Kitty Hawk, the electric aircraft moonshot backed by Larry Page, is shutting down

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ToddK

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Going to see a lot of this, though most won't be reported on. They will just silently go under taking any investment money with them, just like most of us said would happen. VTOL energy requirements are insane, making it completely impractical for electric transportation for the foreseeable future.
 

addaon

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As I mentioned in the other thread, I worked there before Wisk was spun off, and then at Wisk, for more than three years. I’m limited in what I'm comfortable saying here, but I will say that winding down smaller long-term projects when funding tightens up is typical. Kitty Hawk’s largest project, Wisk, is still going. I still consider Wisk one of the higher-potential players in the eVTOL space (along with Joby), and I don't expect this to impact it at all.
 

addaon

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For those on Jan's discord server, we're coordinating a real-time chat about this (and whatever other eVTOL / electric airplane topics come up) some time in the next week.
 

BBerson

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Right, Whisper. So he is criticizing Wisk.
The article said he was engineering pioneer and now CEO. What is confusing?
[engineering pioneer Mark Moore, formerly at NASA and Uber Elevate and now CEO at Whisper Aero.]

Nobody has designed a commercially successful evtol.
 

Victor Bravo

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Nobody has designed a commercially successful evtol.
How far away from reality is an electric converted Robinson R44, flown as a 3-seat aircraft, with one passenger's worth of payload/weight put back towards the battery weight?

How far from reality is an electric converted R44 with the whiz-bang autonomous air taxi AI instead of a pilot and one of the passengers... now having the weight of TWO people added to the battery?
 

llemon

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That depends on the sort of range you are willing to accept. Current Lipos, at their best, are around 120w per lb.

Going off wikipedia, the R44 uses 15gal an hour. Assuming a BSFC of 0.45 that is about 200hp an hour, or ~150kw. That would require 1250lbs of Lipos.
 

dog

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physics and chemistry are there for dramatic energy density increases for batteries
the potential market is everything
and many very smart people are bieng given all of the resorces they need to figure out the next step
hyperbole will fail in any attempt to describe the
scope of what is in play now,thankfully as we got
enough distraction and trouble already
the main thing that I dont like is that,flying in the very likely scenario ahead,will be a "feature" with
more in common with an elevator than a bird.
gliding I think will remain as the last bastion of the ancient dream
 

SpruceForest

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physics and chemistry are there for dramatic energy density increases for batteries
the potential market is everything
and many very smart people are bieng given all of the resorces they need to figure out the next step
hyperbole will fail in any attempt to describe the
scope of what is in play now,thankfully as we got
enough distraction and trouble already
the main thing that I dont like is that,flying in the very likely scenario ahead,will be a "feature" with
more in common with an elevator than a bird.
gliding I think will remain as the last bastion of the ancient dream
Great... where can I order batteries for Dec 2022 delivery? Or Dec 2027? Or Dec 2032?? The ones that take a 95% charge in 10 minutes with no heat failure modes and have power densities of about 10x - 20x lithium ion (did I say minimum)? Yes... lots of potential chemistries, but where are the lithium Ion replacements that line up favorably with the current tech -ilities piece? 5 years? 10 years? 20 years out? What I see is more like 25-30 years to get through the current capital crunch onto whatever follows.
 

BBerson

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How far away from reality is an electric converted Robinson R44?
Sikorsky had a converted electric Schweizer 300 on display at Oshkosh a few years ago. It was all the rage and they had an electric expert give talks and they gave me a T-shirt. But it couldn’t fly. It quietly went away. Or wind down….as they say now.
 

addaon

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The downside with electric helicopters compared to electric VTOL is maintenance costs, which kill a lot of otherwise interesting business models. Compared to winged VTOL the range reduction for any given tech level is also a challenge.
 
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