Odys Aviation moves to Long Beach to develop planes that will reduce carbon emissions • Long Beach Business Journal

Long Beach is now home to another aerospace startup.

Odys Aviation, which is working to halve regional air travel times and dramatically reduce carbon emissions with its new vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) craft, has moved its headquarters to Long Beach, the company announced. society today.

Getting to airfields combined with the lengthy security screening process at many airports can add hours to overall travel time for flights that last just 40 minutes, said Odys co-founder and CEO James Dorris .

“The world is traveling more and more and, frankly, people like to travel less and less,” Dorris said in a phone interview with the Business Journal.

“We also have a lot of concerns around sustainability and climate change,” Dorris added, “and we’re now in an environment where there’s a significant amount of investment in companies and startups providing solutions.”

The company recently raised $13.7 million in seed funding to accelerate development of its hybrid-electric aircraft.

Although still in the early stages of development, the current Odys craft design features a wingspan of less than 50 feet with 16 helicopter-like rotor systems that will allow for vertical takeoff and landing, then spin to propel the vehicle. forward. Although there may be larger craft in the future, Dorris said the current configuration can accommodate nine passengers and two pilots.

The company is currently developing a single-seat version of the craft, which will be piloted remotely, for a six- to nine-month trial period expected to begin this fall, Dorris said. At the same time, the firm is working on the first full-scale prototype, whose first flight is scheduled for the end of 2023.

Dorris said the company expects the craft to be certified in late 2026 and enter service in 2027.

Standard US Transportation Security Administration screening is only required for watercraft carrying 30 or more people, Dorris said. Since the capacity of the new VTOL craft is below this threshold, it will not require passengers to undergo TSA security checks, but rather a faster screening process, reducing travel time.

Using smaller municipal and general aviation airports such as Long Beach, Palo Alto and dozens more will also reduce travel time and stress for passengers without the need to build new infrastructure, said Dorris.

Going forward, the craft’s wingspan will allow it to land at most helipads, Dorris said, as well as infrastructure created by other air mobility companies in the years to come. For now, however, the focus is on existing infrastructure at smaller airports.

“We think it’s extremely important to have that low friction to start operations,” Dorris said. “We can fly on existing flight corridors, from existing towers and existing air traffic control rules.”

The maximum range of the Odys craft is around 1,000 miles, Dorris said, but the “sweet spot” are trips of 100 to 600 miles that would have passengers in the air for less than two hours, he said. -he adds.

The battery will be able to power the vehicle for about 200 miles, Dorris said. For longer flights, the craft would switch to normal jet fuel.

On normal commercial aircraft, regional flights are mostly take-offs and descents, Dorris said, with the planes not operating at cruising altitude – which is when they are most fuel efficient. – During a very long time.

“So these regional routes actually have a significant amount of CO2 per passenger-mile, compared to longer routes,” Dorris said, adding that emissions on a 350-mile flight would be reduced by around 83% with the Odys planes.

“We can have a big impact,” Dorris said.

Odys is the second air mobility company to announce interest in Long Beach in the past month and a half. In early March, Wisk Aero, which is developing an all-electric autonomous air taxi, partnered with the Long Beach Economic Partnership to study the feasibility of the technology in the city and region.

“From the very first flight, through the age of the jet, and now to the emergence of advanced air mobility, the aviation industry is constantly evolving,” Long Beach Airport Manager Cynthia Guidry said in an e -mail. “We look forward to learning more about how this rapidly developing sector will approach mobility options in a sustainable way.”

The sector’s future is self-contained, Dorris said, but that reality is still “far away.” The perception of safety is just as important as the reality of it, he explained, which is why Odys will start with two pilots in uniform, despite being certified for single-pilot operation.

Once Odys establishes its safety track record, the company will transition to single-pilot flights, Dorris said.

The company recently signed a lease for 15,000 square feet of office and hangar space with Ross Aviation at Long Beach Airport, confirmed Greg McQueary, Ross’s general manager at the municipal airport. The space has been vacant for about 15 years, McQueary added.

Dorris said the company was renovating its new offices and the hangar was already being used to continue development of the company’s aircraft.

The site serves as Odys’ headquarters, according to Dorris. The company has another off-site testing facility.

“There’s no better place to do big material hauling business than Los Angeles,” Dorris said. “Frankly, with the number of businesses clustering around the Long Beach airport, there’s just a big pool of talent to choose from. It’s a big community.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to note that Odys has a testing center outside of Long Beach.

Comments are closed.