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Ascendance Flight Technologies ATEA

ATEA hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft

 

ATEA
Ascendance Flight Technologies
Toulouse, Occitanie, France
www.ascendance-ft.com

Ascendance Flight Technologies was co-founded in January 2018 by four former members of the Airbus E-Fan team, 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 all-electric airplanes that flew across the English Channel by an electric plane on July 9, 2015. In September 2021, Ascendance Flight Technologies raised €10 million ($11.7 million) to support the development of the ATEA. The Ascendance Flight Technologies is currently hiring.

The idea to create the hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) airplane came from the founders after working on the Airbus E-Fan 2.0 two-seater all-electric prototype airplane when the project was cancelled in 2017. The founders left Airbus and created Ascendance Flight Technologies to create and manufacture a hybrid-electric airplane on their own. The goal of the company is to provide cleaner and safe aircraft for Regional Air Mobility (RAM) between two cities. This type of aircraft will also useful for inter-island flight and from city to rural areas as well.

We set-up Ascendance Flight Technologies with a very clear vision of what we wanted to achieve: to accelerate transition towards green aviation thanks to hybrid technology” says Jean-Christophe Lambert, co-founder and CEO.

The design of ATEA is the concrete reflection of our values, our experience and of our know-how. The aircraft we are presenting to you today is the result of huge efforts by our Research and Development Department, tests and trials on four prototypes and a great deal of thought on costs and the ease of flying such an aircraft.

The ATEA hybrid-electric VTOL production aircraft is a sleek and modern design holding five people (one pilot and four passengers) and has a spacious cabin providing a comfortable setting for its passengers. The VTOL aircraft also has a skyview cabin (large side windows and a ceiling window) for spectacular views and there is also room for luggage on the aircraft. The estimated cruise speed is 200 km/h (124 mph), has a projected range of 400 km (249 miles) and has a turn around time on the ground of 10 minutes.

The aircraft has canard wings with each wing having winglets to improve the efficiency of forward flight. ATEA has eight dedicated VTOL propellers or "fan-in-wing" technology (the propellers are inside its wings), and two propellers for forward flight. The propellers for forward (and reverse flight, when in VTOL flight) are located on the nose and the tail of the aircraft. The absence of pivoting mechanisms for its propellers reduces risk of failure, reduces the complexity of the aircraft, reduces the weight of the aircraft, reduces future maintenance costs, improves the overall safety of the aircraft and simplifies the aircraft’s certification.

The aircraft has been optimized for future air travel such as: air safety, comfort, societal environmental expectations to reduce climate change, to greatly reduce noise pollution, keep air travel costs down, have a long range, is able to use existing infrastructure for takeoff and landing and provides point-to-point travel as is allowable.

ATEA Passenger Benefits:

  • Fly Clean: The company's unique hybrid propulsion system uses a mix of kerosene and batteries for optimized fuel consumption, to fly cleaner with a reduction in carbon emissions of up to 80%. This is only the first step because the company's modular architecture is also compatible with near future hydrogen-powered aircraft or with Sustainable Aviation Fuel to eliminate all emissions in flight.
  • Fly Quiet: The integration of the vertical rotors in the wings with a disruptive duct shape and is powered by the company's hybrid-electric propulsion system brings a drastic improvement in the noise signature of the aircraft with four times less noise emissions than a helicopter. This noise reduction unlocks an entire new range of missions with flights closer to cities and in environments that were previously inaccessible due to noise constraints.
  • Fly Far: The aircraft has been designed to offer a sustainable alternative to conventional aviation while maintaining the same level of performance as current aircraft. The lift and cruise configuration with fixed-wings, ATEA can fly on regional or inter-city trips for up to two hours and with a range of over 400 km (249 miles).
  • Fly Safe: The aircraft is engineered to meet the same level of safety requirements as current conventional aviation while providing an additional level of safety by ensuring the capability to continue a safe flight and landing in the event of any single failure. The mix of two energy sources in the hybrid propulsion system also provides redundancy by design to further improve the safety and operational range of the aircraft.

Ascendance Flight Technologies states ATEA's emissions are reduced by 80% and the noise pollution of the aircraft is four times less than a helicopter. When you take all these factors into consideration, this aircraft will be able to fly into many city areas where helicopters are not allowed and therefore allowing Urban Air Mobility to become available to many more people within cities worldwide.

The company has developed its own hybrid-electric power source call STERNA. The hybrid-electric system consists of a kerosene combustion engine and battery packs. In the future, the company will phase out the kerosene combustion engines and replace them with hydrogen powered engines or use Sustainable Aviation Fuel. The company is willing to look at any power source option to reduce the carbon footprint of the aircraft while maintaining the ability of the aircraft to fly long-range flights.

Ascendance Flight Technologies plans to market the ATEA for air taxi service, tourism, medical emergencies, search and rescue, logistics, surveillance, government use, military use and for air cargo transportation.

In February 2022, the company signed a contract with a private aviation charter company, Yugo Global Industries based in Singapore, for a pre-order of 18 ATEA passenger aircraft. The company expects to deliver the aircraft in 2025.

The company's sub-scale prototype's first flight occurred in 2018. As of December 1, 2021, the company has stated it has performed many test flights with four different sub-scale prototypes. Ascendance Flight Technologies foresees the flight testing of their full-scale production prototype in 2023. The company's timetable expects serial production of the ATEA aircraft to begin in 2025.

Specifications:

  • Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft
  • Piloting: 1 pilot
  • Capacity: 5 seats (4 passengers and 1 pilot)
  • Cruise speed: 200 km/h (124 mph)
  • Range: 400 km (249 miles)
  • Maximum flight time: 2 hours
  • Turn around time on ground: 10 minutes
  • Maximum take-off weight: 2,000 kilograms (4,410 pounds)
  • Propellers: 10 propellers. 8 dedicated VTOL propellers. 2 dedicated forward flight propellers and can reverse if needed during VTOL flight. (1 propeller for forward flight is on the nose and 1 propeller for forward flight is located on the tail of the aircraft.)
  • Power source: Hybrid-electric. The hybrid engines are developed by the company. Batteries are used for VTOL flight and are charged during forward flight with the turbine engine.
  • Emissions: Emissions are reduced by 80%, according to the company
  • Noise: Noise pollution is 4 times less than a helicopter
  • Wing configuration: Canard wings
  • Tail: T-tail
  • Landing gear: Fixed tricycle wheeled landing gear
  • Safety features:Safety features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers (or ducted fans) and motors on the aircraft so if one or more propellers (ducted fans) or motors fail, the other working propellers (or ducted fans) and motors can safely land the aircraft. The aircraft has redundant electric propulsion, flight controls and can land conventionally on a runway if VTOL system isn't working.

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