NEXUS: The Next Generation Urban Air Mobility Solution

NEXUS: The Next Generation Urban Air Mobility Solution
Courtesy by Textron

CES 2019 saw the first unveiling of Bell's Nexus eVTOL airplane, but CES 2020 saw a further honed version called Nexus 4EX. The first flight of the six-ducted design was projected to take place in 2020, with aircraft certification to follow in 2023. Later, Bell made changes to the design under the working title 4EX as a result of these timeline points slipping.

Apparently, the program was dormant by late 2021, with Textron executives suggesting it no longer was a priority. The Nexus appears to be gaining momentum following the launch of the new eAviation division by the American aerospace group. At the NBAA business aviation show in October 2022, Bell's engineering team announced that its first full-scale prototype would be ready to fly in 2024 or 2025, with help from Textron and its new sister company Pipistrel.

The Textron Nexus eVTOL aircraft may initially carry four passengers and a pilot, but eventually may operate autonomously. (Image: Textron)

In comparison to the earlier 4EX, the new design has a maximum takeoff weight of 8,000 pounds and a wingspan of 50 feet. Featuring four stationary rotor units for vertical lift and two tilting rotors for transitioning to cruise flight, it features an open rotor system. In addition to a boost in range, the four-passenger vehicle's wingspan has been increased in response to FAA regulations. Having a cruise speed of 120 knots, the Nexus is about the same size as Textron's Cessna Grand Caravan fixed-wing aircraft.

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