FACC begins EHang 216 flight tests

The successful autonomous aerial vehicle flight test earns an experimental flight permit offered by Austrian aviation authorities for future flight test execution.
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EHang 216 autonomous aircraft

Photo Credit: FACC AG

FACC AG (Ried im Innkreis, Austria) reported on Dec. 14 that it completed a successful flight test of the EHang 216 autonomous aerial vehicle under the supervision of the Austrian aviation authority Austro Control at the FACC site in Austria. Based on test performance, the aviation authority granted an experimental flight permit for future execution of EHang 216 flight tests, an important milestone in the development of urban air mobility (UAM) for FACC and its strategic partner, EHang (Guangzhou, China).

In the weeks leading up to the flight test, 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.

"The successful completion of the flight test in Austrian airspace marks the start of a comprehensive test program for 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," comments Robert Machtlinger, CEO of FACC AG.

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 also contributing to the further development of this 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 network of innovative partner companies, public authorities and universities, as well as the state of Austria, are pioneers in this field," says Machtlinger.

The EHang 216 is an autonomous aerial vehicle powered by sixteen high-performance electric motors mounted on eight double rotor arms. 
The aircraft 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), and 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.