London, England, United Kingdom
In September 2017, Bret Lessard founded rFlight and is the lead project manager of the company. The corporate office is based in London, England, United Kingdom and use a TE Connectivity lab space for their prototypes in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, California, USA. rFlight is a project from rLoop.
rFlight’s goal is to make a one (1) passenger autonomous Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft which then transitions easily from vertical flight (take off) to horizontal flight and the reverse. The goal of rFlight is to make an personal aircraft that anyone can fly or “the motorcycle of the sky”. (Graphic credit above: rFlight)
The aircraft has a has delta wing shape and takes off and lands vertically but then transitions to horizontal flight. The passenger is in an open-air cockpit wearing a helmet with a visor which covers the person’s entire head (like a motorcycle helmet) and there is a harness which holds the person in the cockpit during all phases of flight. However, no mention has been made yet to any emergency equipment should the motors fail or the passenger needs to bail out for any reason.
The aircraft is currently powered by an internal combustion engine and the team is looking into all-electric propulsion as well. At the tail of the vehicle, there are two tandem propellers shrouded in ducted housings next to each other. The number of propellers in each ducted fan has not been mentioned by the team. The N217RL model has only one (1) ducted fan system in the rear of the aircraft for propulsion as compared to the rFlight rWing model with two (2) ducted fans in the rear for propulsion.
Air rushing past your body and the vehicle not in your line of sight creates a truly unique flight experience – a recreational vehicle for the bold and the adventurous. A motorcycle for the sky.
Power from a 104 kW two-stroke engine drives a custom configuration of propellers, designed to minimize noise signature by allowing only one blade to cross at any time rather than multiple simultaneous crossings typical in a standard configuration.
The team states that the delta wing features a uniquely designed leading edge fixed slat and Hoerner wing tips to increase efficiency while in cruise, differentiating it from a more conventional quadcopter-inspired design which is inefficient in forward flight, as well as limited fixed airfoil designs such as canard and rectangular wing forms.
The N217RL is being billed as an innovative vertical takeoff and landing Personal Adventure Vehicle (PAV), designed for safety, efficiency, and performance. The N217RL model is a competition vehicle and technology demonstrator that has been optimized for the Boeing-sponsored GoFly Prize and is now being built to fly in 2019.
- Search eVTOL news posts
- rFlight website
- rFlight N217RL web page
- Article: The GoFly Competition Will Put Humans in the Sky, Curiosity, Mar. 1, 2019
- Article: An Award-Winning Hyperloop Company Sets Its Sights on Human Flight, Curiosity, Mar. 1, 2019
- Article: Here’s Why So Many Breakthroughs Come Out of Big Competitions, Curiosity, Mar. 1, 2019
- Article: The Motorcycle Of The Sky, TE Connectivity, no date for article
- Article: Co-founder of rLoop, winners of the Innovation award at SpaceX Hyperloop competition, comes to Bucharest Technology Week, Business Review, May 14, 2018