欢迎来到垂直起降机场:一种新型航站楼向空中出租车开放
2022-11-21 chinawungbo2 12721
正文翻译

As the morning mist slowly clears over Pontoise-Cormeilles, a regional airport 40km north-west of central Paris, it is time to check in at the vertiport. This is the name the aviation industry has adopted to describe a new type of air terminal. Vertiports will be used by evtols, or flying taxis as they are sometimes called. As the name indicates, these aircraft take off and land vertically, like helicopters. But instead of being powered by jet turbines they rely on sets of electrically driven rotors, much like hovering drones.

随着晨雾在巴黎市中心西北40公里的蓬图瓦兹-科尔梅耶地区机场上空慢慢散去,垂直起降机场办理登机手续的时间到了。这是航空业给一种新型航站楼的命名,即将供eVTOL飞行器使用,有时也称空中出租车。它们恰如其名地像直升机一样垂直起降,但动力不是喷气式涡轮,而是多组电动旋翼,很像空中盘旋的无人机。
原创翻译:龙腾网 http://www.ltaaa.cn 转载请注明出处


Pontoise-Cormeilles’ vertiport, which opened on November 10th, so far serves only as a prototype—for, being the first of its kind in Europe, it has no matching facility to act as a destination. But Groupe adp, which manages Paris’s airports, including Pontoise-Cormeilles, hopes that will soon change. The Paris Olympics open in July 2024. By then the firm plans for at least two routes to be operating in the region, with a total of ten air taxis, each flying two or three trips an hour. These would lix the Olympic Village with conventional airports and also with the Paris heliport at Issy-les-Moulineaux, on the southern side of the city near an emergency medical centre.

11月10日开放的蓬图瓦兹-科尔梅耶垂直起降机场目前还只是一个原型,因为它是欧洲第一座这种类型的机场,尚不具备目的地机场的配套设施。不过,巴黎机场集团希望很快扭转这种局面,该公司负责管理巴黎的多家机场,包括蓬图瓦兹-科尔梅耶机场。巴黎奥运会将于2024年7月召开,届时公司将在该地区规划至少两条运营线路,总共10架空中出租车,每架每小时飞行2-3次。它们将奥运村、常规机场、伊西莱穆利诺的巴黎直升机机场相连,后者坐落在巴黎南部的医疗急救中心附近。

Quick exit

快速出发

The terminal building itself is compact—about as big as a medium-sized apartment. The idea is that, having bought a ticket using a mobile-phone app, a passenger can check in rapidly and paperlessly. A facial-recognition scan confirms identity and a floor sensor measures weight. This lets the craft, sitting on a pad just outside, calculate its load so that it knows how much power will be needed for the journey, and thus when its batteries will require topping up. There should be barely enough time to grab a cup of coffee before the less-than-20-minute hop downtown, avoiding the snarling rush-hour traffic below.

航站楼本身很紧凑,大概有中型公寓楼那么大。理念是乘客使用手机APP购票,快速无纸化地办理登机手续。经由人脸识别确认乘客身份,地板传感器测量重量。外面停机坪上的飞机计算载荷,可以知道这次旅途需要多少动力,进而知道蓄电池何时需要充电。差不多喝一杯咖啡的功夫,不到20分钟就能飞到市中心,避开下面高峰时段的交通拥挤。

If a passenger spends more than ten or 15 minutes in the terminal then something has gone wrong, says Duncan Walker, boss of Skyports, the British firm that built the facility. The evtol flying around outside it is made by Volocopter, a German company. Skyports has opened a similar vertiport in Marina, California, which is being used by Joby Aviation, an American outfit that is also developing a flying taxi, and is planning others in places that include London and Singapore.

如果乘客在航站楼里的逗留时间超过10-15分钟,那就是出了问题,建造这座设施的英国公司Skyports的总裁邓肯·沃克说道。环绕航站楼飞行的eVTOL是由德国公司Volocopter制造的。Skyports公司在美国加州的玛丽娜城也建造了一座类似的垂直起降机场,目前供美国公司Joby Aviation使用,该公司也在研发一种空中出租车。Skyports公司还打算在伦敦、新加坡等地建造这样的机场。

In a dense urban environment, a vertiport needs to take up as little space as possible, which is why people will not be encouraged to linger. And there is another difference from either a conventional airport or a heliport: silence. As the evtol flies overhead it is strikingly quieter than a helicopter that landed near the main airport building a little earlier. “That’s your licence to operate in city centres,” says Mr Walker. Not only are flying taxis less noisy than helicopters, but if recharged from a renewable source of electricity they are greener and, being mechanically simpler, a lot cheaper to run.

在人流密集的城市环境中,垂直起降机场需要占尽可能少的空间,所以不鼓励人们在航站楼里逗留。它与常规机场或直升机机场相比还有一个不同之处:安静。当eVTOL在头顶上空飞行时,它比先前降落在主航站楼附近的直升机安静得多。“这是你在市中心运营的许可证”,沃克先生说道。与直升机相比,空中出租车不仅噪音比直升机小,而且使用可再生电源充电更环保,机械构造简单使其运营成本低得多。

Operating costs should fall even further, for evtols are readily adaptable to autonomous flight. That frees up the pilot’s seat for an extra passenger. At first, however, regulators are expected to grant airworthiness certificates only to flying taxis with pilots on board. This will allow experience to be gained and the reliability of the craft to be tested before they are permitted to do without the pilot.

