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The future of sound

VTOL aircraft already fly over some of our cities. Helicopters transport medical patients to urban hospitals. Sound is part of the world we inhabit. The next step, says Tomasz Krysinski, Research & Technology Director at Airbus, is the “design for sound” of new aircraft, particularly to address the urban air mobility market.

One focus is exploring new configurations for air vehicles, to leverage on possibilities that could trigger significant benefits in sound reduction. The CityAirbus and Vahana VTOL vehicles with their multiple propellers, now in the demonstrator phase, will need to meet a level of sound acceptance that will be significantly more stringent to operate above cities. 

“It’s not only about designing silent products, it’s also about designing silent procedures for our products,” says Krysinski. To this end, the company is also working on another kind of sound reduction: optimising takeoff and landing procedures, and lowering real-life operational sound. BVI occurs in certain glide slope angles and not in others, so by designing a landing procedure with a steeper glide slope, sound can potentially be lowered. This is just one of the solutions being considered. Climbing procedures, too, may come under scrutiny. 

“Certification for sound is done under flight conditions that are imposed by authorities,” says Krysinski. “They are not necessarily the procedures flown by our customers daily. We are working on impacting the real sound people hear coming from our products.”

*VTOL: vertical takeoff and landing

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