Lyte Aviation LA-44 SkyBus
London, England, United Kingdom
Based in London, England, United Kingdom, Lyte Aviation was founded in January 2020 by Freshta Farzam CEO. The company is in the business of making hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) for advanced air mobility (AAM). Frazam's inspiration for the company's aircraft is from the Rotodyne aircraft of the 1950's. The company is focusing on hybrid-electric passenger aircraft due to the necessary range that many passengers need in the real world.
On March 23, 2023, Lyte Aviation revealed they have been designing their LA-44 SkyBus hybrid-electric VTOL passenger aircraft at the Helicopter Investor conference held in London, United Kingdom. The LA-44 SkyBus holds 40 passengers, two pilots and two crew members. The aircraft has a maximum speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) and a range of 300 km/h (186 mph). According to the company, passengers who travel by air to work, typically travel between 100 to 200 km (124 m). Lyte Aviation has revealed the aircraft will be marketed to people who carry very small or no luggage. The windows of the aircraft are a similar size to standard sized airliner windows.
The aircraft has four larger propellers powered by turbine engines on the tilt-wings and these larger propellers are positioned closer to the fuselage. The aircraft has four smaller diameter electric-powered propellers and are located near the ends of the tilt-wings. The company plans to use sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for the four turbine engines and hydrogen fuel cells will power the four electric motors for the four outside propellers.
The tandem tilt-wings allow for both VTOL and forward flight. The front tilt-wing is positioned near the lower part of the fuselage and rear tilt-wing is located at the top of the fuselage. The tail of the aircraft is a T-tail. The empty weight of the aircraft is estimated to be 12.5 tons (24,080 lb), has a maximum payload of 4.5 tons (9,920 lb) and has a maximum takeoff weight pf 17 tons (34,000 lb). The aircraft has retractable tricycle twin-wheeled front landing gear and retractable rear multi-axle bogies (four wheels on each bogie).
In the future, the company expects to change the power source as hybrid-electric and batteries have enough energy density for long range high-payload weight VTOL flight. The first objective will be to build a full-scale prototype by 2024.
- Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric VTOL long-range passenger tilt-wing aircraft
- Piloting: 2 pilots, 2 crew members
- Capacity: 40 passengers
- Maximum speed: 300 km/h (186 mph)
- Range: 1,000 km (621 m)
- Empty weight: 12.5 tons (24,080 lb)
- Maximum payload: 4.5 tons (9,920 lb)
- Maximum takeoff weight: 17 tons (34,000 lb)
- Propellers: 4 electric propellers, 4 turboprop propellers
- Electric motors: 4 electric motors
- Power source: The aircraft will have hybrid-electric power. Turbine engines power the 4 large turboprops and hydrogen fuel cells supply electricity for the 4 propellers using electric motors.
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Windows: Conventional sized airliner windows
- Wings: Tandem tilt-wings
- Tail: T-tail
- Landing gear: Retractable tricycle twin-wheeled front landing gear and rear multi-axle bogies (four wheels on each bogie).
- 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.
- Lyte Aviation website
- Lyte Aviation Twitter
- Lyte Aviation Instagram
- Article: Lyte Aviation Launches High-capacity Hybrid eVTOL SkyBus, Future Flight, Mar. 23, 2023
- Article: Lyte Aviation SkyBus: A 40 Seater eVTOL Concept With Huge Potential, Autoevolution, Mar. 24, 2023
- Article: Lyte Aviation reveals new 40-seat hybrid eVTOL aircraft, Renewable Energy Magazine, Mar. 24, 2023
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