Israeli air cab developer Urban Aeronautics has announced the first pre-order for its vertical takeoff CityHawk. Hatzolah Air, an organisation specialising in emergency and rescue flights, has reserved four hybrid-powered units for emergency service applications.
The CityHawk is an eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aircraft, but its concept differs from those of other manufacturers: The CityHawk has no wings or externally mounted propellers which usually characterize the eVTOL design. Urban Aeronautics has integrated the propellers into the body in front of and behind the passenger compartment and therefore refers to it as a “Fancraft.” The advantage of the design is the dimensions of the flying machine: the City-Hawk is only slightly wider than a passenger car. Urban Aeronautics’ vision is that the City Hawk will be able to land directly on the streets, making door-to-door flights possible. Currently, Urban Aeronautics is still relying on hybrid-electric propulsion for the CityHawk. A prototype has already flown in the summer of 2018. In June 2020, however, the Israeli company entered into a cooperation with the Californian startup HyPoint to use its fuel cell technology in the CityHawk in the future.
Hatzolah Air will now not only be Urban Aeronautics’ first customer, but also its sales partner. The nonprofit organisation Hatzolah, of which the aviation division is a part, has a presence in “dozens of cities across multiple continents, which collectively make it the largest volunteer EMS organisation in the world,” according to an accompanying press release. It now aims to promote the VTOL alternative to traditional ambulances to other rescue organisations and distribute the CityHawk. Hatzolah Air and Urban Aeronautics previously signed a memorandum of understanding in August to jointly develop, produce and market the CityHawk aircraft for ambulance applications.
“Hatzolah’s pre-order of four air ambulance CityHawks is an amazing show of confidence in our program and in our company,” says Nimrod Golan-Yanay, CEO of Urban Aeronautics. “We look forward to delivering on our promise to revolutionise urban air mobility and the emergency response capabilities of major cities across the world.” The CityHawk offers 20 to 30 per cent more space than comparable helicopters, with room for a pilot, a patient as well as an attendant, two paramedics and a full suite of life support equipment, he said. The VTOL is expected to be ready for production within three to five years and to receive FAA certification for EMS use, according to the developer.