Kevin Robinson Gets Up Close With Vahana
July 27, 2018
MTSI’s President and CEO Kevin Robinson visited Vahana, the A3 by Airbus project, in Oregon on July 13th. We asked him a couple of questions about his experience.
Q: Was this your first time visiting Vahana? Can you give a brief overview of what you did during the visit?
A: This was my second meeting with the MTSI team working on Vahana, but my first visit to the Pendleton UAS Range. This is an ideal facility for Vahana flight testing with great support from the airport and local community. I met with the MTSI team to review overall project status as we plan to put more company emphasis and investment behind growing similar business. The team went out dinner Thursday night. I sat in on a flight test preparation meeting led by MTSI early Friday morning and then got the chance to witness a very successful six minute flight test event where the self-piloted aircraft executed a programmed series of hover, pitch, yaw, roll, translation, and landing sequences. The flight test campaign is progressing, as the flight envelope of the vehicle is gradually expanded and additional functionalities are implemented.
Q: Did you meet with the customer?
A: I met briefly with the Vahana Test Lead (he was very busy with flight test prep). The A3 executive leadership was not in Pendleton on that occasion.
Q: From a capabilities standpoint, how is MTSI contributing to Vahana?
A: MTSI is Test Lead for the Vahana project. MTSI serves as the Test Director for each of the flight test events. We are also assisting with aircraft integration and maintenance.
Q: How does the work being done on Vahana benefit the rest of MTSI in future projects?
A: This project is paving the way for a new MTSI business model where we apply our core expertise in systems engineering and integration, flight testing, UAS certification, autonomous software development, etc. to serve commercial clients that are making substantial investments in urban air mobility.
Q: Did you get to take a ride in the vehicle?
A: Not this time! Flight tests in this phase of the project are unmanned. I do believe we see this mode of transportation become a reality over the next decade.