Flying Taxi Taster

A CGI image showing the Coventry city centre urban airport exhibition site

CoventryLive has reported that a public exhibition of an urban airport for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft is coming to the city centre this Spring.

A car park close to Coventry railway station will be the site of a public exhibition of an urban airport for electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

The Air-One hub will be located in the Westminster Road car park close to Coventry railway station.

It is not clear whether the three-week exhibition is what has previously been described as the world’s first airport for flying taxis and drones in Coventry.

Plans for that were first announced in January 2021, to be created next to what was the Ricoh Arena, now the Coventry Building Society Arena.

However, the idea of a world where people travel around in flying cars like the classic cartoon series the Jetsons is still some way off.

TV cartoon series The Jetsons

Given that the development of the flying taxis that would ultimately use such a facility is still in its early stages, and that legislation that needs to be passed to enable their use, it would seem any prospect of a permanent facility in Coventry remains a pipe dream.

But plans for the futuristic urban airports, which could ultimately transform urban mobility, took a step closer recently with the announcement for further funding for Urban-Air Port, the company behind the project.

Urban-Air Port, which aims to revolutionise air transport, recently announced it had received an injection of funds from Supernal, part of the Hyundai Motor Group.

The backing will help deliver so-called vertiports – the infrastructure for landing, recharging and taking off with fare-paying passengers.

For the time being Coventry residents must content themselves with a taster of what the future might hold for air travel. The exhibition facility will be set-up in Coventry city centre for three weeks this April.

The temporary facility in the Westminster Road car park will see an exhibition, with some drone flights, taking place from the end of April.

An email sent by Coventry City Council to local businesses says: “We wanted to let you know that on Monday 31 January 2022, Westminster Road car park will close to enable a temporary electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft structure (urban airport) to be constructed for exhibition purposes.

“Coventry is the first city in the world to showcase an urban airport and we are very proud to have it here.”

The Westminster Road car park near Coventry railway station (Image: Google)

It added: “In the future urban airports will enable drones to take off and land and there will be huge air quality and climate change benefits.

“However, because legislation doesn’t yet allow this, the exhibition will showcase how easy it will be to install temporary structures for drones to operate from in the future.

“Urban Airport Ltd will install the temporary structure ready for a three week exhibition from the end of April. The airport will be made up of a fabric covered 46m dome shaped steel frame which will sit on the car park.

“For the exhibition, the hanger area in the dome will show a static passenger carrying air taxi.

“We also expect that there may be some very short controlled drone flights to the storage yard on Grosvenor Road.

“Once the exhibition is complete in May, the structure will be dismantled.”

Mass adoption will see cargo drones and air taxis.

Urban-Air Port says vertiport sites will provide essential infrastructure to help enable mass adoption of eVTOL aircraft – which include cargo drones and air taxis – as public acceptance grows and will transform the way goods and people are transported around urban areas.

The technology is under development and Urban-Airport investor Supernal is developing its own eVTOL and plans to launch its first commercial flight in 2028.

So, is the more permanent facility that has been previously outlined, still on the cards?

CoventryLive contacted Urban-Air Port and Coventry City Council to seek clarification but has yet to receive a response from either.

Hopes remain though.

In January 21 Urban-Air Port said Coventry had been chosen for the first site due to its location in the heart of the UK and also because it is a historic hub for the automobile and aerospace industries.

And looking at possible long-term prospects it said believes the city has a pool of people and skills that can support the manufacturing industries of the future as urban air mobility takes off.

In addition, it said Coventry’s central location provides easy access within four hours to most parts of the country.

This story is from the CoventryLive news website.

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