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XTI Trifan 600 Ducts

XTI Aircraft Prototype Begins to Come Together

XTI Aircraft announced on Feb. 20 that it was on schedule and on budget as it completed the ducts and fans for its 60% scale flying prototype of the TriFan 600 aircraft, and moved toward ground testing those components (see “XTI Aircraft Refines Its TriFan 600 VTOL BizJet,” Vertiflite March/April 2018). The wing ducts for the prototype were received from Trek Aerospace in late March: the photo shows XTI founder Dave Brody (second from left) with the two ducts. “In this Phase 2,” explained Robert LaBelle, Chief Executive Officer of XTI, “we’re fabricating the wing ducts and fans and will perform ground tests for static thrust performance and verification on those components. We’ll also complete weight and balance, and full structural design. Fabrication of the entire aircraft will be completed in Phase 3, which will begin in April, followed by two or three months of testing before first flight later this year.” The company said it had received 60 orders for the airplane — each with a $25,000 refundable deposit — representing $390M in sales.

XTI Aircraft Refines its TriFan 600 VTOL BizJet

XTI Aircraft Refines its TriFan 600 VTOL BizJet Will the civil air transport sector accept a regional VTOL aircraft that is not a tiltrotor? Vertiflite looks at one company’s offering. By Robert W. Moorman Vertiflite, March/April 2018 Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) -capable aircraft other than helicopters are not yet part of business and commercial aviation fleets. But that could change someday. Although there is much work going on right now on fully-electric VTOL aircraft for the Uber Elevate mission and other intra-city applications (see “The eVTOL Is in the Details,” pg. 42), larger aircraft and longer distances will require hybrid-electric propulsion solutions in the foreseeable future. One contender is XTI Aircraft Company, which is well advanced with its TriFan 600, a hybrid-electric VTOL-capable aircraft now expected to enter production in 2022, two years earlier than originally planned, according to XTI CEO Robert LaBelle. Like many companies, XTI had its challenges early on. It was founded in 2012 by entrepreneur David Brody, who came up with the conceptual design of the TriFan 600. Based near Denver, Colorado, the company’s initial plan was to develop a more traditional propulsion system for the aircraft with two large turboshaft engines driving two tilting ducted propellers and a third fan in the fuselage. But the aircraft was heavy and expensive with a $12M price tag and therefore would likely have found a much smaller market. The program suffered a setback on Feb. 5, 2016, when XTI CEO Jeffrey Pino, the former president of Sikorsky Aircraft (and former chair of AHS International), was killed after his World War II P-51D Mustang crashed near Maricopa, Arizona. LaBelle became CEO in January 2017. During a lengthy interview with Vertiflite, LaBelle detailed changes to the design of the TriFan 600, the path to its certification and the direction of the company. A New Beginning One of LaBelle’s first priorities as the XTI leader was to come up with an efficient and lighter powerplant for the TriFan 600 that would reduce the unit and direct operating costs of the aircraft. Engineers determined that a hybrid-electric system would produce the most cost-effective and marketable solution. XTI brought in George Bye as chief engineer for the TriFan 600 program. Bye’s Denver-based company, Bye Aerospace, has experience in hybrid-electric propulsion and solar-powered aircraft. Bye developed the hybrid-electric propulsion system for the TriFan 600. Another key partner in the program is Trek Aerospace, which has unique duct and fan technology. Trek said that its core technology has the highest thrust-to-power ratio in the industry, so its shrouded props require less power, meaning greater range, payload capacity and endurance. The redesigned TriFan 600 will be powered by a hybrid-electric propulsion system composed of a single 1,000 shp (750 kW) engine, such as the Honeywell HTS900, driving three generators, which, in turn, will provide electricity to the six electric motors that turn the three fans. In addition, in the vertical flight phase, the aircraft will be supplemented by batteries to provide needed power to the …

