Drew Blair is a prolific aircraft designer who has developed designs from electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) to single-stage-to-orbit space ships and more. In addition, Blair has made over 200 radio controlled jets, drones and three full-scale aircraft from scratch. He describes himself as having the engineering fluency in hypersonic physics, scramjet propulsion, combined cycle, missile platforms, single-stage-to-orbit capabilities, hybrid-electric conventional aircraft, hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft, eVTOL aircraft and more.
Blair's website catalogs aircraft designs including the following:
A hypersonic commercial jetliner, luxury personal jet and business jet
Multiple hypersonic military aircraft (heavy bomber, fighter aircraft, cruise missile and long-range missile)
Multiple sizes of VTOL hypersonic passenger and cargo aircraft
A hypersonic cargo fixed-wing cargo aircraft with orbital capability
A single-stage to orbit cargo space ship
A Mach 10 aircraft
A Mach 15 aircraft
A hybrid-electric commercial jetliner
A hybrid-electric heavy-lift UAV drone for fire fighting
Multiple hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing eVTOL passenger aircraft for Urban Air Mobility and long haul passenger air transportation
The Aeolus is hybrid-electric VTOL high performance five passenger aircraft concept design for Urban Air Mobility. The aircraft is expected to have a cruise speed range of 172-368 mph (277-592 km/h) with a range of 450-550 miles (724-885 km). The empty weight of the aircraft is expected to be 900 lb (408 kg) with a maximum payload of 1,200 lb (544 kg) for a total maximum takeoff weight of 2,100 lb (952 kg).
The cockpit interior has bucket seating, with two seats in the front section of the cabin and three bucket seats in the rear. There will be a clear canopy over the cabin for excellent front, side and top views. The aircraft is quite practical for passengers whether traveling short or long distances by having dual baggage compartments, one on each side in the rear of the aircraft.
The aircraft will have a glass cockpit with fly-by-wire technology. The avionics will restrict extreme maneuvering to ensure the safety of the passengers, other aircraft and people on land. There will also be an option for autonomous flight along a preplanned flight route. Both front bucket seats will have side-sticks so that either person in the front of the aircraft can pilot the aircraft.
The airframe is expected to be a composite graphene structure providing the following properties:
A very thin two-dimensional, planar sheet of bonded carbon atoms in a dense, honeycomb-shaped crystal lattice but is incredibly strong (about 200 times stronger than steel)
Can reduce interlaminar shear failure
Reduces microcracking with a composite laminate
Reduce the detrimental effects of lightning strike damage
Has a longer service life than other composites
Conductivity (conductor of heat and electricity)
Green/Sustainability (Can be recycled from waste products such as biodiesel fuel)
Graphene is a one-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice first isolated and characterized in 2004 by researchers at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom. Graphane can also be fabricated in sheets comprising up to 10 or more carbon layers. Its founders Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010. Graphene is hailed as a "wonder material". Some engineers have called graphene, basically magic.
The rotors are variable pitch and articulating seven bladed propellers and have IO Aircraft's proprietary technology which makes the propellers very quiet. The airframe for Aeolus will be mostly made of a composite graphene that is 33 times stronger than titanium but only 1/50th of the weight. The nacelle mount will be a combination of composites and metals which can operate above 9Gs and provides crush capability at 5Gs.
Some of the safety features include Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), which means the aircraft has multiple propellers and electric motors, so in the event of a failure of one or two propellers or electric motors, the aircraft can still land safely. In fact, the aircraft has four propellers and eight electric motors, so if several electric motors fail, the others will continue powering the propellers.
The aircraft is made of a graphene composite and has a very strong fuselage and in the event of a hard landing, the passengers will be safe. In the event of a water landing, the aircraft floats on water which will keep the passengers safe. The Aeolus also comes equipped with a ballistic parachute in case of a catastrophic event.
The estimated cost of the aircraft is $600,000.000 USD. The company foresees this aircraft as an on-demand air taxi, for business use, personal air transportation and more. There is no information at this time (January 2022) when prototypes will be built or when a production model might roll out of a factory.
Capacity: 4-5 passengers (If in autonomous mode, 5 passenger.), plus dual baggage compartments
Cruise speed: 172-368 mph (277-592 km/h)
Range: 450-550 miles (724-885 km)
Empty weight: 900 lb (408 kg)
Maximum payload: 1,200 lb (544 kg)
Maximum takeoff weight: 2,100 lb (952 kg)
Propellers: 4 propellers
Electric Motors: 8 electric motors, 180+ SHP each
Power source: Hybrid-electric, hydrogen fuel cells
Fuselage: Graphene composite fuselage
Windows: Larger than normal aircraft windows allowing forward, left, right visibility, for spectacular views and the aircraft has a solid roof above the passenger compartment
Landing gear: Retractable tricycle landing gear, with one wheel in the front and two wheels in the rear of the aircraft
Safety features: Has eight electric motors, if one or two electric motors fail, the other electric motors can handle landing the aircraft safely. There are multiple redundant avionics and electrical systems, the aircraft has a fireproof airframe and there is a whole aircraft ballistic parachute system. In case of an unexpected landing in water, the aircraft fuselage has been designed to float in water.
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