The Urban Air Port Air-One project is one of the winners in the UK government’s Future Flight Challenge programme.
This initiative aims to promote and develop aviation systems and infrastructure. And the hope is to ease the next generation of delivery drones, air taxis and related initiatives, benefiting congested cities. So, the Urban Air Port is an interesting, compact, versatile platform, that can serve as ground infrastructure for future flying machines.
The behind-the-scenes side of aviation is very often the most interesting one. The way ground handling, airline dispatchers and various airside operators work, can teach us a lot about how aviation works. But more importantly, aircraft and airlines NEED this infrastructure, to work. Urban Air Port’s Air-One aims to become the equivalent infrastructure, for air-taxis and delivery drones.
Ricky Sandhu, founder and Executive Chairman for the company, said:
“Cars need roads. Trains need rails. Planes need airports. eVTOLs will need Urban Air Ports. Over a hundred years ago, the world’s first commercial flight took off, creating the modern connected world. Urban Air Port® will improve connectivity across our cities, boost productivity and help the UK to take the lead in a whole new clean global economy.”
Urban Air Port – Keeping Things Small
We have seen other projects, aimed at designing ‘drone-ports’ and air-taxi hubs. But these projects are anything but small. They are permanent structures, requiring plenty of space and other surrounding infrastructure. But Urban Air Port is going to be different. It will be something that could either function permanently, at an appropriate location, or be temporary.
The company’s presentations show a lightweight structure. The Urban Air Port could even be erected on a suitable floating platform. However, the company is not designing it around any specific delivery drone or air-taxi design. Rather, they are making it big enough to operate various different designs. And yet, it is small enough to be adaptable.
As the winner of the UK’s Future Flight Challenge programme, the company got a grant for £1.2 million ($1.65m), towards funding for a temporary installation of the ‘Air-One’ port, in the middle of Coventry city centre. Also, the project has backing from Hyundai, the car maker. To that end, Hyundai also has a number of drone and electric vertical take off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft projects.
The public will be able to visit the Urban Air Port hub from next autumn. Also, the company will be demonstrating it alongside various drone and air-taxi prototype designs. As a supporter of the project, Hyundai plans to get its ‘urban eVTOL’ aircraft in the commercial market, by 2028.
All images by Urban-Air Port
Spyros Georgilidakis has degrees in Business Enterprise and Management. He has 14 years of experience in the hospitality and travel industries, along with a passion for all-things-aviation and travel logistics. He is also an experienced writer and editor for on-line publications, and a licensed professional drone pilot.