Manhattan Beach, California, USA
Based on Los Angeles, California, USA, Aerofex was founded in 2008 by Mark De Roche to make small, affordable aircraft for personal and commercial flight that is extremely intuitive to fly, has high reliability, has redundant systems and is safer to fly than current aircraft we have today. The first prototype had a gasoline engine but now the company states all their aircraft can have multiple power sources, from gas, hybrid-electric, fuel cells or all-electric power by batteries.
Aerofex has designed at least four unique aircraft models for their Aero-X vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft and each model can be outfitted with specialized gear specific to the mission of the aircraft. There are models for personal flight, air racing, firefighting, search and rescue and more. Common features of each model are the airframe and tandem propellers, and the passenger or cargo area located in the center of the aircraft. The company believes fewer larger ducted propellers are more efficient than multiple small propellers. The passenger model has either car type seating or seating similar to riding a motorcycle.
The Aero-X Nautical model is unique because of its ability to land in water. This type of specialized design will allow many aerial applications such as water sports, life guard rescue, marine exploration and more. The aircraft has two pontoons centered on each side of the aircraft. Many aircraft from planes to helicopters have successfully used pontoons to land in water and the Aero-X Nautical model is poised to have the same success.
The ducted propellers use stiff carbon-fiber ducts that are lightweight and tilt – resolving the weight and drag issues usually associated with shrouds. The primary duct structure on the Aero-X is over six feet in diameter and weighs less than seven pounds. The duct platform utilizes a servo-driven control system that allows direct control of all six degrees of freedom.
The company states that having an all-electric control system allows the aircraft to have the latest flight controllers and drone technology. Without mechanical linkages between the airframe and controls, tilting the ducts become a more feasible means to reduce momentum drag and increase forward speed. Aerofex designs and fabricates propellers developed specifically for ducted applications.
The aircraft can fly with a single engine or two for redundancy. Electric aircraft offers environmental benefits and simpler architectures. Battery energy density is quickly developing to the point where useful electric flight will become a reality and Aerofex intends to take advantage of this.
For piloting, the pilot controls place pitch, roll, yaw and thrust in the hand grips and enables full vehicle control with only one hand and the pilot's feet are free. Unlike a helicopter, the pilot's interface is intuitive and modeled loosely on a bicycle or motorcycle, you move the handle bars in the direction you wish to go.
The company expects their final production models to fit comfortably inside a garage, driveway and standard parking spaces.
Aerofex's Aero-X eVTOL aircraft has multi-mission capabilities such as Urban Air Mobility (air taxi service), infrastructure mapping, exploration and surveys, pipeline inspection, agriculture, crop dusting, herd management, search and rescue, medevac, firefighting, disaster relief, border patrol, unexploded ordinance detection, air racing and more.
- Aircraft type: eVTOL, hybrid-electric VTOL, fuel cells or an all petroleum based powered VTOL aircraft which can land in water
- Piloting: 1 pilot
- Capacity: 1 or 2 passengers
- Payload: 309 lb (140 kg)
- Cruise speed: 45 mph (72 km/h)
- Range: Unknown
- Flight Time: Unknown
- Propellers: 2 propellers
- Electric Motors: 2 electric motors
- Power source: Can use multiple power sources depending upon the customer's needs
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Cockpit: Open cockpit
- Landing gear: Two fixed pontoons
- Aerofex website
- Aerofex Twitter
- Aerofex YouTube Channel
- Video: Tandem-Duct Aerial Demonstrator, Aerofex, July 13, 2012
- Article: California company Aerofex accepting preorders for $85,000 hoverbikes, Ars Technica, May 21, 2014
- Article: Aero-X Hoverbike – The Ultimate Off-Road Flying Motorcycle, SIA Magazin, Nov. 11, 2018