China opens door to mass production of home-built pilotless eVTOL aircraft

EH216-S eVTOL aircraft
MikeDotta / Shutterstock

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has cleared the way for the mass production of a domestically produced eVTOL, developed by the privately-owned Urban Air Mobility (UAM) company, EHang Holdings Limited.

On April 7, 2024, EHang, based in Guangzhou, announced that it had successfully obtained a Production Certificate for its EH216-Selectric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. This certificate signifies that the manufacturer has implemented a mass production quality management system that complies with CAAC’s airworthiness regulations.

According to EHang’s statement, the quality management system for the EH216-S covers everything from raw materials and supplier management to production organization, quality control during eVTOL aircraft production, testing before delivery, as well as repairs and maintenance after sales. This system has established clear rules and records for each step of the EH216-S production process, to ensure that every EH216-S and its parts made on the assembly line meet the CAAC-approved design and safety standards.

EH216-S eVTOL aircraft obtained CAAC's Production Certificate
EHang Holdings Limited

What do we know about EHang’s EH216-S eVTOL aircraft so far?

The EH216-S is an autonomous two-passenger eVTOL multicopter aircraft, which obtained its airworthiness type certificate on October 13, 2023. The manufacturer claims to be the world’s first company to have obtained type certification for its eVTOL aircraft and states that it has secured pre-orders for more than 1,200 units internationally.

The EH216-S is a two-passenger eVTOL aircraft model developed for advanced air mobility (AAM) services. This aircraft can reach a cruise speed of up to 100 kilometers per hour (around 62 miles per hour) and attain a maximum speed of 130 kilometers per hour (81 miles per hour) at an altitude of up to 3,000 meters (9,843 feet). This model is powered by batteries, which require approximately 120 minutes to recharge.

EH216-S eVTOL aircraft
Toto Santiko Budi / Shutterstock

Equipped with 16 propellers, 16 electric motors, and the fixed skid landing gear, the EH216-S can carry up to 220 kilograms (485 lbs) and can travel a distance of up to 35 kilometers (approximately 22 miles) within a 21-minute flight.

The fuselage of this newcomer in the eVTOL aircraft market is built from carbon fiber composite, offering a high strength-to-weight ratio.

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