Leonardo Unnamed eVTOL
Cascina Costa, Italy
Leonardo S.p.A. was founded in 1948 in Italy and is the eighth largest defense contractor in the world as of 2018. Its subsidiary Leonardo Helicopters, is in the business of designing and manufacturing light to heavy-lift civilian and military helicopters and are deployed in more than 150 countries worldwide. In 2021, Leonardo Helicopters also sells replacement parts, conducts comprehensive technical assistance, offers training services and provides after sales support. In 2013, the company had announced its research team had created an uncrewed electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) hybrid tilt-rotor/fan-in-wing technology incubator aircraft named Project Zero.
On January 5, 2023, Flight Global reported that Leonardo Helicopters filed patents in December 2022 for a new Unnamed eVTOL long-range passenger aircraft. From the patent drawing, one might surmise the aircraft is piloted and holds four to five passengers. The aircraft has a large fuselage allowing enough room for passengers and their luggage. The windows are larger than conventional aircraft providing better views for the passengers.
The aircraft uses six propellers, six electric motors and is powered by batteries. From the patent drawing, it's possible that this is a tilt-propeller aircraft. There are two propellers on the front wings, two propellers on the rear main wing and there are two propellers protruding from each side of the rear of the fuselage.
The aircraft has tandem wings, a t-tail and most likely has retractable wheeled landing gear due to the aircraft being designed for long range travel. The front wing is a constant chord wing and is located in the front of the aircraft near the bottom portion of the fuselage. The rear wing is a slightly swept back and is located on top of the fuselage above the passenger compartment.
The aircraft has been designed for advanced air mobility (AAM), for travel within cities, between cities, between cities and rural areas, within rural areas, hard to reach areas by road vehicle (like islands or areas with bad terrain) and offshore locations. As of January 2023, Leonardo Helicopters has not provided any specifications, projected manufacturing timelines or expected missions for the aircraft.
- Aircraft type: eVTOL passenger aircraft
- Piloting: Unknown
- Capacity: Possibly 4 to 5 passengers
- Propellers: 6 propellers (most likely tilt-propellers)
- Electric motors: 6 electric motors
- Power source: Batteries
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Windows: Large windows
- Wings: Tandem wings
- Tail: T-tail
- Landing gear: Retractable wheeled 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 in the sub-systems of the aircraft The aircraft can also land like a conventional airplane.
- Project Zero (defunct)
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- Article: Patent filings may offer clue to Leonardo’s eVTOL plans, Flight Global, Jan. 5, 2023
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