Esprit Aeronautics Limited
Covent Garden, London, United Kingdom
In October 2018, Esprit Aeronautics Limited was formed in the United Kingdom. Esprit Aeronautics Limited is developing a one (1) passenger Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft called the Lancer ePAV (PAV = Personal Air Vehicle) which will have the option of being all-electric or a hybrid electric aircraft. Esprit Aeronautics is also seeking investors to make a working prototype and develop their aircraft(s) for commercial and military production.
Before October 2018, the company was under another name and has used their previous aircraft, the PAV-UL ultralight, as a base to revise and redesign the new Lancer ePAV aircraft. A historical record of the PAV-UL ultralight specifications and graphics are highlighted on the PAV-X PAV-UL Ultralight "eVTOL News" website.
Many years before the hundreds of eVTOL aircraft inventors formed their companies, many sketches, ideas, concepts and designs for personal VTOL aircraft where explored by the owner of Esprit Aeronautics. He took the front cover of Flight International in February 2005 with a story called Drive to the Skies, followed in November 2008 with the front cover of Popular Science with the story titled Hybrid of the Sky.
For more information on other aircraft developed by Espirit Aeronautics, see the Esprit Aeronautics Heavy Lift Cargo Utility Platform aircraft page.
Then in 2009, tethered tests were performed by Esprit lifting a 50 kg (110 lbs) payload at a height of 500 m (1,640 ft) ASL (above sea level) and in wind speeds of up to 20 knots (37 km/h, 23 mph). In 2018, a 60% scale twelve (12) rotor eVTOL Proof Of Concept (POC) was being tested to carry out small scale parachute drops tests.
The single seat Lancer ePAV is based around a tried and tested frame construction which includes a unique form of stability/control technology unique in current eVTOL designs. A future dual seat Lancer ePAV is also planned.
Several key design elements can be noted with this aircraft. A wing is used to extend the flight range of the aircraft. A unique form of stability/control technology has been developed for this aircraft. The propulsion system is interchangeable between all electric or hybrid-electric and can be changed out within a matter of minutes. Finally, an extremely safe emergency parachute system has been made for this aircraft.
At the end of 2018 the basic testing of a scaled parachute safety system was completed and its relevant patent filed. It is a low altitude safe recovery system that at a minimum height of 100 ft (~30 m) AGL (above ground level). Multiple smaller parachutes are used for redundancy and open faster. For redundancy, if one parachute fails to open, only two are actually needed for a safe landing, and for speed, smaller parachutes open much faster allowing for a low altitude emergency landing to take place, if necessary.
Military parachutists drop a heavy rucksack (a military grade backpack) below them on a cord to reduce impact forces on their legs & back during landing. When the ePAV parachute is deployed, it releases its battery packs on custom shock straps below the air-frame to reduce the impact of the aircraft when landing on the ground and in addition, this also removes any fire risks due to any unforeseen battery problem.
Components for the aircraft are being made as of July 2019. Esprit Aeronautics is open to selling or leasing the aircraft depending upon market demand. Their goal is to have three working prototypes ready airframes in time for the Farnborough Airshow in 2020.
Lancer ePAV Specifications:
- Seats: 1
- Capacity: Up to 120 kg (264 lbs)
- Flight computer: Semi-autonomous flight control reduces pilot workload
- Propellers: 8
- Engines: 8 (30 kw) electric motors
- Power: Available in all-electric or hybrid-electric.
- Hybrid-electric generation: Custom 60 kw gen-set designed and tested in the UK.
- Wing: 1 high wing
- Maximum Speed: VNE: 145 km/h (90 mph)
- Endurance: Battery: 32 min. Hybrid: 1 hr. 40 min.
- Batteries: Dual, Independent energy storage packs, custom built for the aircraft.
- Unique Emergency Recovery Parachute System (Works at 100 ft/30 m.)
- Applications: Personal commuting, pleasure flights, first responders and military options for range border security to reconnaissance.