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Optionally Piloted Personal Air Vehicle (OPPAV) subscale demonstrator



Optionally Piloted Personal Air Vehicle (OPPAV)
Daejeon, South Korea

The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) established in 1989, is a government-funded research institute for the aerospace field in South Korea. Its main office and laboratories are located in Daejeon and the flight test center is located in Goheung.

Since 2002, KARI has developed various types of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), such as the KARI tiltrotors — the TR100 with a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) and the TR60 at 200 kg (440 lb), a ducted propeller design with a MTOW of 40 kg (88 lb), and a quad-tilt prop (QTP) UAS. The QTP UAV, with a MTOW of 48 kg (106 lb) and a Vmax of 170 km/h (106 mph) is fully electric, with a hybrid variant as well. A video of the QTP UAV can be seen in this YouTube video.

KARI QTP UAV Transition In Flight

The eVTOL technology demonstrator program was launched in 2019 and funded by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE). KARI leads the research and development program to develop a one-seat class electric VTOL (eVTOL) demonstrator. The Optionally Piloted Personal (or Passenger) Air Vehicle (OPPAV) is based on KARI's previous VTOL UAV development experiences. Wind tunnel testing of a scaled powered model was successfully completed in July 2020, in the KARI Low Speed Wind Tunnel (LSWT).

The first flight of the KARI OPPAV 44% sub-scale technology demonstrator 44% eVTOL was successfully completed in early November 2020 at Goheung Flight Test Center for many type of flight and validation tests. Here is flight test video in full tilt of front props and rear-props-stop and so on. Flight tests of a sub-scale technology demonstrator will be started by 2021. The first flight of a full-scale technology demonstrator is scheduled for mid-2022.

Scaling this up to an operational 5-seat eVTOL with the same configuration, KARI estimates its MTOW would be 2,500 kg (5,512 lb) and have a cruise speed of 300 km/h (186 mph).

Wind Tunnel Test of OPPAV Scaled Powered Model in KARI-LSWT


Specifications OPPAV (Subscale Technology Demonstrator):

  • Aircraft type: Subscale eVTOL technology demonstrator
  • Piloting: Optionally piloted
  • Capacity: No passengers
  • Cruise speed: 200 km/h (124 mph)
  • Maximum cruise speed: 240 km/h (149 mph)
  • Range: 60 km (37 miles)
  • Propellers: 8 propellers located on the main wing (4 tilt propellers and 4 lift propellers)
  • Motors: 8 electric motors
  • Power: Lithium-ion batteries
  • Length: 6.2 m (20 ft)
  • Width: 7.0 m (23 ft)
  • Maximum payload: 100 kg (220 lb)
  • MTOW: 650 kg (1,433 lb)
  • Landing gear: Tricycle wheeled fixed landing gear

Original prototype version (2018):

The concept was displayed at the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) XPONENTIAL 2018 trade show, as captured on May 2, 2018, by Aviation Week editor, Graham Warwick.


Specifications OPPAV (Prototype model, May 2018):

  • Aircraft type: eVTOL passenger aircraft
  • Piloting: Optionally piloted
  • Capacity: 4-5 passengers
  • Cruise speed: 200 km/h (124 mph)
  • Range: 50 km (31 miles)
  • Maximum weight: 500 kg (1,100 lb)
  • Propellers: 8 propellers located on the main wing (4 tilt propellers and 4 lift propellers)
  • Motors: 8 electric motors
  • Power: Lithium-ion batteries
  • Length: 430 cm (14.1 ft)
  • Landing gear: Fixed skid type landing gear

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