Bell eVTOL Aircraft to be Part of Smithsonian Exhibit

Bell Textron’s Nexus Air Taxi will be part of a special exhibit at the new Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building in Washington, D.C., which will debut in November. Bell Textron

Bell Textron’s electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft hasn’t taken flight, but it’s already headed for the Smithsonian.

The aerospace company announced last week its Nexus Air Taxi concept vehicle will be part of a special exhibit of futuristic technology at the new Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building in Washington, D.C., beginning in November.

“The Bell team is paving the way for future electric-powered vehicles and greener technology to flourish,” said Bell CEO Mitch Snyder in a statement. “We have a rich history of partnership with the Smithsonian Institute, with our various legacy aviation and aerospace products on display throughout the years.”

The Smithsonian describes its new “FUTURES” display as “part exhibition, part festival” with nearly 32,000 square feet of inventions, speculative designs, and “artifacts of the future,” according to the museum website.

The exhibit is expected to include digital displays for visitors to learn more about eVTOL technology and how it could be used in real-word scenarios.

The Bell aircraft, which debuted at the 2019 CES, is a ducted-fan concept vehicle designed to fly passengers on short hops over dense urban traffic. Its development is part of a wave of Wall Street interest in the eVTOL market, which is expected to be worth $1 trillion by 2040.

The Smithsonian exhibit also will include the company’s iconic Bell Rocket Belt jet pack made famous in the 1960s James Bond film “Thunderball.”

Visitors of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum may remember that it also holds Bell’s historic X-1 plane—the first supersonic aircraft—and the first FAA certified helicopter, the Bell 47B.

The free “FUTURES” exhibit is expected to last through July 2022.

Thom is a former senior editor for FLYING. Previously, his freelance reporting appeared in aviation industry magazines. Thom also spent three decades as a TV and digital journalist at CNN’s bureaus in Washington and Atlanta, eventually specializing in aviation. He has reported from air shows in Oshkosh, Farnborough and Paris. Follow Thom on Twitter @thompatterson.

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