Airspeeder Announces First-Ever eVTOL Race Pilots for Upcoming EXA Series
The infant eVTOL racing league, Airspeeder, has publicly announced its first three pilots ahead of its remote-controlled EXA Grand Prix series to be held in 2022, followed by a crewed racing series in 2023. The first three eVTOL pilots come from different racing backgrounds and represent a new future for “flying car” racing.
Airspeeder is a new electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) racing league headquartered in London. The league operates as an entity of Alauda Aeronautics – an electric aviation company based in Adelaide, Australia, where the league’s technical headquarters is also located, alongside its proving grounds.
Alauda designs, engineers and builds the racing aircraft called “Speeders” that compete in Airspeeder racing events. Both entities are led by CEO Matt Pearson, who began sketching out plans for a future with eVTOL racing in 2019.
This proposed future of “flying car” competitions came closer to reality last November, when Airspeeder completed its first competitive drag race. Two internal Alauda teams have battled to test eVTOL racing technology, especially since pilots sail from outside the ships to begin with.
Currently, Speeders are flown remotely by pilots who sit in cockpits on the ground and use first-person view (FPV) VR haptic suits to control the eVTOL aircraft. This will continue through the aforementioned EXA series this year.
However, the end goal of Airpspeeder is to train pilots well enough to bring crewed eVTOL racing to the masses. With the company’s recent announcement, we now know the identities of three of the very first eVTOL racing drivers who may one day race against each other.
Airspeeder selects top 3 eVTOL race pilots from pool of thousands
According to Airspeeder’s recent press release introducing the new pilots, over 1,500 people applied to be part of eVTOL racing history. A lot of people clearly couldn’t make the cut, as Airspeeder whittled down its app pool to just three, all of which come with unique racing and/or drone-focused resumes.
Fabio Tischler is a German FPV drone pilot who moved to Sydney in 2015 to pursue his dream of flying them professionally. He has traveled the world capturing drone footage for brands such as Red Bull, Toyota and Go Pro.
He is accompanied by Emily Duggan, currently one of Australia’s most successful drivers. In fact, Duggan became the first female driver to race in the Australian V8 Touring Car Series and scored 12 wins, 33 podiums and two poles in her motor racing career.
Last but not least is Zephatali Walsh, a surfer and remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) operator. Unlike his two new racing competitors, Walsh is the only one with both multi-blade pilot experience and competitive drone racing experience, as he was recruited for the Drone Champions League in 2020 by Raiden Racing.
Airspeeder has its first eVTOL race pilots as promised, but these aerial pioneers still have a long way to go before the EXA series. According to Airspeeder, pilots will log more than 2,000 collective hours in Alauda Aeronautics’ VR simulator, which will mimic an MK4 eVTOL circuit race.
In this VR environment, new pilots will perform stress tests the Mk3 and Mk4 speeders inside Unreal Engine to simulate eVTOL racing, so when performing crewed flights they will be able to handle the dynamics Speeders can achieve. The league says its Speeder vehicles can deliver the same thrust-to-weight ratio as an F16 fighter jet, but with the added ability to perform F1 racing-style hairpin turns.
This should do The next EXA series of Airspeeder fun to follow. The flagship series will consist of 3 Grands Prix in three different countries taking place later this year.
Initially, Airspeeder announced that four teams would participate in the EXA series. We asked the racing league if we can expect to see a fourth driver announced by then. We were told that the first EXA race will feature the pilots announced today, but two other teams and their respective pilots will join the Airspeeder group in the second quarter of this year. Expect to see five Airspeeder teams competing by the end of the year.
In the meantime, here is a presentation video of the new Airspeeder eVTOL racing pilots:
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