XTI Aircraft TriFan 600

TriFan 600 XTI Aircraft Company Englewood, Colorado, USA “Using three ducted fans, the TriFan 600 lifts off vertically and in seconds the two wing fans rotate forward for a seamless transition to high-speed flight. Within just 90 seconds, the airplane reaches cruise speed — where the lift is provided by the wings just like every other fixed-wing airplane. The fuselage-mounted fan, no longer needed, closes up. The airplane flies directly to its destination and reverses the process. Landing vertically right where it needs to be — wherever there’s a clear helipad-sized paved surface.” XTI Aircraft unveiled its TriFan 600 in August 2015 with a well-publicized equity crowdfunding (see “Industry Briefs,” Vertiflite, Nov/Dec 2015). The six-seat, fixed-wing airplane uses three ducted fans to power the aircraft from vertical takeoff and landing to 340 kt (630 km/h) and a range of 650 nm for VTOL or 1,200 nm (2,222 km). The company is currently building a two-thirds-scale technology demonstrator powered by a single HTS900 turboshaft engine with first flight planned for September 2018, and a full-sized prototype in November 2019. The new XTI chief executive Bob LaBelle, formerly the CEO of AgustaWestland North America, announced in the March/April 2017 issue of Vertiflite that the TriFan 600 would feature a hybrid-electric drive system.  Resources: Search eVTOL news posts XTI Aircraft website XTI Aircraft page on StartEngine Article: XTI Aircraft Company Accepts More Orders for TriFan 600 Vertical Takeoff Airplane, PR Newswire, October 18, 2017 Article: XTI Trifan 600 Draws The Curious At NBAA, AOPA, October 11, 2017 Article: XTI Unveils Redesigned TriFan 600 VTOL, AIN Online, October 9, 2017 Article: Air Mobility Bonanza Beckons Electric VTOL Developers, Vertiflite, March/April 2017 Tags: XTI, Vectored Thrust

Vectored Thrust

Vectored Thrust An eVTOL aircraft that uses any of its thrusters for lift and cruise: A³ Vahana aeroG Aviation aG-4 AirisOne AirspaceX MOBi Aurora Flight Sciences LightningStrike (defunct) Autonomous Flight Y6S Bartini Flying Car Bell Air Taxi Carter Aviation CarterCopter DeLorean Aerospace DR-7 Digi Robotics DroFire Digi Robotics Droxi Dufour aEro2 EVA X01 HopFlyt Venturi JAXA Hornisse 2B Jetoptera J2000 Joby Aviation S2 (defunct) Joby Aviation S4 Karem Butterfly KARI PAV Lilium Jet Moller Skycar M400 Neoptera eOpter Opener BlackFly Piasecki eVTOL Pipistrel (unnamed) PteroDynamics Transwing Rolls-Royce EVTOL Sabrewing Draco-2 Sikorsky VERT SKYLYS Aircraft AO Starling Jet Supervolant Pegasus Terrafugia TF-2 Tiltrotor Terrafugia TF-X Transcend Air Vy 400 VerdeGo Aero PAT200 Vertiia Vickers WAVE eVTOL Vimana (unnamed) VTOL Aviation Abhiyaan XTI Aircraft Trifan 600 Zenith Altitude EOPA Not what you’re looking for? Check out all eVTOL

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 is also considering this approach. Pilots or Autonomy: Uber said it plans to fly piloted aircraft for the first five years or so to guarantee safety and develop a database of safe operations in wide-ranging conditions. For this, Uber may need tens of thousands of pilots. The company is working with groups to hire pilots with prior military aviation experience. eVTOL Companies The following electric VTOL aircraft are known to be under development. These include aircraft for a wide range of missions, not just applicable for Uber’s Elevate mission. Winged (updated Aug. 19, 2017) A³ Vahana AirspaceX MOBi Aurora Flight Sciences eVTOL Aurora Flight Sciences LightningStrike Bell Helicopter (unnamed) Carter Aviation/Mooney CarterCopter DeLorean Aerospace DR-7 Flexcraft (unnamed) HopFlyt (unnamed) HoverSurf Drone Taxi R-1 JAXA Hornisse 2B Joby Aviation S4 Lilium Jet Pipistrel (unnamed) Terrafugia TF-X XTI Aircraft Trifan 600 Zee Aero Z-P1 Wingless (updated Aug. 19, 2017) Airbus Helicopters CityAirbus Bartini …

