RPV (Remoted Piloted Vehicle)
Flexcraft (Flexible Aircraft) is a company which designs several types of VTOL aircraft with a variety of energy sources such as hybrid-electric to fuel cells. The company partners with mostly Portuguese based companies including Almadesign, the Technical University of Lisbon’s Instituto Superior Técnico, the Institute of Mechanic Engineering and Industrial Management at the University of Porto, Simultaneous Engineering Technology S.A., Embraer Compósitos and with Embraer S.A.
The Flexcraft Remote Piloted Vehicle (RPV) is a hybrid-electric vertical and/or short take-off and landing (V/STOL) main wing concept aircraft designed in 2019, for Urban Air Mobility (UAM), cargo transport and Search and Rescue (SAR) operations. It is a clean sheet design with flexibility built into the aircraft from the very beginning of the design process allowing the aircraft to provide multiple missions with the use of detachable passenger, medical, cargo pods and other types pods can be used, depending upon the mission of the flight.
Flexcraft's proposition is that using a passenger-only VTOL aircraft or cargo-only VTOL aircraft will not make a company as profitable because when any of their passenger aircraft are not in use, the company is not making money. However, using an aircraft with interchangeable pods will provide any company a competitive advantage because the company can purchase less main wings (RPVs) but at the same time, use the vehicles on a 24 hours basis, keeping a steady revenue stream coming into the business.
For example, during off-peak times when passengers are not traveling, such as late at night, the aircraft would normally have downtime, and no revenue is being generated for the company. However, a company using a Flexcraft aircraft could provide passenger service during the day and offer cargo service at night and make more profit because the aircraft is being used on a 24 hour basis.
This V/STOL concept aircraft is a very modern air-streamed design with each pod having its own retractable landing gear. The purpose of this design is to show the ability to make such an aircraft and its practicality in real world scenarios. The company has now designed the Flexcraft RPV, the Flexcraft Utility Concept, the Flexcraft VERA and the Flexcraft VERA II.
- Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric V/STOL main wing (with detachable passenger and cargo pods)
- Piloting: Remotely Piloted (or Remote Piloted Vehicle - RPV)
- Pod types: Air taxi, cargo transport, search and rescue (SAR)
- Passenger pod windows: Has large windows for a spectacular views and a better flight experience
- Propellers: 4 propellers
- Motors: 4 motors
- Energy source: Hybrid-electric
- Wing: High wing design
- Tail: Twin tail boom with inverted U tail
- Landing gear: The wing can land with or without a pod. Each pod has its own landing gear.