UK based Bristow, Vertical Aerospace and Rolls Royce are all collaborating on a fully-fledged pilot project Electric VTOL airplane. The new vehicle, according to its site, will have speeds in excess of 200 mph (321 km / h), be nearly silent in flight and produce zero emissions while offering a low cost per passenger-mile.
It’s called the VA-X4 and uses advanced avionics, based on the same flight control technologies as the F-35. According to Vertical Aerospace, the aircraft is 100 times quieter than a comparable helicopter, reaching 45 dB while cruising and 60 dB while hovering.
Although the company does not give details on this information, for reference purposes, according to the Helicopter Association International (HAI), the sound from a helicopter flying at 500 feet is approximately 87 decibels. And at 1,000 feet, the sound drops to 78 decibels.
In the dB scale, each increase and decrease is roughly a double increase in perceived loudness. Thus, 70 dB would be about half as loud as 80 dB. With this logic, if we compare 45 dB to 75 dB (rounding 78 to 75 for convenience), we can say that 75 dB is 8 times louder than 45 dB, because 23 is equal to 8. However, the company may be looking at the power ratio between them rather than the amplitude ratio. Or maybe we could look at different decibel notations.
We have previously presented the CityAirbus, a quiet electric VTOL designed to maintain noise levels below 65 dB during flight and below 70 dB on landing. The vehicle at the time of its release was revolutionary in terms of noise level and now it looks like the VA-X4 has beaten it.
This is one of Rolls Royce’s many advanced innovations. The company is working on the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft and a nuclear reactor for the operation of the Moon and Mars. For the VA-X4, the company is working with Vertical Aerospace to produce the lightest and safest electric powertrain in the world.
Inceptive Mind reports that American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Avolon Holdings have already made pre-orders for the VA-X4 and that the plane’s first test flight is scheduled for the end of this year. If all goes as planned, the air taxi will be available for commercial operations in 2024.
The aircraft is capable of carrying four passengers and a pilot.