Whisper Aero starts building an ecosystem for regional air mobility

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It has been three years this week since Uber announced its decision to offload its aerial ridesharing project, Uber Elevate, onto Joby Aviation, but the work it did to shape the concept of urban air mobility continues to reverberate. Through its foundational white paper and splashy summits, Elevate built credibility as well as hype for UAM, elements that multiple electric vertical take-off and landing developers were able to parlay into public listings during the SPAC craze of 2021.

Following the acquisition by Joby, two key members of the Elevate team, Mark Moore and Ian Villa, struck off on their own to establish Whisper Aero in Crossville, Tennessee. A new type of propulsion company, Whisper Aero is building electric ducted fans for applications as diverse as drones and leaf blowers. But the company’s long-term ambition is to see its propulsors incorporated into a nine-seat electric airplane, the Whisper Jet, that will enable low-cost regional air mobility, or RAM.

Related: Dissecting the economics behind the Whisper Jet

Now, Whisper Aero has announced a new Tennessee-based initiative, ReConnecTN (pronounced “reconnectin’”) that is a kind of Uber Elevate for RAM. Like Elevate, the multi-party, cross-disciplinary coalition aims to create the necessary ecosystem for a new form of mobility. But it also differs from Elevate in some important ways, notably through the lack of any single dominant player like Uber, which Moore described as an “800-pound gorilla”.

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