agreement to acquire Horizon in a deal which is expected to close in the second quarter.
Separately, Horizon insists most eVTOL aircraft seeking to become commercially operational will fail to secure insurance at an affordable price as they will be unable to meet the requirements of insurers, which includes providing them enough data for their underwriters to assess the risks.
The company also warns it will be difficult for eVTOL manufacturers and operators to secure insurance because there is currently a general lack of competition in the aviation insurance market.