Ahead of Embraer spin-off Eve’s projected entry into service of 2026, Recaro continues with development of seats for the eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing craft) despite having no finalised requirements for this specific type of aircraft. 

A partnership announced in January 2024 will see Recaro leverage its in-house competencies to create a product “on an even more advanced level compared to other types of product we have in our portfolio today,” says Rene Dankworth, chief business development officer at Recaro. 

Recaro is currently participating in industry groups to negotiate with regulators to help shape the seats’ final requirements. “As a basis, the authorities decided pretty early on that they would take the helicopter certification basis,” says Dankworth, citing “add-on” elements still under negotiation. 

Eve Air Mobility

Source: Eve Air Mobility

Eve’s first prototype is currently being assembled at the company’s production facility in the state of Sao Paulo 

Current working assumptions include a helicopter-like hard landing requirement of 14G downwards force, combined with forward dynamics of 26G to reflect the eVTOL’s lift-and-cruise configuration. The latter is significantly higher than on current regular seats and primarily concerns pilot safety.

Crucially, the requirement for structurally integral yet lightweight seats is especially relevant on an eVTOL, where “every gram counts,” Dankworth adds. Recaro’s seat weight of around 8kg “is a weight for a seat complete to fly,” enabled in part by not “over-designing” in certain areas.

A full-scale cabin model is helping inform Recaro’s endeavours to create “a seamless travel experience,” adds the company, with its dedicated eVTOL team working to optimise the design and create a sense of “visual comfort” in a small cabin. “Here is an interaction between the design process of the aircraft … an interaction we really need to optimise,” says Dankworth, citing the benefits of working with an aircraft still in its own development phase. 

Building on a successful collaboration with Eve, Recaro would consider further eVTOL products originating from this platform. “For sure we are not limited. At the moment we’re really happy with our customer Eve, but our intention is also to be able to enter the market with the product,” says Dankworth.