Innovation in the Parisian Summer: Paris Air Show 2017 Report

Innovation in the Parisian Summer: Paris Air Show 2017 Report The 52nd International Paris Air Show took place once again at Le Bourget International Airport on June 19-25. Military and civil helicopters were supplemented with innovative approaches to vertical flight. By Ian Frain Vertiflite, Sept-Oct 2017 The aviation industry descended on the beautiful French capital once again over a very hot June, with air temperatures reaching above 95°F (35°C). This year saw not just current rotorcraft, but also future vertical flight innovations, particularly from American, French and Turkish industrial participants. Entente Cordiale The French procurement and technology agency responsible for weapon systems program management — Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA, Directorate General of Armaments) — exhibited rotary-wing assets at the front of the show from all three arms: the Armée de l’Air (air force), Aviation Légère Armée de Terre (ALAT, army aviation) and Marine Nationale (navy). There was a pair of Tigre HAD attack helicopters (formerly designated EC665) present at the show, including one used for the flying demonstration. The Armée de l’Air was represented by its H225M Caracal combat search and rescue (CSAR) helicopter (formerly EC725); the Caracal is expected to remain in service for another decade in the Armée de l’Air. The Marine Nationale had its NH90 NFH (NATO Frigate Helicopter) Caïman in its anti-submarine warfare (ASW) configuration and armed with a torpedo. In addition, HeliDax exhibited its Airbus Helicopters H120 Calliope training helicopter (formerly its EC120B). HeliDax provides rotary-wing flight training to all branches of the French armed forces, plus the French Douanes (Customs) and Sécurité Civile (Civil Defense), and other parapublic agencies. The company is owned 50/50 by INAER Helicopter France and Défense Conseil International (DCI). Further away from the main exhibition was the ALAT NH90 TTH (Tactical Transport Helicopter) Caïman in the NHIndustries chalet. This, along with the Tigre, were the only rotorcraft to perform during the daily flying displays. High-Speed and Unmanned Airbus Innovations Airbus Helicopters exhibited its latest products, which included the H135 Helionix demonstrator, the corporate H130 and the military H145M with various weapons systems. The newest addition to the company’s product line is the VSR700 unmanned rotorcraft. The VSR700 is derived from Hélicoptères Guimbal’s Cabri G2 two-seat light helicopter; hence, the development of the VSR700 is between both Airbus Helicopters and Guimbal. The autonomous flight trials are being carried out with a safety pilot on board. The VSR700 weighs 1,675 lb (760 kg), flies at 100 kt (185 km/h) and is powered by a 155 hp (115 kW) turbocharged diesel engine, giving it an endurance of 10 hours. At the air show, the VSR700 had various mission role kits around it, such as the Thales AESA Flat Panel Surveillance Radar, and an ASW(anti-submarine warfare) payload consisting of the active sonobuoy with its launcher. L-3 Wescam provided an electro-optical MX-15, while the Airbus DeckFinder autolanding system for VTOL UAV ship deck operations was also on display. The true flexibility of this platform is shown with the provision to carry a rescue raft built by Survitec, which can be airdropped …

eVTOL Aircraft

The following companies are known to be developing electric VTOL aircraft: A³ Vahana aeroG Aviation aG-4 AeroMobil 5.0 Airbus Helicopters CityAirbus AirisOne AirspaceX MOBi Alauda Airspeeder ASTRO/Passenger Drone Aurora Flight Sciences eVTOL Aurora Flight Sciences LightningStrike Autonomous Flight Y6S Avianovations Hepard Bartini Flying Car Bell Air Taxi Boeing Cargo Aerial Vehicle Carter Aviation CarterCopter Cartivator SkyDrive Davinci ZeroG Dekatone (unnamed) DeLorean Aerospace DR-7 Digi Robotics DroFire Digi Robotics Droxi Dufour aEro2 EAC Whisper EHang 184 Embraer (unnamed) EVA X01 Flexcraft (unnamed) Flike Flyt Aerospace FlytCycle Gravity X HopFlyt Venturi HoverSurf Drone Taxi R-1 HoverSurf Formula HoverSurf Scorpion JAXA Hornisse 2B Jetoptera J2000 Jetpack Aviation (unnamed) Joby Aviation S4 Kalashnikov (unnamed) Karem Butterfly KARI PAV Kármán XK-1 Kitty Hawk Cora Kitty Hawk Flyer Kitty Hawk Flyer (prototype) Lilium Jet Malloy Hoverbike Moller Skycar M400 Napoleon Aero VTOL Neoptera eOpter Neva Aerospace AirQuadOne PAVX PAV-UL Ultralight Piasecki eVTOL Pipistrel (unnamed) PteroDynamics Transwing Pop.Up Next Ray Research Dart Flyer Ray Research VTOL Aircraft Sabrewing Draco-2 Sikorsky VERT SKYLYS Aircraft AO Skypod Aerospace Skypod Starling Jet Supervolant Pegasus Terrafugia TF-2 Uber eCRM Urban Aeronautics CityHawk VerdeGo Aero PAT200 Vertiia Vickers WAVE eVTOL Vimana (unnamed) Volocopter VC200 / 2X VRCO NeoXCraft VTOL Aviation Abhiyaan Workhorse SureFly XTI Aircraft Trifan 600 Zee Aero Z-P2 Zenith Altitude EOPA (updated June 11, 2018)