运营成本应该还有下降空间,因为eVTOL很容易适应自主飞行,空出来的飞行员座位可以多搭载一名乘客。然而,监管部门最初只能把适航证发给有人驾驶的空中出租车,这样可以积累经验和测试它的可靠性,然后再批准无人驾驶。

To get airborne quickly, most putative operators are therefore starting with piloted versions of their offerings. Volocopter appears to be in the lead. Its craft, VoloCity, has room for just a single passenger. Hot on its heels are Joby, which is flight-testing a five-seater, and AutoFlight, a company based in Shanghai, which is flying a four-seater. Airbus, Europe’s biggest aircraft-maker, is also developing a four-seat flying taxi that will, initially, be piloted.

为了快些拿到适航证,众所周知的大多数运营商最初推出的都是有人驾驶产品。Volocopter公司似乎是这方面的先驱,它制造的VoloCity飞行器只能搭载一名乘客。紧随其后的Joby公司正在试飞五座飞行器。坐落在上海的“峰飞”公司正在试飞四座飞行器。欧洲最大的飞机制造商“空客”也在研发四座空中出租车,最开始将配备飞行员。

Two exceptions to the general rule are Boeing, America’s biggest aircraft-maker, which has teamed up with Wisk Aero, a Californian firm, to produce a four-seater, and a two-seater being tested by Ehang, another Chinese firm. Both of these projects aim for autonomy from the beginning.

美国最大的飞机制造商“波音”和加州公司Wisk Aero是两个例外,双方正在合作制造四座飞行器。还有一家中国公司“亿航”正在试飞双座飞行器。这两个项目从一开始就以自主飞行为目标。

Getting an airworthiness certificate is, however, only part of the process needed to begin commercial services. An airline-style operator’s licence is also needed. The idea is that the first vertiports will help with this by demonstrating that flights are reliable, safe and can be integrated into existing air-traffic-control systems.

然而,拿到适航证只是开展商业服务的必要流程之一,还需要航空公司式的运营执照。他们的意图是第一批垂直起降机场有助于实现这个目标,因为它们能证明飞行的可靠性和安全性,可以融入现有的交通管制系统。
原创翻译:龙腾网 http://www.ltaaa.cn 转载请注明出处


Prêt à transporter

现成的运输机

In theory, evtols should show a good level of safety, for they have high levels of what engineers call redundancy—that is, duplication of critical systems. This comes about principally from their multiple rotors, which allow a craft to continue flying if one or more of its motors fails. A rotor failure in a helicopter means the pilot has to make an emergency landing by gliding to the ground using a technique called autorotation. If one of the 18 rotors on a VoloCity failed it would, by contrast, hardly be noticed, says Paul Stone, Volocopter’s test pilot.

从理论上,eVTOL飞行器应该表现出良好的安全性,因为它们拥有工程师所说的高冗余度,也就是配置重复的关键设备。高冗余度主要来自它们的多旋翼,使飞行器在一台或多台发动机出故障的情况下继续飞行。当直升机的旋翼出故障时,飞行员必须采取所谓的“自转”技术,以滑翔方式进行紧急着陆。相反,如果VoloCity飞行器的18个旋翼有一个出故障,几乎不会引起注意,Volocopter公司的试飞员保罗·斯通说道。

Mr Stone, who has flown more than 200 types of aircraft, including vertical-take-off jets, also observes that the computerised flight controls on a VoloCity make it “much simpler to fly, and therefore easier to learn”. At first, the pilots will be people with backgrounds flying either fixed-wing aircraft or helicopters, who will be trained to handle evtols, too. Eventually, though, he expects a separate evtol licence will be created, letting people learn to fly them from scratch. And even when autonomy arrives, piloting jobs will still be available. The plan is that qualified individuals sitting in control centres on the ground will monitor several flights each, as already happens with military drones, and will thus be available to take manual command in an emergency.

斯通先生试飞过200多款飞机,包括垂直起降喷气式飞机,他也认为VoloCity飞行器配置的计算机化飞行控制系统“使飞行简单多了,所以更容易学习”。初期遴选的飞行员拥有固定翼机或直升机的飞行背景,同时接受eVTOL飞行培训。但他期待最终eVTOL有单独的许可证,让人们从零开始学习如何驾驶它们。即使实现了自主飞行,飞行员的岗位仍会得到保留。这项计划是让合格人员坐在地面控制中心,每人监控多个航班,从而在紧急情况下进行人工指挥,军用无人机已经采取这种做法。

As technologies improve, evtols’ capabilities will grow. Much of that progress will come from developments in battery technology for electric cars, says Dirk Hoke, who recently took over as Volocopter’s chief executive, having previously run Airbus’s defence and space division. A bigger, faster version of VoloCity, using a new type of battery, is already on the way, he adds. But he would not go into details. By the end of the decade, though, it is not only Paris’s notorious traffic that could be bypassed from above with the convenience of using a ride-hailing app, but the jammed roads of several other cities, too.

随着技术的进步,eVTOL的能力也将得到提升。进步主要来自电动车蓄电池技术的发展,空客公司防务与太空部门前负责人、最近接任Volocopter公司总裁的德克·霍克说道。他还透露,公司即将推出加大加快版的VoloCity,并采用新型蓄电池,但他没有透露相关细节。在这十年结束前,利用便捷的打车App不仅能从空中绕过巴黎饱受诟病的交通堵塞,其他几座城市的交通堵塞也不在话下。

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