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 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 …
TriFan 600 XTI Aircraft Company Englewood, Colorado, USA http://www.xtiaircraft.com/ “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. Additionally, it was announced Trek Aerospace would partner on this project, providing top-of-the-line fans, extending the aircraft’s maximum range and increasing endurance. Resources: Search eVTOL news posts XTI Aircraft website XTI Aircraft page on StartEngine Press Release: XTI Aircraft Refines its TriFan 600 VTOL Bizjet, XTI Aircraft, March 5 2018 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 Video: XTI Aircraft Introduces Trifan 600, The Auto Channel, August 26, 2015 Tags: XTI, Vectored Thrust, Initial Design, 6 Passengers, Electric Hybrid, Piloted, VFS Member
eVTOL Corporate Members Our corporate members have an unprecedented opportunity to network and engage with all levels of the rotorcraft technical community, including industry, academia, and government. A³ Vahana AgustaWestland Project Zero (defunct) Airbus CityAirbus AirspaceX MOBi Aurora eVTOL Aurora LightningStrike (defunct) Bartini Flying Car Bell Air Taxi Boeing Cargo Aerial Vehicle Carter Air Taxi Joby Lotus (defunct) Joby S2 (defunct) Joby S4 Karem Butterfly Kitty Hawk Cora Kitty Hawk Flyer Kitty Hawk Flyer (defunct prototype) Lilium Jet Piasecki eVTOL Pipistrel (unnamed) Pop.Up Next Rolls-Royce EVTOL Sikorsky Firefly (defunct) Sikorsky VERT Terrafugia TF-2 Lift + Push Terrafugia TF-2 Tiltrotor Terrafugia TF-X Urban Aeronautics CityHawk Volocopter 2X Volocopter VC1/VC2 (defunct prototypes) Volocopter VC200 XTI Aircraft TriFan 600 Zee Aero Z-P2 Zenith Altitude EOPA Don’t see your company on this list? Join as a corporate member!
Piloted All eVTOL aircraft that operate with a pilot Aeroxo LV ERA Aviabike AgustaWestland Project Zero (defunct) Airbus CityAirbus Alauda Airspeeder Aquinea Volta Assen A1 Aston Martin Volante Astro AA360 (Passenger Drone) Avianovations Hepard Bay Zoltán Flike Carter Aviation Air Taxi chAIR Multicopter Dekatone Flying Car Dufour aEro 2 EAC Whisper Electric Jet EJ-1 Embraer DreamMaker Flexcraft FlytCycle Georgia Tech HummingBuzz Gravity X Hero Flyer Hi-Lite Lynx-us HopFlyt Venturi Hoversurf Scorpion JAXA Hornisse Jetpack Aviation Joby Aviation S4 Kalashnikov (unnamed) Kármán XK-1 Kenyan Passenger Drone Kitty Hawk Flyer Kitty Hawk Flyer (defunct prototype) Leap Vantage Malloy Hoverbike ManDrone Moller Skycar M200 Moller Skycar M400 Napoleon Aero VTOL NASA Puffin Neva AirQuadOne NUS Snowstorm Opener BlackFly Penn State University Blue Sparrow Ray Research Dart Flyer Ray VTOL Aircraft Sikorsky Firefly (defunct) Silverwing S1 Scoop Pegasus 1 Sky-Hopper Solution F Supervolant Pegasus Swarm Multicopter Terrafugia TF-2 Lift + Push Terrafugia TF-2 Tiltrotor Terrafugia TF-X teTra 3 Texas A&M University Harmony Tier 1 Robinson R44 Transcend Air Vy 400 Trek Aerospace FlyKart 2 University of Kansas Mamba Urban Aeronautics CityHawk Vickers WAVE eVTOL Volocopter VC1/VC2 (defunct prototypes) Workhorse SureFly XTI Aircraft TriFan 600 View all pages with the tag “Piloted”
Electric Hybrid All eVTOL aircraft that utilize both electricity and fossil fuels Aergility ATLIS aeroG Aviation aG-4 Assen A1 Aston Martin Volante Aurora LightningStrike (defunct) AutoFlightX BAT600 Axix SkyRider SuvA Bell Air Taxi Davinci ZeroG Dufour aEro 2 Flexcraft Jetoptera J2000 Joby Aviation Lotus (defunct) Moller Skycar M200 Moller Skycar M400 PAV-X PAV-X Ultralight Ray VTOL Aircraft Rolls-Royce EVTOL Sabrewing Draco-2 UAS Samad Starling Jet Terrafugia TF-2 Lift + Push Terrafugia TF-2 Tiltrotor Terrafugia TF-X VerdeGo Aero PAT200 Vickers WAVE eVTOL Vimana AAV VTOL Aviation Abhiyaan Workhorse SureFly XTI Aircraft TriFan 600 View all pages with the tag “Electric Hybrid”
6 Passengers All eVTOL aircraft that carry six passengers Bell Air Taxi Carter Aviation Air Taxi Pipistrel (unnamed) Transcend Air Vy 400 XTI Aircraft TriFan 600 View all pages with the tag “6 Passengers”
Initial Design All eVTOL aircraft that are still mock-ups aeroG Aviation aG-4 AeroMobil 5.0 Aeroxo ERA Aviabike AirisOne AirspaceX MOBi Assen A1 Aston Martin Volante AutoFlightX BAT600 Autonomous Flight Y6S Avianovations Hepard Axix SkyRider SuvA Bell Air Taxi Carter Aviation Air Taxi Dekatone (unnamed) Digi Robotics DroFire Digi Robotics Droxi Embraer DreamMaker EVA X01 Flexcraft Georgia TechHummingBuzz Hi-Lite Lynx-us HoverSurf Drone Taxi R-1 HoverSurf Scorpion Jetpack Aviation (unnamed) Joby Aviation S2 (defunct) Karem Butterfly KARI PAV Kármán XK-1 Leap Vantage Napoleon Aero VTOL NASA Puffin Neoptera eOpter Neva Aerospace AirQuadOne PAV-UL Ultralight PAV-X Penn State University Blue Sparrow Piasecki eVTOL Pipistrel (unnamed) Pop.Up Next Rolls-Royce EVTOL Sabrewing Draco-2 Scoop Pegasus 1 Sikorsky VERT Silverwing S1 Skypod Aerospace Skypod Supervolant Pegasus Terrafugia TF-2 Lift + Push Terrafugia TF-2 Tiltrotor Terrafugia TF-X teTra 3 Texas A&M University Harmony University of Kansas Mamba Vickers WAVE eVTOL VRCO NeoXCraft Vision VTOL VTOL Aviation Abhiyaan XTI Aircraft Trifan 600 Zenith Altitude EOPA View all pages with the tag “Initial Design”
Vectored Thrust An eVTOL aircraft that uses any of its thrusters for lift and cruise A³ Vahana aeroG Aviation aG-4 AgustaWestland Project Zero AirisOne AirspaceX MOBi Aston Martin Volante 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 Lotus (defunct) Joby Aviation S2 (defunct) Joby Aviation S4 Karem Butterfly KARI PAV Lilium Jet Moller Skycar M200 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) Vision VTOL VTOL Aviation Abhiyaan XTI Aircraft Trifan 600 Zenith Altitude EOPA Not what you’re looking for? Check out our listing of all eVTOL aircraft!
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 …