Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) Unnamed (prototype)
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI)
Sacheon, South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea
Founded in 1999, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) based in South Korea is an aerospace and defense company. Korea Aerospace Industries manufacturers and produces helicopters, general aviation airplanes, fighter jets, satellites, launch vehicles and more. One of their most recent projects is a military reconnaissance hybrid-electric tilt-rotor vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. The company is now in the business of making commercial hybrid-electric and all-electric VTOL passenger aircraft for advanced air mobility (AAM) as part of its new strategy to make KAI the number one aerospace company in Asia by 2030.
Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) announced in July 2022, it will design and manufacture a hybrid-electric subscale prototype to validate the performance on all subsystems that will be used for the full scale eVTOL passenger production aircraft. The size of the subscale prototype has not been determined according to a recent article.
The company stated using a subscale prototype will help the testing phase because the aircraft will not be as large as the production aircraft and it will be faster to build. A small prototype will also keep costs down on the testing phase of the project. The above graphic at the top of this web page shows the proposed concept design for the full-sized serial production aircraft. The design for the subscale prototype has not be revealed by the company as of July 2022.
The aircraft's cruise speed, flight time, maximum payload weight, cruise altitude, piloting, number of passengers and most specifications have not been released yet by the company. In several articles, the company has indicated they expect their production aircraft to have a 400 km (249 mile) range. From the graphic, the aircraft possibly carries three passengers, one pilot and space for luggage.
The aircraft has a sleek modern fuselage with one main high-wing, four tilt-propellers on the front of the wing, four dedicated VTOL propellers, large windows for spectacular views, a rear V-tail, and retractable wheeled landing gear.
When companies use wings when designing new hybrid-electric or all-electric VTOL aircraft, it means the company is focusing on providing as long a range as possible for the aircraft, making their aircraft more useful to and marketable to customers in the real world.
KAI has indicated the full scale production aircraft will be all electric, that is powered solely by battery packs — an eVTOL aircraft. The company foresees their prototype aircraft will be made and flight tested sometime in 2024. Korea Aerospace Industries is gearing up to make passenger VTOL aircraft due to the South Korean government's push to have on-demand air taxis by 2025.
- Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric VTOL subscale prototype aircraft
- Piloting: Remotely piloted
- Cruise speed: Unknown
- Range: Unknown
- Flight time: Unknown
- Cruise altitude: Unknown
- Propellers: 8 propellers (4 tilt-propellers, 4 dedicated VTOL propellers)
- Electric motors: 8 electric motors
- Power source: Hybrid-electric power source
- Fuselage: Unknown
- Windows: Unknown
- Wings: 1 high wing
- Tail: V tail
- Landing gear: Unknown
- Safety features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers (or ducted fans) and motors on the aircraft so if one or more propellers (ducted fans) or motors fail, the other working propellers (or ducted fans) and motors can safely land the aircraft. There are also redundancies in the sub-systems of the aircraft.
- Korea Aerospace Industries website
- Korea Aerospace Industries Facebook
- Korea Aerospace Industries YouTube Channel
- Article: KAI sets sights on Asia No. 1 in ‘new space’ era, The Korea Herald, Apr. 4, 2021
- Article: Competition heats up in urban air mobility market, The Korean Times, May 17, 2022
- Article: KAI to build test version of UAM aircraft in 2 years, The Korea Herald, June 28, 2022
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