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Carter Aviation Air Taxi (defunct)

Carter Aviation Air Taxi

 

Carter Air Taxi (defunct)
Carter Aviation Technologies
Wichita Falls, Texas, USA
www.carteraero.com

Carter Aviation Technologies is an advanced aircraft design company that pioneered Slowed Rotor Compound (SRC) flight. SRC combines the speed and efficiency of an airplane with the vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) of a helicopter. Carter has validated SRC technology on flying demonstrators and is the only company that has slowed the rotor in flight to an advance ratio greater than one. SRC enables elegant, efficient, high-speed VTOL aircraft without the complexities of other VTOL concepts.

The Carter Air Taxi was developed as an early electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) concept to meet the Uber Elevate requirements and other Urban Air Mobility (UAM) missions. The eventual configuration was a single, 45 ft (13.7 m) main rotor with four 60 in (152.4 cm) propellers on the wings. The wing propellers provided counter-torque to the rotor for takeoff and landing and forward thrust in cruise flight when the main rotor was slowed to 100 rpm.

The vehicle's drive train will power a 13.7 m (44 ft, 11 in) vertical propeller for VTOL flight and four horizontal propellers on the 12.75 m (41 ft, 10 in) fixed wing which will counter rotor torque through differential thrust for hover accents and landings. The four propellers can then use forward thrust when the vertical rotor will go into an auto-gyro mode and slow to 100 rpm as the Air Taxi can reach speeds of up to 281 km/h (175 mph). It has a weight of 1,996 kg (4,400 lb), a 599 kg (1,321 lb) battery pack and a 499 kg (1,100 lb) useful payload for a total weight of 2,495 kg (5,501 lb). The aircraft is electric although a hybrid-electric gas turbine option will be developed to extend the vehicle's range and open additional markets.

The aircraft can carry one pilot and five passengers or a two pilot, four passenger, variant is possible for training purposes. The auto-gyro would function like a parachute (even at very low altitudes) for emergency landings coupled with extreme energy-absorbing landing gear. Carter employed a rotor noise expert to analyze the noise signature to meet Uber's stringent noise requirements. The aircraft will barely exceed normal background noise for people below.

An earlier version capable of powered hovering and a swivel tail-rotor to provide anti-torque was announced at the 2017 Uber Elevate Summit. At the Vertical Flight Society’s Annual Forum in May 2018, Carter unveiled a new configuration removing the swiveling tail in favor of the four electric motor-driven propellers on a longer wing. The Carter Air Taxi will be used primarily for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and shorter passenger hops. It was designed to meet the specifications of the Uber Elevate mission.

In 2019, all intellectual property pertaining to Slowed Rotor Compound technology was acquired by Jaunt Air Mobility LLC. A November 2020 Jaunt Air Mobility and Carter Aviation highlight video is here online. Jaunt was selected as an Uber Air Taxi partner in June 2019. Now that Jaunt has acquired Carter's IP, they have continued to mature and improve the concept in their Jaunt Journey.

Specifications:

  • Aircraft type: eVTOL passenger aircraft
  • Piloting: 1 or 2 pilots
  • Capacity: 1 pilot and 5 passengers; or 2 pilots and 4 passengers
  • Cruise speed: 175 mph (282 kp/h)
  • Range: 60 miles (97 km)
  • Cruise altitude: 1,000-2,000 ft (305-610 m)
  • Useful load: 1,100 lb (499 kg)
  • Gross weight: 5,500 lb (2,495 kg)
  • Empty weight without batteries: 3,080 lb (1,397 kg)
  • Battery weight: 1,320 lb (599 kg)
  • Battery recharging time: 5 minutes
  • Wing span: 42 ft (12.8 m)
  • Rotor diameter: 45 ft (13.7 m)
  • Fuselage length: 39.4 ft (12 m)
  • Landing gear: Retractable landing gear
  • Safety features: Can land by autorotation

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