Do companies designing AAM have a different development and validation philosophy compared to, for example, a traditional helicopter manufacturer?
"On the flight control side, there are some significant technical differences between the eVTOL concepts being developed for urban air mobility and a traditional rotary wing aircraft. Helicopter manoeuvring and control is based on swashplates which drive the blades’ variable pitch inside the rotor. This results in a complex cinematic, where all parts are subjected to heavy mechanical loads. Each rotating part must be individually tested and validated to secure fatigue life.
New concepts for urban air mobility rely on multiple electrical engines and manoeuvring is in most cases achieved by individually controlling each engine, removing one layer of complexity due to the rotor’s cinematic. This will drive new requirements in validating the design for sure. Some structural tests will probably be replaced by intensive testing and stressing of the electrical engines to ensure the necessary durability. Here, our eDrive dynamic power analysis solution is best-in-class. There will also be a need to validate fail-safe options, for example, with how many inoperative engines can I still achieve normal flight; how many operative engines do I need for a controlled emergency landing, and so on.
I also believe that the validation of the fuselage and most structural parts will continue to be based on the estimation and measurement of external loads and their effective reproduction on test rigs. This means that good old structural testing, as we already know it, will continue to be with us for quite a while."