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High-stakes, high-speed motion control takes stage in “What it Takes” series

High-stakes, high-speed motion control takes stage in “What it Takes” series

Video examines lightning-quick devices that are key to new species of aircraft 

The hardest part of flying is not getting a machine to defy gravity. It’s controlling it once it’s in the air.

That’s been true since the beginning of aviation, with pioneers like the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss fighting ferocious patent wars as they developed ailerons, rudders and other appendages that transformed twitchy, dangerous contraptions into docile airplanes.

Urban air mobility vehicles are going through the same evolution, with engineers relying on high-tech, high-speed electromechanical actuators to bring stability to these radical new aircraft designs. In Episode Four of What it Takes: The Tech Behind Urban Air Mobilityexperts discuss why these hardworking devices are so critical.

“Reliability is key,” says Meghan Amberik, who leads development of UAM actuators for Honeywell. “Electromechanical actuators are beneficial especially for urban air mobility because they are lightweight, they’re efficient, they’re made to work in harsh environments.”

The episode is the latest installment in Honeywell’s video series examining urban air mobility – a new transportation concept that envisions using electric, vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for short-range travel.

Most UAM designs rely on computers like Honeywell’s Compact Fly-by-Wire System to manage the multiple motors, tilting wings and other complexities built into these aircraft. The computers send hundreds of tiny adjustments throughout the aircraft every second; actuators must accept those commands and move control surfaces instantly through pushrods, screws or other linkages.

Other actuators perform utility roles like closing doors, securing cargo or operating air vents.

“The ability to be safe, the ability to be precise in positioning and maneuvering, is critically important,” Greg Haywood, senior director of sales for Honeywell’s Mechanical Systems and Components, says in this episode.

Want to know more? Visit Honeywell’s urban air mobility website to watch other videos in the series, read news, learn about our technology, sign up for updates or contact one of our UAM experts.

Chris Hawley
Director of User Experience, Honeywell

Chris Hawley helps develop new technologies as part of the HUE innovation team at Honeywell Aerospace. The team designs electronic systems that are opening up new frontiers of flight, from electric air taxis to supersonic airliners. 


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