Why the Axe is the go-to training aircraft for the E-VTOL Sector
With the incoming wave of E-VTOLs due to come onto the market as soon as 2025 – the focus for OEMs has been getting type certification for their aircraft, however, little has been done to tackle the issue of getting pilots trained to fly these aircraft.
With as many as 60,000 pilots due to be required by 2028 – there needs to be a more serious proposition to pilot training.
Rather than OEM’s and training organisations using expensive 5-6 seat aircraft costing upwards of £2 million to train pilots – the Axe can train pilots at a fraction of the cost, both from initial upfront expenditure perspective, but also hourly costs.
The use of low cost, 2 seater training aircraft is standard practice in both rotary and fixed wing pilot training – the E-VTOL sector is no different.
“The Axe is the equivalent to the Cessna 172 or Robinson R22 for the E-VTOL Sector”
Commonalities in design
Due to such a large variation in design in E-VTOL aircraft – there is not one single pilots license that can encompass all the flight characteristics across the whole board, however, there is a commonality between all designs which the Axe has.
The Axe, like all designs can carry out vertical take off and landings and can hover. The Axe can also conduct transitions from hover to forward flight despite not having rotating motors or wings. Finally, the Axe can conduct full wing-borne fixed wing flight.
Side by side seating and dual controls
The Axe with its 2-seat side by side layout means the aircraft is perfectly suited for training new pilots. This combined with the dual controls enables instructors to train the pilots whilst maintaining full control of the aircraft.
The cost of running electric aircraft is cheaper than piston or turbine aircraft. Electric motors have fewer moving parts, require less maintenance, and cheap(er) electricity means costs may fall by more than half compared to existing piston and turbine alternatives. The Permit to Fly regime offers more flexibility on costs and means that the Axe can be maintained and inspected, and have their Permits to Fly renewed annually, by the Light Aircraft Association. Flight training organisations are not tied into expensive service centres.
The aircraft is fitted with a removable battery module which enables you to continue flying, even when the main battery has run out. This enables you to have shorter charge times on your main battery pack and quicker turnaround times on the ground. If equipped with a hybrid generator, your training aircraft is capable of competing with existing piston training alternatives. Furthermore, with removable wings, the Axe can be transported on a trailer giving flight training organisations ultimate flexibility on where they train students.
Multiple motors enable you to have redundancy in critical flight phases. If one motor fails, you can still fly safely. Compared to a single engine helicopter where there is only a single source of power, distributed propulsion is a proven safety feature. Furthermore, brushless electric motors have far fewer moving parts than conventional piston or turbine engines, and fewer and critical components that can fail. Finally, with the Axe can glide like a fixed-wing airplane in emergencies and has the back-up of a ballistic parachute.
Market size – Estimated £2.25 Billion up to 2028 and rising
The global aviation industry has struggled to recruit and train enough experienced pilots to fill the cockpits of airlines, business aviation and helicopter operators. There is a growing industry realisation that the development of EVTOL aircraft and launch of AAM operations will further increase demand for professional pilots commencing by 2023-2025. (CAE 2021 Report)
It is forecast that there will be a requirement for around 60,000 pilots for the UAM sector by 2028.
See McKinsey & Company report on rising pilot requirements.
With our route to certification and operating costs, running costs will remain low, enabling flight schools a cost effect aircraft to train pilots in this new sector of aviation.
Permit Aircraft for Flight Training
CAA regulation on flight training in Permit aircraft changed in 2020 with the release of ORS4 No.1271. This enables new owners to be trained on their own Permit aircraft and existing licence holders to be able to carry out training and differences training on Permit aircraft.
Extract from CAA statement:
“After substantial consultation with internal and external stakeholders, we now allow flight instruction and self-fly hire to utilise aircraft flying in accordance with a National Permit to Fly subject to specified conditions. This relaxation has been published through an additional General Permission and is designed to sit alongside the General Permission already in place for Type Approved microlight’s and gyroplanes.
This permission does not apply to flight instruction and examination where the recipient does not hold a licence, except when the recipient is:
- The registered owner or joint-owner, or
- A registered shareholder of the company of which owns the aircraft, or
- Is the spouse or child of a registered sole or joint owner.”
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