Airbus was omnipresent at AirVenture 2019 . Communication Manager Bart Greer introduced us to John O’Leary, V.P. for Airbus US engineering. We discussed innovation and outreach, finding new talent, and engaging youth in the aerospace sector. John, who definitely is passionate about aviation, showed us an aircraft built by students under one of their programs. At the Airbus booth we found a beautiful RV-12 experimental light sport aircraft built by Wichita, Kansas-area high school students as part of an educational program sponsored by the Airbus Foundation. The two-seat airplane was the first one built in 2018 by students from the Maize School District’s Career Academy aerospace engineering program. Airbus Foundation provides funding for the Flying Challenge program through the educational non-profit Tango Flight, of Georgetown, Texas. Students built the aircraft under the supervision and mentorship of volunteers from the Airbus Americas Engineering center in Wichita, and WSU Tech, Wichita State University’s Technical College. The aircraft was featured in the auction event at Oshkosh and proceeds will go back into supporting the ongoing student program.
Here is John telling us about Airbus involvement in student programs and the drivers behind it:
Airbus was also showing their electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) machine following a now widespread trend in the industry. Billed as the “world’s first autonomous air taxi” the Airbus Vahana VTOL is an all-electric, single-seat, tilt-wing vehicle demonstrator that has actually flown. This makes it actually one of the few eVTOL that can claim their flight testing program has already begun. Vahana is a prototype meant to learn the complexities around self-piloted, electric vertical take-off and landing eVTOL flight. This, and student’s involvement matches our interest in eVTOL, which stems from how simulation and gaming are now informing the design of new aircraft and their controls. To date, Vahana has flown over 80 full-scale test flights.
Chief Engineer Geoffrey Bower talks to us about it:
We look forward to future updates about Vahana and to spread the word about student’s programs, STEM, and innovation coming from this great company.