If you are looking for the next big step in aviation, the EAA’s the place to be. After all, that is its name–the Experimental Aircraft Association.
“Every year, you’re going to see more and more electric aircraft,” said Daniel Preston, an engineer at Luminati VTOL.
And there is no better stage than AirVenture to show off new technology.
“Inventors through the heads of research and development for all the big boys–they’re all here,” he said.
An electric helicopter would be a game-changer for companies moving products and people around.
“It’s motivated by this desire to do quiet, inner-city transportation,” said Preston. “Kind of think of it as an Uber in the air.”
About 170 companies worldwide are trying to perfect it, but Luminati likes its chances.
“If electrical systems die, we can operate as a glider to land, so I think we have some unique features that set us apart from the pack,” he said.
And make no mistake about it. The minds behind the electric helicopter know their stuff.
They are actually partnered with a company called PEMS Tool & Machine, Inc., that makes parts for military aircraft.
“We make parts for the F-18, the Apache, the Blackhawk–drive shafts, internal components,” said Alex Stone over at PEMS Tool & Machine.
And we might start seeing these overhead in a hurry.
“I would say as quickly as five years you might see something really up and operational,” he said.
Luminati is going to try breaking the world record for keeping an electric helicopter in the air later this year. It plans on staying in the air well over 40 minutes.