Next-generation aircraft and air taxi manufacturer Wisk Aero is teaming up with Long Beach to map out and prepare advanced air mobility (AAM) services in the city and region in coming years.
Boeing and Kitty Hawk air taxi affiliate Wisk announced it will co-chair a task force with members of the Long Beach Economic Partnership (LBEP) to evaluate, plan, and ultimately implement future AAM services. Objectives adopted will issue from an impact study that participants will conduct to measure economic benefits to the community and wider Southern California area. Members of the LBEP will include business, local government, and community leaders, who will work with Wisk on developing electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) activities over an initial two-year period.
During that opening term, working groups will evaluate probable opportunities and consequences of AAM activities in Long Beach. Four priorities of focus in that are the analysis of the economic impact and workforce development; community acceptance and outreach; integration of autonomous AAM into city transportation networks; and federal and state government funding possibilities.
The development is only the most recent for Wisk, which closed out 2021 with several major advances. Topping those was a $450 million infusion it received from Boeing. Wisk says it will use those funds to leverage the 1,500 test flights of its full-scale eVTOL craft over the past decade and accelerate its efforts to earn federal certification. Within five years of obtaining that, Wisk says it plans to be operating one of the biggest fleets of eVTOL vehicles in the global AAM sector, particularly in looming air taxi services.
The new tie-up with LBEP straps Wisk in as one of the actors piloting future AAM and air taxi activities in Long Beach, which has a deep aviation history.
“We are excited to work with the City of Long Beach and LBEP in this unique partnership,” Gary Gysin, CEO of Wisk said. “With its rich aerospace past, current resurgence via Space Beach, and its central position in the LA Metro area, Long Beach is an ideal city for all-electric, autonomous urban flight opportunities. Through this partnership, Long Beach has the opportunity to be one of the first cities to realize the economic and environmental benefits of AAM, as well as to lead Southern California, and the United States, in autonomous, all-electric AAM.”
“We have produced some of the world’s most modern aircraft, are leading in the space economy, and will now be home to new technologies in Advanced Air Mobility,” added Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “We look forward to our partnership with Wisk and are proud of our local workforce who are educated, trained, and poised to make progress on these innovations.”