Hexcel in Spotlight as Utah Gov Announces “Project Alta” Coalition for Advanced Air Mobility

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Hexcel was recently at center stage of a major announcement by Utah Governor Spencer Cox of the new Air Logistics and Transportation Alliance that plans to make Utah a major hub for a next generation of innovation in air travel – the development and public adoption of all-electric air vehicles.

This new initiative, also known as “Project Alta,” is a coalition of industry leaders, policymakers, and community members working together to build a safe, collaborative, and prosperous future through advanced air mobility, according to the Utah Aerospace and Defense industry association 47G.

During a news conference held at Hexcel Salt Lake City in front of a crowd of aerospace and defense industry leaders and Utah lawmakers, Philippe Chevrier – President of Americas & Global Fibers for Hexcel, described how local industry, especially Hexcel, is contributing to this exciting new frontier in aviation.

“Utah is the home of the largest high performance and aerospace-grade carbon fiber production facility in North America,” Philippe said. “This is where we develop and produce the extremely strong and lightweight carbon fiber composite materials that are used for the fuselage, wings, tails, and most flight-critical structures that are found on modern airplanes, UAVs, unmanned air vehicles and drones, rocket boosters, helicopters, and the structures and rotor blades for the new, all-electric, battery-powered air taxis that will soon be flying in major urban centers, including, hopefully here in Salt Lake City.”

Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) promises to be the next big transportation innovation, according to Michael Huerta, former Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and Acting U.S. Secretary of Transportation. He recently joined 47G as the chair of the 47G Project Alta Alliance.

“We are at the dawn of a new age in air transportation. Advanced Air Mobility is a rapidly emerging new sector of the aerospace industry, which aims to safely and efficiently integrate highly automated aircraft into our national airspace system,” he said. “AAM is not a single technology, but … a collection of new and emerging technologies being applied to the aviation transportation system.”

Of particular note, Secretary Huerta explained, is the development of small, electric-powered aircraft that take off and land vertically which have the flexibility to serve any community with quiet and clean short-haul air services.

Hexcel is at the forefront of the development of these electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for use in advanced urban air mobility networks. Hexcel is providing the aerospace industry with advanced lightweight composite materials that make energy efficient, reliable, cost-competitive air vehicles a reality.

Similar to taxis or ridesharing today, AAM will deliver transportation in the air, removing congestion from our streets and providing a convenient and rapid method to travel within urban centers. Advanced lightweight materials have been a key driver of efficiency for aircraft today, and they will be even more important for the future of air travel.

“We love Hexcel and the work that they're doing,” said Governor Cox, who explained that during his visits to the Hexcel campus located in West Valley City he has seen the incredible innovation taking place in Utah.

“They have helped us become a center of excellence, really, across the world, for advanced composite materials,” he said. “What we're talking about today [is] an opportunity for us to reimagine what transportation can be. We can't keep widening [roads], but we can start going vertical, and that's exactly what we're going to do.”

The governor said that this is "the golden age of Utah. What you guys are doing is unparalleled anywhere in the country right now. This is the epicenter for development, for growth, the epicenter for innovation. We're proud to see what will happen over the next few months and years as Utah becomes a center of excellence for Advanced Air Mobility.”

To learn more about 47G and Project Alta, click here: https://alta.47g.org/

Photo: Philippe Chevrier – President of Americas & Global Fibers for Hexcel, addresses an audience of local aerospace industry, policymakers, community members and employees during the announcement of “Project Alta” at Hexcel Salt Lake City.