When Whisper Aero began designing the Whisper Jet, its vision aircraft for regional air mobility, it started with a statement of its goals: to deliver “multi-engine performance and safety, at the cost of a single engine, with the ability to operate day and night without community annoyance at ticket prices equivalent to auto reimbursement rate.”
That is a lot to ask for, and it’s more than what most electric aircraft developers are targeting at this stage. But it’s what the Tennessee-based startup believes will be necessary to achieve the full promise of RAM as a transformative mode of travel. Whisper Aero CEO Mark Moore and Chief Operating Officer Ian Villa essentially want to do for RAM what they started doing for urban air mobility during their four years at Uber Elevate: define it as a widely accessible service with an enormous total addressable market, not a niche product for the fortunate few.
“Rural and regional communities have in many ways been left behind,” said Moore. “I really think that it’s these new transportation opportunities that can let rural areas compete and promote more lifestyle choices that will help to reinvigorate economies, and we want to help make that happen.”
Of course, whether RAM will actually deliver on that vision remains to be seen. The Whisper Jet is just a concept for now, but in a series of papers debuting this week at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Aviation Forum in San Diego, Whisper Aero makes a case for how its electric ducted fans (EDFs) could potentially deliver the economic step change necessary for the RAM market to take off. Yet, like any novel aircraft, the concept faces some challenges, and is sensitive to assumptions that may or may not hold in actual aircraft development and operations.
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