Air Mobility Bonanza Beckons Electric VTOL Developers

Air Mobility Bonanza Beckons Electric VTOL Developers By Richard Whittle Vertiflite, Mar-Apr 2017 In this continuation from last issue’s article, “The Demand for On-Demand Mobility,” Vertiflite reports on companies pursuing visions aligned with Uber’s Elevate White Paper. More information and other articles in this series can be found at An aviation gold rush is on. The belief that advances in electric propulsion and autonomy technologies are making cheap, quiet and even fully automated air taxis as feasible as automatic elevators is fueling a frenzy of design and development of small electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. Some e-VTOLs are already flying. Others will be soon. Many more are on the drawing boards. Encouraged by NASA’s work on distributed electric propulsion concepts, the rush began when rich tech entrepreneurs got excited by the drone revolution and ventured into aviation. But now major aerospace corporations are also working to develop e-VTOLs, a technology that could take the drone revolution to a new level — if the developers hit pay dirt. Disrupting the Industry “We’ve flown two subscale vehicles,” said Zach Lovering, project executive for Airbus subsidiary A³’s “Vahana,” a fully autonomous, single-seat, eight-propeller tilt-wing that isn’t much larger than a Chevy Suburban sport utility vehicle (SUV). “We’re building our third subscale demonstrator, which should be flying in the next couple of weeks,” Lovering said in mid-January. “We should start seeing full-scale components being delivered within a month.” A³ (pronounced “A-cubed”), Airbus’s fledgling Silicon Valley innovation outpost, is moving fast. The San Jose, California, company expects to finish assembling a full-size Vahana prototype in nearby Santa Clara by this summer, start flight testing in August and fly a demonstration in October, Lovering said. “We define a demonstration flight as a vertical takeoff, a transition to cruise while avoiding obstacles along the cruise path, converting back to vertical flight, then identifying a landing zone using our sense and avoid system, and landing,” Lovering said. “Then the beta phase will be a two-year phase following that, in which we do a demonstration at convincing scale. What that exact demonstration will be is still to be determined, but we imagine having many vehicles doing air taxi-like operations in some controlled area.” The sleek Vahana aircraft, Lovering said, designed with help from renowned outside engineers Bob Parks and Hal Youngren, uses a canard configuration with a forward tilting wing positioned lower than its rear tilting wing. Each wing carries four unducted, variable-pitch, three-bladed propellers (or fans, as A³ calls them) turned by eight 45 kW (60 hp) electric motors. The motors are powered by lithium battery packs. “Every motor propulsion unit — which we define as a motor, variable-pitch mechanism and fan — has the ability to change its RPM and the propeller angle, or the blade angle, independently of every other one,” Lovering said. Lovering said the Vahana prototype will be about 1,600 lb (725 kg) gross takeoff weight and cruise at about 95 kt (175 km/h), flying at up to 1,000 ft (300 m) …

TVFW 2015 Group Photo

Second Transformative Vertical Flight Workshop Is a Great Success

Second Transformative Vertical Flight Workshop Is a Great Success By Mike Dudley, Mike Duffy and Mike Hirschberg What if you could cut your daily commute time from 35 minutes to 12 minutes? How much of a bigger home would you buy if you could commute 100 miles to work and still get there in less than 35 minutes? What if this type of capability was cost-competitive to driving, taking the train or bus? These questions have compelled a group of scientists, engineers and visionaries in industry, government and academia to meet once a year to tackle the technical, regulatory and perception challenges of democratized vertical flight. Technology advances in motors, batteries and automation have made the dream closer to a reality. However, the challenges are much more than just technical; therefore, a consensus amongst stakeholders is needed to increase success. On August 3-4, 2015, a workshop was held at the NASA Ames Research Center, located at the Moffett Federal Airfield in California, to explore the aviation community’s interest in Transformative Vertical Flight (TVF) Concepts. The workshop was sponsored by AHS International, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); it was hosted by the NASA Aeronautics Research Institute (NARI). This second-annual workshop built on the success and enthusiasm generated by the first TVF Workshop held in the Washington, DC, area in August 2014. Again this year, the workshop had a “sell-out” crowd of more than 130 enthusiastic registrants. Attendees had the chance to tour some of the exciting facilities at NASA Ames: the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex (NFAC), the Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS), and the Hyperwall supercomputer-driven visualization system. Participants were also able to take a tour of the Hiller Aviation Museum and engage in some thought-provoking discussions at the local AHS San Francisco Bay Area Chapter dinner meeting, which featured Boeing’s Dan Newman, who provided his ideas about “Our Kids’ Vertical Flight.” Some two dozen presentations and panel discussions were given by engineers, scientists and visionaries from NASA and other government agencies, electric propulsion and energy storage researchers and developers, small innovators and startups, and large aerospace companies. Plans are now being made for a third workshop to be held next summer or fall. Realizing a Transformation The previous workshop identified the existence of a multi-disciplined community interested in this topic and established a consensus among the participants that opportunities to establish further collaborations in this area were warranted. A direct outcome of the first workshop was the resolution to conduct a series of workshops — augmented by online virtual technical seminars — to strengthen the TVF community and to continue planning for advocacy and collaboration. The second workshop organizers focused on four desired action-oriented outcomes. The first was to establish and document common stakeholder needs and areas of potential collaborations. This includes advocacy strategies to encourage the future success of unconventional Vertiport-capable flight concept solutions that are enabled by emerging technologies. The second was to assemble a community that can collaborate on new conceptual …