US Air Force Selects EZ Aerospace To Explore The Feasibility Of Air Taxis At Air Force Bases As Early As This Year
Startup looking to give the Air Force a lift
May 26, 2021
Brisbane, California - May 26, 2021 - EZ Aerospace is now working with the US Air Force to explore the feasibility of enabling on-demand air taxis to carry Airmen and cargo to, from, and between Air Force bases starting as soon as this year. AFWERX awarded this research & development work as a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) contract. This innovation program enables Air Force units to engage directly with the firm without the hassle and time typical Department of Defense procurement entails. EZ Aerospace aims to empower every Airman or Guardian to travel or move material the shortest distance between two points to support their missions. Air Taxis are often cheaper than airlines, safer than driving, and could help Airmen avoid crowded hub airports.
“Airmen belong in the air,” explains Mathew Zacharias, founder at EZ Aerospace, “We can better utilize what’s available to airmen today, and that’s our focus. The Air Force has a great legacy of nurturing new ideas to get the job done. That’s how we got the best air travel system in the world, and it’s how we’ll get to what’s next.”
This work supports the Agility Prime program, fostering advanced new aircraft designs, such as electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles. EZ Aerospace is focused on building a marketplace for dual-use air taxis that can serve both government and commercial travelers. Today, a marketplace could foster more competition and drive down costs to the Air Force. Such a marketplace will be crucial to the Air Force’s future utilization of these new vehicles and the commercial viability of novel urban and regional air mobility concepts.
EZ Aerospace’s novel approach uses existing on-demand charter air carriers, organic airlift, auxiliary airlift, and scheduled airlines. The team is betting on better utilizing existing regulations, technology, and government airlift contracts to bootstrap this futuristic method of flying in the safest, most affordable, and practical way, starting immediately, with no radical new technology required.
Today, roughly 1 billion airline passengers per year are concentrated through only 50 hub airports in the US to reach just the 380 airports served by scheduled airlines. As COVID-19 has highlighted, the hub-and-spoke architecture that the airlines depend on for profitability has led to increased disease outbreaks worldwide over the past 40 years. (Outbreaks have been getting worse since 1980… Is Hub-and-Spoke Air Travel to blame?) Many small aircraft (and operators) could be spread across the country to decentralize some passenger travel, offering better connectivity to air bases and rural communities.
The US is home to nearly 200,000 small aircraft (roughly half of the worlds small aircraft fleet) and over 600,000 pilots with access to 5,100 public use airfields (20,000 counting private fields, helipads, and seaplane bases); all of them well regulated and supported by a robust supply chain. The team’s research has already identified roughly 1,000 aircraft the Air Force could better utilize to help movements domestically.
EZ Aerospace is conducting conversations with Air Force and Space Force stakeholders who want to start using air taxis for TDY travel and cargo movements. Airmen and Guardians are encouraged to reach out to the EZ Aerospace team at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about bringing air taxi services to their base this year.