Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Gary Gress is the founder of Athena Aero. Gress has had an interest in aviation from a very young age and has been building various inertial bicopter models for years. His goal is to build a one (1) passenger all-electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) working aircraft which will eventually lead to commercial production.
His goal is to make an eVTOL aircraft allowing people to have the freedom to fly where they want to go, without having the constraints and delays which come from traveling on roads.
The pictures below are from EAA AirVenture held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA, held July 22–28, 2019. (EAA = Experimental Aircraft Association.) Notice that his eVTOL aircraft uses vectored thrust for take-off, cruising and landing, that is, the propellers are used for both vertical lift and for cruising in forward flight. Looking at the picture of the eVTOL aircraft with the greatest angle (2nd row, 1st column), you’ll notice a slot in the fuselage for the arm of the propeller to move, allowing the propeller to adjust itself for vertical lift or for forward cruise flight.
In December 2020, it was revealed that the design of the aircraft had undergone some significant changes. This new design incorporates a curved lifting surface above and a canard in front of each propeller. This design increases both the safety of the aircraft and the lift produced in hover. The pilot's seat was also moved further from the propellers in an effort to enhance safety during operation. These changes resulted in a measured improvement of the craft's performance in simulations, and Gress now plans to increase the propeller blade number in order to further improve the aircraft's speed and reduce noise generated.
It looks like sub-scale flight testing has already taken place according to one of the pictures shown at his trade show booth at EAA AirVenture 2019, shown below. Gress has multiple online aviation related papers which are listed below with links to them, in the “Resources” section below.
- Gary Gress Facebook
- Athena Aero, Gary Gress LinkedIn
- 10 Papers: Gary Gress, University of Calgary
- Thesis: Passive Stabilization of VTOL Aircraft Having Obliquely Tilting Propellers, Gary Gress, Sep. 2014
- Paper: Bench test of bicopter utilizing passive stabilization concept, Gary Gress, 2015
- Article: AHS Supports GoFly!, Vertiflite, Nov/Dec 2017
- Article: Meet the Teams: Introducing Team Athena Aero, From Calgary, Canada, GoFly Prize, Oct. 16, 2018
- Article: Oshkosh e-AirVenture, Vertiflite, Sep/Oct 2019
- Article: Flying Solo: GoFly Advances Single-Passenger Air Mobility Solutions, Vertiflite, May/June 2019
- Article: GoFly Inspires Innovation, Vertiflite, May/June 2020
- Article: GoFly Teams Prepare to Fly Again, Vertiflite, Nov/Dec 2020