Horizon AutoCopters Ltd
Horizon AutoCopters Ltd is designing an all-electric or hybrid-electric (both options available) co-axial compound rotorcraft, with additional forward propulsion provided by a ducted fan fitted in the rear of the rotorcraft. The company is actively looking for investors.
The aircraft requires a pilot; however, the aircraft will have a semi-autonomous ability to fly a predetermined route, reducing the pilot's workload and the rotorcraft will be able to avoid any unexpected ground obstacles and other aircraft. The rotorcraft will fly level like a plane, instead of nose-down like a helicopter.
The Auto-Copter's cruise speed is 175-200 kn (324-370 km/h, 201-230 mph) and a range of 600-1000 km (373-621 mph). Different fuselage sizes will be available allowing for 2, 4, 6 or 8 persons on board. The air taxi version will be offered with only 4 or 6 seats.
The aircraft will be outfitted with a joystick and other piloting controls. It will be equipped with a health and usage monitoring system, fly-by-wire flight controls and haptic flying controls (any technology that can create an experience of touch by applying forces, vibrations, or motions to the user, to virtual objects).
Battery-powered aircraft will have substantially lower cruise speeds and ranges, its hybrid-electric counterpart. However, not having a heavy transmission will lower the weight and complexity of the aircraft, increasing the efficiency of the all-electric rotorcraft version.
For the hybrid-electric version, the company will not be using traditional helicopter piston or turbine engines to generate electricity for the motors to power the rotorblades and the rear ducted fan. The rotorcraft will use three micro gas-turbine generators which are a component of Formula 1 race car engines. With this type of engine, the rotorcraft can use jet fuel, diesel, biofuel or synthetic jet fuel.
The company foresees the application for the aircraft for personal transport, air taxi, corporate, utility and for the military. The cost of the rotorcraft would be in the of $800 thousand to $1.2 million, depending upon the size of the aircraft.
- Aircraft type: Electric or Hybrid-electric VTOL compound helicopter
- Piloting: 1 pilot and semi-autonomous capability. Once autonomous flying is approved by governments, the AutoCopter will be able to fly without the aid of a pilot.
- Capacity: 2-8 people
- Cruise speed: 175-200 kn (324-370 km/h, 201-230 mph)
- Range: 600-1000 km (373-621 mph)
- Weight of aircraft: Up to 2 metric tons
- Propulsion: Electric motors
- Power source: 3 high-efficiency micro gas turbines generators or batteries
- Rotors: 2, 3-bladed co-axial counter-rotating rotor blades
- Forward flight: Rear fan propulsion system
- Wings: Two low rear stub wings with winglets
- Tail: Short tail with inverted V rudders
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber
- Safety features: Three engines provides redundancy, if one engine fails, the remaining engines can land the aircraft safely. If the pilot flies into a cloud and takes his/her hands off the controls, the aircraft will fly to a safe altitude and continue to fly safely to its destination. Every aircraft will have a terrain map and will fly above all terrain at a safe altitude.