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DeLorean DR-7 rear view

DeLorean unveils DR-7 VTOL

On June 8, 2017, Paul DeLorean, CEO and chief designer at DeLorean Aerospace, unveiled a concept video and illustrations of the two-seat DR-7 electric VTOL. According to DeLorean, the DR-7 is designed to be a personal commuter aircraft that would have a much broader market appeal than conventional planes and helicopters, due to its high-speed efficiency, VTOL function and autonomous control system. “With a compact footprint and minimized proximity hazard of enclosed rotors, it is a viable option for close-quarters launches and landings.” Before the DR-7, there were six variants of the same basic configuration, including the simulation model, sub-scale proof of concept demonstrators, etc. DeLorean Aerospace was founded specifically to develop and produce this and other aircraft concepts. The DR-7 is not a so-called “flying car,” but rather a VTOL-capable airplane, with conventional control surfaces and a push/pull propulsion system (a tractor front fan and a pusher rear fan). The centerline-twin-vectoring configuration (CTV) has proven to be extremely stable. Basically, the pressure centers of the rotors sit above the center of mass of the craft, mimicking the two-point suspension of a hammock. The gyroscopic effect of the counter-rotating rotors further stabilizes, while providing a positive dampening effect. The vehicle uses a unique and robust gimbal system to direct thrust in 360 degrees, providing roll and yaw control while hovering, and yaw in forward flight, eliminating the need for a conventional rudder and the associated drag. After experimenting with vanes, it became obvious to DeLorean that launches from uneven surfaces were unpredictable and dangerous, in addition to mention the drag penalty. The vectoring input also remains consistent from hover to forward flight, so control mixing is not needed, as it would be with lateral propulsion designs (i.e., roll is always roll and yaw is always yaw). In airplane mode, the also fan efflux over the fuselage creates additional lift, aiding stall resistance and allowing a smaller wing area. Conventional launches and landings are possible in event of power failure or other emergency conditions. DeLorean stated in June 2017, “We recently finished our proof-of-concept testing and engineering hand-off model (bootstrapped and angel funded) and have just begun to seek funding for the piloted prototype. We are in discussion now with a few established manufacturers to build this prototype and anticipate its construction within a year.” The aircraft is 20 ft (6.1 m) in length and …

DeLorean Aerospace DR-7

DR-7 DeLorean Aerospace Laguna Beach, California, USA www.deloreanaerospace.com Paul DeLorean, the CEO and chief designer at DeLorean Aerospace (and nephew of US automotive legend, John DeLorean), filed a patent in 2012. The current DR-7 is a tandem-seat aircraft with ducted fans fore and aft along the aircraft centerline. Resources: News posts DeLorean unveils DR-7 VTOL, June 11, 2017 Air Mobility Bonanza Beckons Electric VTOL Developers, March/April 2017​ US Patent 9,085,355, filed Dec. 7, 2012; granted July 21, 2015

Uber Flying Taxis in Dubai

Is 2020 Really Possible? (sidebar)

Is 2020 Really Possible? Sidebars to From the Ground Up: Uber Elevate in 2020 Uber said that by the time flight demonstration programs begin in 2020, they will have to validate that they have mitigated the three biggest risks: efficient flights (airspace acceptance), noise (community acceptance) and safety (passenger acceptance). Note that Uber is not funding the development of the aircraft, but is helping to facilitate connections between investors and developers. Once the companies prove their products can operate within the Elevate network and meet the performance and economic requirements, Uber said it would be ready to put its money down and guarantee production volumes and revenues to justify the certification expense. To make the Uber Elevate vision a reality, the flight demonstrations to begin in 2020 will require: Demonstrator aircraft: More than two dozen organizations are currently researching electric and hybrid-electric eVTOL concepts. At least six are currently conducting full-scale flight tests, while several others are completing their aircraft or flying subscale models. Vertiport infrastructure: Uber is working with charging companies like ChargePoint, as well as Hillwood Properties, one of the largest private real estate developers and investors in the US, to establish vertiports at company-owned sites to conduct the tests with distributed nodes around Dallas-Ft. Worth. Similar efforts are underway for Dubai. Airspace: A key aspect of the Elevate ecosystem is the ability to seamlessly operate in Class B airspace. With high-speed, very quiet aircraft, Uber believes eVTOL aircraft will be able to operate in well-defined corridors linking the vertiports, and avoid the airspace restrictions imposed on ad hoc helicopter operations today. Regulations / Certification: The FAA is considering fixed-wing aircraft that take off vertically to be governed under Part 23 as small aircraft. Uber said it hopes that the new eVTOL aircraft can be certified by 2023, but that it has other ways to test the Elevate network before then. In August 2017, the FAA introduced fundamental changes to Part 23 light aircraft certification rules that are designed to facilitate innovation and reduce certification costs. And EASA recently introduced “proportionality” for light aircraft, where manufacturers are allowed to build up to 10 aircraft prior to certification. The FAA …

eVTOL Aircraft

The following companies are known to be developing electric VTOL aircraft: A³ Vahana Airbus Helicopters CityAirbus AirspaceX MOBi Aurora Flight Sciences eVTOL Aurora Flight Sciences LightningStrike Bartini Flying Car Bell Helicopter (unnamed) Carter Aviation CarterCopter Cartivator SkyDrive DeLorean Aerospace DR-7 Dekatone (unnamed) EHang 184 Flexcraft (unnamed) HopFlyt (unnamed) HoverSurf Drone Taxi R-1 JAXA Hornisse 2B Jetpack Aviation (unnamed) Joby Aviation S4 Kitty Hawk Flyer Lilium Jet Neva Aerospace AirQuadOne Pipistrel (unnamed) Terrafugia TF-X Volocopter VC200 / 2X Workhorse SureFly XTI Aircraft Trifan 600 Zee Aero Z-P1 (updated August 19, 2017)

eVTOL Aircraft

The following companies are known to be developing electric VTOL aircraft: A³ Vahana Airbus Helicopters CityAirbus AirspaceX MOBi Aurora Flight Sciences eVTOL Aurora Flight Sciences LightningStrike Bartini Flying Car Bell Helicopter (unnamed) Carter Aviation CarterCopter Cartivator SkyDrive DeLorean Aerospace DR-7 Dekatone (unnamed) EHang 184 Flexcraft (unnamed) HopFlyt (unnamed) HoverSurf Drone Taxi R-1 JAXA Hornisse 2B Jetpack Aviation (unnamed) Joby Aviation S4 Kitty Hawk Flyer Lilium Jet Neva Aerospace AirQuadOne Pipistrel (unnamed) Terrafugia TF-X Volocopter VC200 / 2X Workhorse SureFly XTI Aircraft Trifan 600 Zee Aero Z-P1 (updated August 19, 2017)