Bangalore, Karnatak, India
Founded in India, Leap Aeronautics is designing, testing and making an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) airplane. The company has stated their aircraft operating costs will be reduce six (6) times less than operating a helicopter. The company is focusing on safety and states that their aircraft will be extremely safe because it uses twelve (12) propellers to take off and land, so if one or two propellers (or motors) stop working, the aircraft can still safely land. Leap was also one of the winners of the Movin'On Startup Challenge & Summit in 2019, in Montreal, Canada.
Leap Aeronautics recognizes the importance that Asia is a very big market for urban air travel and wants to become the premiere urban air mobility manufacturer in India and Asia. They see their aircraft as the solution allowing affordable urban air mobility (UAM) for the masses. They recognize that one of the benefits of electric aircraft, is that safety and low operating costs are is reality and their aircraft is not only for the wealthy but affordable to people who can afford to take a taxi cab.
Reducing the complexity of the aircraft is one of the key goals for Leap Aeronautics which is why there are no tilting wings and the VTOL propellers are stationary. The use of electric motors with batteries not only greatly reduces complexity but also reduces weight and increases safety.
They are using small propellers for VTOL flight instead of electric fans to keep the noise low for take-offs and landings. The range is expected to be 125 km (78 miles) with today’s battery technology. The company hopes that in four (4) years, battery technology will allow the aircraft to have a range of 200 km (125 miles).
The company is currently building and testing 1/5th scale prototypes and are expecting to be testing ½ scale prototypes by the end of 2019. In 2020, their goal is to begin the manufacturing of a full scale prototype and have it certified with Europe’s and the USA’s aviation government standards first, which will typically allow the aircraft to then be certified by Indian aviation authorities. They expect the certification to take approximately three (3) years after the full scale flying prototype is made and if that is accomplished, the company would like to have their first commercial service take place in 2024.
The battery range is 125 km (78 miles) with today’s battery technology. Four years down, we could probably push the range to 200 km (125 miles). There’s a trade-off between payload and battery weight. That’s why a similar five-seater airplane running on aviation fuel gives a range of 600-800 km (370-500 miles). But when you calculate the operational and maintenance costs, we still win. We’re looking long term – the whole world is moving toward electric mobility. —Alvin Anthony, co-founder and CEO, Leap Aeronautics, The Future Of Transportation Executive Briefing 2019
Leap Aeronautics sees their aircraft as an air taxi service, to and from airports, inner city service, and even suburban to city service. In addition, they see their aircraft for cargo service, medical transportation, and organ and blood delivery service.
Leap will be selling their aircraft to transportation companies providing air taxi and cargo service. They do not plan to sell their aircraft to private individuals. After their eVTOL aircraft is successfully manufactured and sold, Leap’s vision is to make larger models, such as a 19 and/or 70 passenger all-electric plane.
- Aircraft Type: eVTOL aircraft
- Capacity: 5
- Range: 125 km (78 miles)
- Main wing: 1 (Possibly a high constant chord tapered wing)
- Tail wing: High horizontal tapered tail with winglets
- VTOL propellers: 12 (six on each side of the main wing)
- Pusher propeller for forward flight: 1
- Landing gear: Retractable
- Safety features: Distributed electric propulsion, if one VTOL motor or propeller fails, the other 11 can still land the aircraft safely. Emergency parachute.