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Land Rotor AAM Sportster (prototype)

Land Rotor on passenger AAM Sportster prototype multicopter aircraft

 

AAM Sportster (prototype)
Land Rotor
Orlando, Florida, USA
www.landrotor.com

Land Rotor was founded in 2021 by Thomas-john Veilleux, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and is based in Orlando, Florida, USA. Ansel Misfeldt is the inventor and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of the company. Land Rotor is in the business of designing and manufacturing electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) passenger aircraft for an indoor entertainment immersive experience and aircraft with multiple power sources for outdoor advanced air mobility (AAM).  Land Rotor has announced plans on September 18, 2023, to mass produce as many as 10,000 AAM Sportster aircraft in what could be worth up to a $700 million USD deal with Aeroauto, LLC of Royal Palm Beach, Florida, USA. No money has been exchanged as the announcement of the deal. The company is currently seeking investors for both their indoor sport experience venture and for designing and manufacturing outdoor advanced air mobility aircraft. (Images: Land Rotor)

An important part of the company's philosophy is listening to consumers to find out what they want in the new passenger drone aircraft industry. The company is also actively focusing on consumer education to help the general public understand how the technology is already here today which provides an incredibly high safety margin for these new aircraft. Safety and ease of use is an important part of the design and manufacturer of the Land Rotor's aircraft. An interesting point is Veilleux recognizes there are many names being given to advanced air mobility aircraft such as "eVTOL passenger aircraft" or "hybrid-electric VTOL passenger aircraft". He feels the name of these new aircraft in the future will simply be called drones.

This marks one of the largest commitments to provide consumers with safe and affordable Advanced Air Mobility vehicles globally. Technology is our passion and figuring out where the future will take us is the fun stuff. Elevating the human spirit is how we benchmark that success.

Land Rotor's blueprint for the future:

  • Bridge the gap between emerging technologies and people
  • Keep safety at the fore front of their aircraft and ease of use for the consumer
  • Offer the Land Rotor Drone Ride to the public, an immersive thrill ride entertainment attraction
  • Train future pilots using new FAA rules for advanced air mobility (AAM)
  • Mass produce Land Rotor's multicopter aircraft to on-road and off-road consumer markets
  • Perform the first transcontinental hover-journey across the USA

 

Veilleux's first concept drawing of the AAM Sportster

Veilleux's first concept drawing of the AAM Sportster

The inventor's first drawing
At the very beginning of an inventor's idea, many stories are told where the inventor started simple drawings of their invention using a pencil or pen made on whatever paper or writing material was close by. The inventor might think of an idea while eating and draw the first sketch of in this case, an eVTOL passenger aircraft, on a napkin. On night, in the months after July 2018, Veilleux dreamed of an eVTOL passenger multicopter aircraft design and when he woke up, he the drew the sketch on paper as seen above.

AAM Sportster all-battery or hybrid-electric passenger eVTOL prototype multicopter aircraft
The AAM Sportster is an all-battery or hybrid-electric passenger eVTOL open cockpit prototype multicopter aircraft. As a reminder, prototype aircraft are typically not the design or form of what will look like the final production model. The prototype (and future production aircraft) have been designed to accept multiple types of power sources. The prototype and the production model will be certified as a FAA Part 103 experimental aircraft.

The maximum cruise speed is 50 mph (80 km/h). This is the maximum allowable speed for a FAA Part 103 experimental aircraft and the maximum speed controlled by an electronic governor. The maximum range under the optimum payload weight and wind conditions is 30 miles (38 km). The range of any aircraft can vary based on the payload weight and how strong are the winds. The altitude for the aircraft is about two feet off the ground or also called low altitude road flying.

The aircraft has a total of eight propellers and each propeller is 22 inches (55.88 cm) in length. The propellers are stacked, two propellers at a time in their own protected propeller housing which are located on the four corners of the aircraft. The aircraft has eight electric motors and each propeller is controlled independently providing maximum control for the aircraft when in flight.

The company plans to offer a variety of eco-friendly power options for the AAM Sportster ranging from batteries, hybrid-electric hydrogen power and a hybrid-electric biodiesel power source. “We want to make sure that our technology is on point with environmental needs, as well in providing consumers with a useful product that serves a purpose," said Veilleux.

