Lindsay, Ontario, Canada
Horizon Aircraft, based in Canada, was co-founded in 2013 by Brandon Robinson, CEO and Jason O’Neill, COO. Horizon Aircraft is in the business of designing and building long-range hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft focusing on safety, practicality and operational flexibility.
The idea for the company's first hybrid-electric aircraft came about in 2008 when a client wanted a highly modified amphibious seaplane and Brian Robinson (Brandon's father) said how about building an entirely new seaplane? The company designed the Horizon X3 hybrid-electric seaplane that was made so if the aircraft ran out of gas (or the engine stopped working), an additional power source, a battery, could land the aircraft to safety. For this type of system to work correctly, they designed a combustion engine which could be decoupled, so that batteries could take over to power the electric motor turning the propeller. The Horizon X3 was eventually shelved but it allowed the company to transition into making its new hybrid-electric VTOL called the Cavorite X5.
As the eVTOL industry began to gain momentum, Horizon Aircraft decided to get into the game. The company wanted to make a useful aircraft which could do the work of a helicopter but could be faster, more efficient and safer. The name of the aircraft was decided to be the Cavorite X5 and the name is taken directly from 1901 H.G. Wells book, "The First Men in the Moon" Cavorite was the name a fictional metal, made up by H.G. Wells, which would cancel the effects of gravity and make a spaceship fly.
The Cavorite X5 is a sleek modern designed five passenger aircraft with a cruise speed of 215 mph (350 km/h) and has a range of 310 miles (500 km). The aircraft is powered by a gas engine which makes the power for its electric motors for VTOL and forward flight. For VTOL flight, each wing splits open in two sections, to reveal ducted fans and for vertical flight. For forward flight, the wings close over the fans and a the pusher propeller is used for forward flight. The aircraft has a forward sliding canopy for the pilot, gull wing doors for the passengers, a rear high wing and forward canard to extend the range of the aircraft and has tricycle retractable wheeled landing gear.
The ducted fans inside the wings is called a fan-in-wing system with patents-pending for the wing system. There are 16 ducted fans for the entire aircraft, 12 on the rear wings and four on the front canard wings. If the engine runs out of fuel or some type of mechanical failure occurs with the engine, there is is a battery pack which can continue to power all the electrical systems on the aircraft to land it safely. Also, the aircraft can land conventionally, if there is not enough power in the battery pack for a vertical landing.
Horizon Aircraft is working on a ⅙ sub-scale prototype to use to test its systems, software and for flight testing. The company then plans on making a ½ sub-scale prototype in late 2020.
The company sees the Cavorite X5 hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft as a normal airplane that's been augmented to provide additional layers of safety and additional operational flexibility. The company has also stated their aircraft could be built as normal airplane with regular wings and will simply be a very modern sleek new aircraft for the consumer.
The company foresees their investment will need to be in the $100 million dollar range before they could make the first sale of a production aircraft. The company's first selling goal is to sell their hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft as an experimental amateur built aircraft in the North American market by 2024. Then the company will go onto to producing a fully-made production aircraft.
The company sees the Cavorite X5 aircraft being used for air taxi service, Emergency Medical Service (EMS), disaster relief and air cargo transportation.
- Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric VTOL
- Piloting: 1 pilot
- Capacity: 4 passengers
- Cruise speed: 215 mph (350 km/h)
- Range: 310 miles (500 km)
- Ferry range (Extended range with no passengers or cargo): 625 miles (1,000 km)
- Propellers: 17 propellers. 16 ducted fans for VTOL flight in wings with covers, 1 pusher propeller for forward flight.
- Electric Motors: 17 or more. There are electric motors for the retractable landing gear, retractable ducted wing covering (possibly some to open/close the canopy and gull-wing doors)
- Power source: Hybrid-electric gas engine to create electricity for all electrical systems on-board, a back-up motor in case the main gas engine fails and there is also a battery pack system on-board
- Length: 38 ft (11.6 m)
- Height: 9.2 ft (2.8 m)
- Wingspan: 50.3 ft (15.3 m)
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Doors: Gull wing doors for passengers, sliding front canopy for pilot
- Windows: Panoramic windows with wrap around window design allowing forward, left, right and top visibility, for spectacular views
- Wings: A rear high forward swept main wing with winglets and a forward swept rearward canard with winglets, there are ducted fans in each wing, with retractable covers on each wing opening for VTOL flight and closing for forward flight
- Tail: V-tail with a specially designed airfoil shape
- Landing gear: Wheeled retractable 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. The aircraft can also land like an airplane if some or all VTOL ducted fans become unresponsive. Has one additional back-up engine in case of main engine failure.
- Horizon Aircraft website
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- Horizon Aircraft YouTube Channel
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- Horizon Aircraft LinkedIn
- Article: Hybrid-Electric Amphibious Horizon X2 Aircraft Seeks Investors, Aero News, July 17, 2015
- Article: Hybrid aircraft developer to bring up to 100 jobs to the Lindsay area, Kawartha 411, Dec. 14, 2018
- Video: How the aviation industry is going green, CBC, Jan. 2020
- Video: Meet our Cavorite X5 eVTOL, Horizon Aircraft, Jan. 22, 2021
- Article: Interview: Horizon presents its long-range Cavorite X5 hybrid eVTOL, New Atlas, Jan. 25, 2021
- Article: This eVTOL Has A Unique Closing Fan-In-Wing System That Lets It Flies Like Regular Airplane, Mike Shouts, Jan. 26, 2021
- Article: Horizon Aircraft Builds Hybrid eVTOL Test Prototype, Flying Magazine, Aug. 8, 2022
- Article: Horizon Breaks Free from Astro To Step Up Work on Cavorite eVTOL Aircraft, Future Flight, Aug. 8, 2022
- Article: INTERVIEW: Brandon Robinson of Horizon Aircraft provides fresh update on company’s continued progress, eVTOL Insights, Aug. 10, 2022