Ascendance Flight Technologies
Ascendance Flight Technologies was co-founded in January 2018 by four (4) former members of the E-Fan team from Airbus, Jean-Christophe Lambert (CEO), Benoit Ferran (CTO), Thibault Baldivia (Head of Operations) and Clement Dinel (Head of Propulsion). The E-Fan was one of the world’s first electric aircraft program that achieved the historic first Channel crossing by an electric plane in July 2015. Ascendance is now working on opening the sky to the urban and suburban aerial mobility.
The idea to create the hybrid-electric VTOL airplane came from the founders realizing the importance of hybrid electric technologies when working at Airbus and how newer technologies would allow traveling to be safer, quieter and a better user experience.
The company’s Atea hybrid-electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) air taxi will be an innovative, safe, low noise, clean, have low operational costs, a long range and will easily integrate into existing aviation infrastructure and regulations. Their goal is to have it flying by 2024-2025.
Atea has a total of three (3) lift fans powered by electric motors, a fan in each wing and a fan in the nose of the aircraft. There is a conventional propeller in the front of the plane powered by a turbine engine. The plane can take-off and land vertically or land like a conventional airplane, if needed. When the aircraft is flying, the turbine engine charges the batteries for vertical take-offs and landings. The Atea holds three (3) passengers and one (1) pilot, with an expected cruise speed of 200 km/h (124 mph) and a range of 150 km (93 miles).
The company’s first product will be a cutting-edge vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft and will offer best in class endurance, speed, payload, safety and performance, based on their unique and patented hybrid propulsion system, VTOL fans and aircraft type. They plan to market the Atea as an air taxi, rescue and cargo vehicle. The company’s sub-scale prototype first flight occurred in 2018. The company is in the process of designing a full-scale prototype which is expected to take two (2) years to make.
The Atea aircraft will blend into existing infrastructures with a low noise signature and low operational costs to make urban, intercity, and regional air mobility a reality, without having to revolutionize the urban landscape says the company. The company cites that infrastructure and air regulations are two key factors which are needed before urban air mobility is commonplace. Ascendance Flight Technologies’ goal for the first commercial flight is 2024-2025. The company is currently hiring.
- Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric VTOL airplane
- Pilot: 1 pilot
- Autonomous: Future goal by 2030
- Capacity: 1 pilot, 3 passengers
- Cruise speed goal: 200 km/h (124 mph)
- Range goal: 150 km (93 miles)
- Payload 450 kg (992 lbs)
- Gross weight: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb)
- Turn around time on ground: 10 minutes
- Propulsion for forward flight: 1 nose-mounted propeller using a turbine engine for forward flight
- Propulsion for vertical take-off and landing: 3 lift fans powered by 3 electric motors using battery packs for low-noise take-off and landing. The VTOL fans are located in wings and forward fuselage.
- Batteries: Used for vertical take-off and landing and charged during forward flight with the turbine engine.
- Wing configuration: High main wing, low set tail
- Landing gear: Tricycle wheeled landing gear
- Safety features: Redundant electric propulsion, flight controls and can land conventionally on a runway if VTOL system isn’t working
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- Article: Reach For The Sky, The Future of Transportation Executive Briefing 2019, Fall 2019
- Article: Ascendance Flight Technologies imagines a new type of air transport, Air & Cosmos, Sept. 18, 2019
- Video: Ascendance Flight Technologies is working on a flying taxi project, BFM Business, Mar. 9, 2019