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Optionally Piloted Personal Air Vehicle (OPPAV)
Daejeon, Republic of Korea

The Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), established in 1989, is the government-funded research institute for the aerospace field in The Republic of 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 type of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), such as the KARI Tiltrotors — the TR100 with a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 1,000 kg (2205 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).

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):

  • Aircraft type: eVTOL
  • Optionally piloted
  • Propellers: 8 propellers located on the main wing (4 tilt propellers and 4 lift propellers)
  • Motors: 8 electric motors
  • Power: fully electric, using Lithium-ion batteries

OPPAV (Technology Demonstrator)

Pilot / Capacity Optionally piloted  
Length 6.2 m 20 ft
Width 7.0 m 23 ft
MTOW 650 kg 1433 lb
Payload 100 kg 220 lb
Cruise speed 200 km/h 108 kt
Max. speed 240 km/h 130 kt
Range 60 km 37 mi

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.

OPPAV Characteristics (May 2018):

Range 50 km 31 miles
Length 430 cm 14.1 ft
Passengers 1 (scalable to 4-5)
Maximum weight 500 kg 1100 lb
Speed 200 km/h 108 kt