there are a lot of companies doing R&D on VTOL aircraft. I understand their necessity for the military, but for civilian aviation, there are a very few application that requires it( medevac, search and rescue, offshore platform).

do you think vtol has a future for passengers transportation, or is it another silicon valley/uber/ youtube gimmick?

my question relates more as to the very nature of vtol, rather than the type of tech used(helicopter, multicopter, magical anti gravity device )

  • $\begingroup$ There must be a way you could ask this question that has one "best" answer and isn't mainly asking for an opinion from answerers. It has the potential to be a good question if you can find that way. $\endgroup$ – Zeiss Ikon Jul 2 '19 at 18:46
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    $\begingroup$ The question is not bad, but a better way to phrase it is "What is the commercial benefit of VTOL aircraft?" rather than "Is it here to stay?" $\endgroup$ – WillSimon Jul 2 '19 at 18:47

This is potentially opinion-based, but I can tell you what I have seen working in the aerospace industry alongside (but not inside) some of these companies testing VTOL aircraft for commercial usage.

One major benefit of a VTOL aircraft is that it can take off and land vertically, like a helicopter, in nearly any type of terrain. This eliminates the need for a runway and instead you need a helipad, or in an ideal world, a few parking spaces.

So why not use helicopters? Well, helicopters are very inefficient compared to fixed-wing aircraft when flying any considerable distance.

Take for example a proposed flight route of Boston to New York City. A VTOL aircraft could pick you up from a parking garage or parking lot in Boston, reorient itself in a "horizontal" mode, fly the ~200 miles or so to New York City, and land on top of a building. No need for airports, no need for inconvenience.

Different companies give different quotes, but you'll see people quoting up to 90% greater efficiency on these sort of routes, making it affordable to perhaps not your average middle-class, but perhaps your slightly above average middle-class.

Given the increase in efficiency, it's certainly likely that this technology will be used commercially until something better comes along.

  • $\begingroup$ thx for the reply! what would be then, commercially, the ideal size of a vtol aicraft, operating point to point?30pax? 50 pax? $\endgroup$ – toshi ba Jul 3 '19 at 1:00
  • $\begingroup$ @toshiba VTOL as given in this answer is more about 1-2 pax (so ideally no pilot) - the physics in the vertical phase dictate ideally a helicopter, every decrease in size of the lifting disc means higher airspeeds (=higher danger of flying debris, higher noise), So envision the noise and debris-danger of a very small 2-seater helicopter and where you would allow something like that to start and land on a daily basis and you have the approximate applications.... $\endgroup$ – bukwyrm Jun 18 '20 at 13:35

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