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Happy Takeoff Prism

Happy Takeoff Prism, hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft.

 

Prism
Happy Takeoff
Wichita, Kansas, USA
www.happytakeoff.com 

Happy Takeoff (HTO) was founded in 2019 by Danielle McLean, CEO; Rachel Locks, COO; and Dominique McLean, CTO; to make urban air mobility (UAM) clean, efficient and affordable. Darold Cummings, President of consulting company ForzAero, is the aircraft designer. The company's core value is that the planet is most important, works with business partners that are not contributing to green house gases emissions and to foster innovation.

In mid-2020, HTO unveiled its its CitiFlex hydrogen electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft (since discontinued). The company published a white paper on hydrogen for eVTOL on Aug. 7, 2020. 

On Sept. 2, 2020, HTO unveiled its much more refined design, Prism, at the VFS 3rd Workshop on eVTOL Infrastructure for UAM. The company is in the process of designing the full-scale production prototype, expected to hold six passengers and have a 380 mile (612 km) flight range. At program launch, HTO was in the process of developing a remote controlled sub-scale hydrogen-electric VTOL aircraft, with plans to start flight tests by March 2021.

Happy Takeoff has chosen a hydrogen-electric power source for its aircraft because they have projected, conservatively, the cost of flying VTOL aircraft powered by fuel cells, including the costs of all support facilities, would be one-third less than the cost of flying with an all battery-powered eVTOL aircraft.

HTO points out that because the energy density of batteries is still too low and battery-only eVTOL aircraft will need to be recharged or batteries swapped out many times throughout the day, eVTOL manufacturers or air taxi companies will need to build many expensive recharging stations. Since fewer recharging stations will be needed to be built to resupply hydrogen fuel cell powered VTOL aircraft, the cost per flight with Happy Takeoff's aircraft, will be less than flying in an all-battery powered eVTOL aircraft. 

The company also intends to convince Uber that hydrogen-electric VTOL aircraft should be included in their Uber Elevate strategy. The company plans to raise $5.2 million USD to launch a subsidiary company in Hungary and has applied for funding through the Agility Prime program (U.S. Air Force) and is seeking an additional $5 million USD in financing. 

Besides its utility as an urban flying air taxi, the company sees the Prism aircraft as being useful as an air ambulance service, search and rescue, firefighting, medical logistics, disaster response, consumers and for government use. 

Specifications:

  • Aircraft type: Full-scale Prism, hydrogen-electric VTOL aircraft
  • Piloting: Unknown
  • Capacity: 6 passengers 
  • Cruise speed: Unknown 
  • Gross weight: approx. 5,000 lb (2,267 kg)
  • Overall length: 27 ft (8 m)
  • Fuselage width: 7 ft (2 m)
  • Expected range: 380 miles (612 km)
  • Wingspan (full): 34 ft (10 m)
  • Wingspan (folded): 20 ft (6 m)
  • 6-ft (1.8-m) diameter 3-bladed propeller
  • 10 ft (3-m) diameter lift propellers
  • Maximum payload: 1,200 lb (544 kg)
  • Propellers: 8 VTOL propellers, 1 pusher-propeller
  • Electric Motors: 9
  • Windows: Large windows for forward, left and right visibility for spectacular views for passengers.
  • Wings: High wing design with booms on each side of the wings with the VTOL propellers
  • Landing gear: Fixed wheeled landing gear
  • Safety Features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft. 

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