FACC Starts Test Flights with Autonomous Aerial Vehicle EHang 216

FACC conducted the test flight of the EHang 216 at its plant site in St. Martin im Innkreis.

As a pioneer in the field of Urban Air Mobility, FACC is setting another important milestone in the development of future urban mobility together with its strategic partner EHang. The EHang 216 autonomous aerial vehicle produced by FACC has completed a successful test flight under the supervision of Austro Control and was granted an experimental flight permit by the Austrian authorities based on the tests performed. This milestone enables FACC to advance further important flight test programs in cooperation with other companies in the industry, research institutions and authorities.

The first test flight of the EHang 216 aircraft in national airspace was successfully carried out under the supervision of the Austrian aviation authority Austro Control at the FACC site in St. Martin im Innkreis (Austria). The close and professional cooperation between the specialist teams of Austro Control and FACC led to this milestone. With the successful completion of the system checks and the associated test flight, the aviation authority granted the experimental flight permit for the further execution of EHang 216 test flights.

“The successful completion of the test flight of our autonomous aerial vehicle in Austrian airspace marks the start of a comprehensive test program of the EHang 216, laying the foundation for the approval of an innovative, highly flexible and sustainable traffic and transport solution for urban agglomerations. I am very proud of the entire team and would like to congratulate them on this groundbreaking milestone,” commented Robert Machtlinger, CEO of FACC AG, after receiving the experimental flight permit for the EHang 216 in Austria.

Especially in the weeks leading up to the test flight, a large series of technical tests and inspections for the flight test unit were completed together with the EHang engineering team and the specialist team of Austro Control.

Autonomous aerial vehicle: development made in Austria

As part of the strategic partnership, FACC and EHang are contributing their respective resources and networks. EHang serves as an inventor and expert for all questions relating to autonomous flying and provides extensive know-how in the areas of connectivity and software solutions. FACC offers support in the field of high-tech hardware with the development, certification and manufacture of lightweight components and systems.

Cooperative activities with industrial partners, politics and aviation authorities are contributing to the further development of this innovative mobility solution. The authorities are working intensively on the design of regulations governing individual air traffic. The implementation of test areas in Austria is also being driven ahead.

“The field of application is complex and ranges from search and rescue services to supply flights for materials in hard-to-reach areas, ambulance flights and taxi flights in mega-cities. FACC and its strong network of innovative partner companies, public authorities, and universities, as well as the state of Austria, are pioneers in this field,” says Machtlinger.

Lighter, quieter, greener and suitable for many applications

The EHang 216 is an autonomous aerial vehicle which can realize vertical take-offs and landings and is powered by sixteen high-performance electric motors mounted on eight double rotor arms. This makes it an additional safe, quiet and environmentally friendly form of mobility. Highly efficient FACC lightweight structures ensure low weight and excellent aerodynamics, and make a significant contribution to the aircraft’s performance. With a range of about 40 kilometers, a maximum cargo capacity of 220 kilograms and a cruising speed of 130 kilometers per hour, the possible fields of use of the EHang 216, designed for two passengers, go far beyond passenger transport within and between cities. It is very well suited to logistics operations such as flights for transporting essential emergency goods or high-risk airborne missions in the event of environmental disasters.

The EHang 216 is currently the most advanced product on the market in the field of Urban Air Mobility. The autonomous aerial vehicle has already completed several thousand manned flight hours in China. In May, it received the world’s first commercial operation approval for logistic purposes from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). With the successful maiden flight of the EHang 216 in Austria, FACC and EHang have taken an important joint step towards establishing autonomous flying in Europe.