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Urban Aeronautics CityHawk

Urban Aeronautics CityHawk. (UrbanAero graphic 2021)

Urban Aeronautics, Ltd.
Yavne, Israel

Urban Aeronautics was founded in 2000 by Rafi Yoeli, Ph.D. in Yavne, Israel. Yoeli is an Israeli pilot, inventor and is one of the designers of the company's aircraft. Urban Aeronautics Ltd. has developed advanced aerodynamic technologies that are the basis for an entirely new family of internal rotor (ducted fan) aircraft known as Fancraft™. In 2021, Yoeli retired and Nimrod Golan-Yanay was named CEO.

UrbanAero capitalizes on its extensive portfolio of Intellectual Property via two subsidiary companies, Tactical Robotics Ltd. and Metro Skyways Ltd., each of which is developing unique Fancraft™ for specific markets. UrbanAero's unmanned military Fancraft is the Cormorant and has flown extensively since 2009, including autonomous free flights since Dec. 30, 2015. It has been reported that the company's Fancraft technologies are supported by 37 registered patents and additional patents are in the process.

Update: In July 2021, the company released images on an updated CityHawk design on its website (above), showing a beautifully sculpted design with a much more amenable passenger compartment. According to FutureFlight, the new design baselines hydrogen fuel cells powering electric motors, and also incorporates new flight controls and navigation systems. According to the July 13, 2021 article, "The redesigned CityHawk is expected to deliver a similar performance to the first technology demonstrator, with a range for a pilot plus four passengers of around 100 miles and speeds of up to 150 mph. Projected noise levels at around 700 feet would be around 78 dB that Urban Aeronautics says would be acceptable in city environments."

Metro Skyways Ltd., a subsidiary of Urban Aeronautics plans to launch the design and development of a four-passenger, Vertical-Takeoff and Landing (VTOL), flying car based on Urban Aeronautics' internal rotor, Fancraft™ technology. The vehicle will initially be powered by jet fuel, but will be designed from the outset to convert to liquid hydrogen and eventually also to 700 bar compressed hydrogen, once such options become commercially feasible. Metro Skyways Ltd was established by Urban Aeronautics in 2013 to focus exclusively on developing Fancraft™ for the manned, civil market. MSL will develop the CityHawk under a license to utilize UrbanAero's 39 patents covering all aspects of Fancraft™ technology. CityHawk will be designed to meet FAA/EASA certification standards for manned VTOL aircraft.

On June 2, 2019, Metro Skyways released design details of its hydrogen powered eVTOL CityHawk. The company stated that "Even with its new, hydrogen/Fuel Cell Stack (FCS) powertrain, Metro Skyways has developed technology which will still meet all FAA/EASA requirements for a Category A takeoff, manned, rotorcraft certified for commercial operation."

CityHawk incorporates a power train based on two separate FCS units. Should one of the FCS units fail, the aircraft will be able to come down to a safe landing using power from the remaining FCS, with supplemental power available via on-board batteries contained in two Power Conditioning Units (PCUs). Only in very rare cases would an installed rocket-deployed parachute be required. If it is ever deployed, it will be fully steerable from the cockpit to avoid damage to people or property on the ground. To provide extra safety to the occupants in the event of a hard landing or crash, special provisions are being implemented in the design that meet the existing requirements for a jet fuel / turbine powered variant, even while carrying hydrogen on board.

CityHawk is unique in combining a compact, car-sized design that has a four-passenger capacity, no exposed rotors or wings, no batteries and potential for zero carbon emissions. Hydrogen's only byproduct is water. CityHawk is designed to achieve these qualities while meeting all design criteria that are the basis for eventual FAA/EASA certification. This paves the way for true, unrestricted commercial viability.

While CityHawk will initially be piloted by a human pilot, the vehicle's flight control and flight management systems will be capable of a high degree of autonomy from the outset. The technology is being developed and tested on Tactical Robotics' Cormorant prototype which already flies fully autonomously. As the technology of autonomy and regulatory infrastructure mature, CityHawk will eventually transport passengers robotically.

In January 2021, a New Atlas article announced that Hatzolah Air (based in New York, USA) in August 2020 has pre=-ordered four CityHawk aircraft for medical transportation.

CityHawk's future hydrogen power may rely on a direct feed of hydrogen into a state-of-the-art (FAA/EASA certified) turboshaft engine as an alternative to fuel cells, power conditioners, cables and electric motors. This direct and compact conversion of hydrogen into shaft power, combined with UrbanAero's unique Fancraft™ aerodynamics, makes CityHawk's unique size and passenger capacity possible, while keeping an FAA/EASA certified primary power unit at the 'heart of the machine'. A much larger version, the 14-seat Falcon XP (2 pilots and 12 passengers) has also been designed.

In a February 7, 2021 letter from InvestiNation (an equity crowd-funding platform for Israeli start-ups), said that Urban Aeronautics is in late-stage negotiations with a United Arab Emirates (UAE) firm, that makes parts for Airbus and Boeing, that could lead to providing financial support and the manufacturing of Urban Aeronautics' CityHawk hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft.

Falcon XP Characteristics (updated January 2018):

  • Basic empty weight: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb)
  • Maximum take-off weight: 3,500 kg (7,700 lb)
  • Payload plus useful fuel weight: 1,500 kg (3,300 lb)
  • Mission weight (360 kg payload Ref): 1,700 kg (3,800 lb)
  • Maximum speed: 216 kph (120 kt)
  • Minimum fuel flow (@60 kt): 270 kg/hr (740 lb/hr)
  • Fuel flow @ mission weight; 100 kt *: 350 kg/hr (760 lb/hr)
  • Range (Pilot +9) *: 300 km + 20 min. Res. (185 mi + 20 min. Res.)
  • Range (Pilot +13) *: 180 km + 20 min. Res. (110 mi + 20 min. Res.)
  • Estimated noise level (@ 150 feet): 80 dBA

CityHawk Characteristics (updated January 2018):

  • Basic empty weight: 1,170 kg (2,580 lb)
  • Maximum take-off weight: 1,930 kg (4,250 lb)
  • Payload plus useful fuel weight: 760 kg (1,670 lb)
  • Mission weight (408 kg payload Ref): 1,750 kg (3,900 lb)
  • Maximum speed: 270 kph (150 kt)
  • Minimum fuel flow (@60 kt): 280 kg/hr (610 lb/hr)
  • Fuel flow @ mission weight; 90 kt *: 290 kg/hr (640 lb/hr)
  • Fuel flow @ mission weight; 130 kt *: 404 kg/hr (890 lb/hr)
  • Maximum fuel: 800 liter (211 US Gal)
  • Range (Pilot +4) *: 150 km + 20 min. Res. (93 mi + 20 min. Res.)
  • Range (Pilot only) *: 360 km + 20 min. Res. (224 mi + 20 min. Res.)
  • Estimated noise level (@ 150 feet): 76 dBA

Characteristics Notes:

  • * @ Sea Level (Best Range Altitude); ISA
  • Note: Mission weight = Basic Empty weight + Payload + 1/2 Fuel
  • Specifications are subject to change without notice

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