An Inside Look at the Paris Air Show from Wayfinder Project Executive Arne Stoschek

Recently Wayfinder’s technology was prominently featured during the Paris Air Show (PAS) at Le Bourget Airport. The display showcased Wayfinder’s technology on Vahana’s Alpha Two tech demonstrator, turning many heads throughout the event! Our Project Executive, Arne Stoschek represented the Wayfinder team at the show and came back with numerous insights we thought our readers would find interesting! The Q&A below dives into many of those insights - we’ve also included Arne’s interview on site alongside Airbus Vice President of Urban Air Mobility Systems, Zach Lovering

Was this your first time at PAS? What was your first impression and how did you feel walking into that large of an event knowing your project would be on display? 

Yes it was my first time at the event and my initial impression was just the sheer size of the venue and the number of people who participate every year. The broad interest and excitement about the industry from the general public, not just industry professionals, only added to the incredible experience. 

It was a tremendous success for my team and A3 as a whole to be so prominently included in Airbus’ presence at the show this year. To have Vahana and Wayfinder presented next to a commercial aircraft was a visible and strong statement that Airbus is committed to turning the vision of urban mobility into a reality.

How was Wayfinder received at the show? Did you field a lot of questions about the technology? 

I would definitively say we were positively received! Understanding Wayfinder as one of the  pioneers in the autonomy space, there were a lot of questions around what these advancements mean for different kinds of aircraft, why we need it, when it will be available, and the path to certification and public acceptance.   

It was surprising to me how so many people at the show were familiar with autonomy and how it can be applied to aircraft in the future. I was prepared for some people to comment that autonomous flight was a crazy idea but the general sentiment was “What’s the path to get there?” I was blown away by the public’s understanding of the topic and truly thoughtful questions throughout the show. Many were surprised by how far Wayfinder and Airbus have been able to come with the tech and even more astonished that we’re already demonstrating its viability in the real world.

What was the most interesting question you got?

I wouldn’t say there was one specific question that was more interesting than another but what was interesting was the number of people who understood the core challenges we face as we work toward certification and then asked specific questions to understand how we plan to overcome them. To me, this is a significant sign of how far the public has come in accepting autonomy, not just on the ground, but in our skies. 

What was the most interesting thing to you at the event outside of the Airbus displays? 

I can’t pinpoint one specific display or booth because for me, the most interesting part of the show outside our innovations at Airbus, was the overwhelming emphasis on the advent of electric flight. As I walked around the show I was excited to see a range of companies from big to small presenting their vision of electric flight. The excitement throughout the show was palpable as those in attendance were able to experience the new vision so many companies have for our industry around sustainability and autonomous flight. 

How do you feel about the announcement with Airbus, RATP, and ADP that took place at the event? 

I think it was a wonderfully bold announcement that further highlighted how committed we are at Airbus to push the vision of urban mobility into a reality. When I watched the announcement take place I could see the excitement in the eyes of all parties, knowing they had just put forth an aggressive timeline to have these types of vehicles available at this very prominent location- it will be a huge step forward for the aviation industry. 

If you’d like to hear and see more from the Paris Airshow, we encourage you to watch the below interview with Arne and Zach where they talk about Vahana and Wayfinder and give a tour of Alpha Two.

Kate GundryComment