The empty weight of the prototype is 249 lb (113 kg), has a maximum payload of 200 lb (91 kg) and has a maximum takeoff weight of 449 lb (204 kg). The fuselage is made of carbon fiber composite and has an aircraft aluminum frame and landing skids. The aircraft has Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP) providing safety through redundancy. If a bird strike breaks a propeller, the other propellers will continue to turn and the aircraft can still land safely. There are also redundancies of critical components in the sub-systems of the aircraft and there is also a redundant power supply. There will also be the option of having an emergency ballistic parachute installed on the aircraft.

For use on public roads the aircraft will fly in a very low altitude, about two feet off the ground, using the aerodynamic principle of ground effect. The production aircraft will have LiDAR (light distance and ranging) technology and controlling the aircraft to stay just above the ground. LiDAR will also have the option to be switched off and enter into flight mode operating as a FAA Part 103 experimental aircraft. Safety is a top priority of the company as well as ease of use by the pilot. Therefore, the AAM Sportster's electronics has been configured allowing the pilot to only go forward in the aircraft. This has been done to keep the aircraft as simple as possible for the user. The AAM Sportster is the first vehicle of this kind to be engineered to glide over the ground similar to a hovercraft, according to the company. The production model will have a horn, front lights, a signalling system and brake lights.

Pioneering indoor immersive experience entertainment with the the AAM Sportster
The company is pioneering an indoor version of the AAM Sportster as well, by integrating emerging technologies with existing social gaming infrastructure to connect with audiences around the world. “The idea behind our location-based entertainment venue is to provide guests with an immersive thrill ride experience that is fun and educational,” Thomas-john Veilleux, Land Rotor’s Founder & CEO said, “but it also will give people an opportunity to see how great the technology is.”

The aircraft will be mounted on a hydraulic arm and batteries will be removed. The power will be supplied through wires and will have a dampening system so that the vehicle can always land safely. The company is investigating technology that allows people to control the aircraft with the movement of their eyes. The reasoning behind this type of technology is to allow as many people as possible to experience the ride even if they have mobility issues.

Prototype aircraft
The company has at least five flying prototypes, in addition to the AMM Sportster. Three of the prototypes are gasoline powered and two are powered by batteries. The AAM Sportster prototype aircraft has been flown uncrewed and has not been piloted by a person (as of September 21, 2023) but it will be eventually be piloted by a person. In addition, deicing systems are also being discussed by the company for those living in colder climates.

Future production models and estimated price
The production model will look different from the AAM Sportster prototype and the company plans to offer a variety of eco-friendly power options ranging from batteries, hybrid-electric hydrogen fuel and hybrid-electric biodiesel fuel. “We want to make sure that our technology is on point with environmental needs, as well in providing consumers with a useful product that serves a purpose.” Veilleux added. The company is targeting the recreational power sports market and expects their aircraft might simply be called an air terrain vehicle.

The estimated price for the Land Rotor AAM Sportster production model is targeted at $70,000.00 USD and the company intends to deliver 10,000 vehicles by the end of 2023. Upgraded packages will offer an all-weather fully enclosed cabin and pontoon options for water landings. An emergency ballistic parachute will also be offered as an option. The company is planning to sell to the recreational power sports market. “Our goal at Land Rotor is very clear,” Veilleux says. “We are going to mass-produce the AAM Sportster.”

AAM Sportster prototype cockpit controls

AAM Sportster prototype cockpit controls

AAM Sportster close-up of propellers

AAM Sportster close-up of propellers

AAM Sportster side view

AAM Sportster side view

Specifications:

  • Aircraft type: eVTOL passenger prototype aircraft
  • Piloting: 1 pilot
  • Maximum cruise speed: 50 mph (80 km/h)
  • Range: 30 miles (38 km) (the range can decrease or increase depending upon the power source, the wind conditions and weight of the pilot)
  • Cruise altitude: Low altitude (road) flying
  • Empty weight: 249 lb (113 kg)
  • Maximum payload: 200 lb (91 kg)
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 449 lb (204 kg)
  • Propellers: 8 propellers
  • Electric motors: 8 electric motors
  • Power source: Batteries, hydrogen and/or hybrid-electric biofuel
  • Propeller length: 22 inches (55.88 cm)
  • Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite, aircraft aluminum frame and landing skids
  • Window: Open cockpit
  • Landing gear: Fixed skid landing gear
  • 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 of critical components in the sub-systems of the aircraft. There is also a redundant power supply. The aircraft is capable of having an emergency ballistic parachute installed on the aircraft.

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