Guardian 103 (prototype)
Aura Aerospace LLC
San Francisco, California, USA
Aura Aerospace was founded in August 2020 and is headquartered in San Francisco, California, USA. The company has a passion for high performance large all-electric drone technology, used for heavy-lift air cargo applications. The company is in the process of designing and manufacturing electric vertical takeoff and landing passenger multicopter aircraft for advanced aerial mobility (AAM).
The development program for the company started in 2018 with designing and building a ⅛ subscale demonstrator quadcopter that took to the air in 2018, to validate the technology and materials which will ultimately be used for production models. The next demonstrator was a ¼ scale quadcopter which successfully flew in 2019. In 2020, a third ultralight one passenger multicopter prototype was designed, built and flown which had 12 VTOL propellers.
Guardian eVTOL Platform Program:
- 2018: ⅛ scale demonstrator (quadcopter)
- 2019: ¼ scale demonstrator (quadcopter)
- 2020: Ultralight crewed prototype (dodecacopter - 12 propellers)
- 2021: Ultralight production model, G1 (pusher dodecacopter - 12 VTOL propellers, 1 pusher propeller)
- 2022: Full scale three passenger model
The company has also developed its own battery pack for their aircraft called the Aura Powercell. The Aura Powercell is also sold commercially to private and business customers. The company developed their own power cell because eVTOL aircraft need a burst of energy for takeoffs and landings and also need long-duration power for a useful flight range. The Aura Powercell has high-capacity ultracapacitors which provide large quantities of energy instantly for aircraft and other applications, yet requires minimal time for recharging.
Aura Aerospace has revealed their powercell will not burn, is very safe to use, is 90% recyclable and uses zero cobalt. The company states the Aura Powercell can be used for many applications such as: Satellite power, ion propulsion, electric aviation, eVTOL aircraft, directed energy (like flash lights), for audio (speakers), ebikes, high-performance electric vehicles (EV) and off-grid power.
The main aircraft goals for the company is to manufacture a very safe aircraft, one that is extremely reliable and uses high powered battery packs. The company noted that flying subscale remote controlled aircraft without a test pilot is very safe. Once a test pilot is used for subscale or full scale prototypes, the company recommends to fly the aircraft extensively, tethered to the ground, and at full throttle to ensure the aircraft's electronics and airframe can handle the stresses an aircraft has while flying in the real world.
The Guardian 103 prototype is a one passenger eVTOL multicopter aircraft used to validate the electronics, placement of propellers and its fuselage. The cruise speed, flight range and flight time of the aircraft is unknown. The aircraft has 12 propellers on the aircraft. There are canard struts on the aircraft, the front struts are located on the front bottom of the aircraft and the rear propeller struts are located at the rear top portion of the fuselage. The picture above shows 10 of the propellers and you can see how some of the propellers are placed on the propeller struts. But because the picture is of the rear of the aircraft, it is unknown where all the propellers are placed on aircraft.
The aircraft has a canopy over the cockpit providing excellent views for the test pilot. The aircraft's canopy has a similar look to a Cobra attack helicopter's canopy. The cockpit takes up almost all of the inside of the fuselage. The design of the aircraft has mostly angular lines and the propellers have no safety guards around them. There is no landing gear as the aircraft sits on the bottom of its own fuselage.
In 2021, the company began flight testing its one passenger multicopter production model called the Guardian G1. Aura Aerospace expects to test the Guardian G2, a three passenger eVTOL multicopter production model, by the end of 2022.
- Aircraft type: eVTOL passenger prototype aircraft
- Piloting: 1 pilot
- Cruise speed: Unknown
- Range: Unknown
- Flight time: Unknown
- Cruise altitude: Unknown
- Propellers: 12 propellers
- Electric motors: 12 electric motors
- Power source: Battery packs
- Fuselage: Extruded aluminum airframe, polycarbonate cabin
- Window: Canopy over cockpit
- Landing gear: The aircraft sits on its airframe
- 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. There are also redundancies in the sub-systems of the aircraft.
- Aura Aerospace LLC website
- Aura Aerospace LLC YouTube Channel
- Aura Aerospace LLC LinkedIn
- Article: Aura Aerospace announces ‘breakthrough’ eVTOL power cell, DroneDJ, Feb. 15, 2021
- Article: Aura Aerospace pitches Powercell ultracapacitor powertrains for eVTOL, New Atlas, Feb. 18, 2021
- Video: Aura Aerospace Powercell Demonstration, Aura Aerospace, Feb. 15, 2021
- Video: Guardian 103 Prototype, Aura Aerospace, Apr. 23, 2021
- Video: Thrust:Mass Accurate 1/4 Scale Demonstrator, Aura Aerospace, Apr. 29, 2021