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Lyte Aviation LA-44C SkyTruck (concept design)

LA-44 SkyTruck long-range heavy-lift hybrid-electric VTOL air cargo aircraft

 

LA-44C SkyTruck (concept design)
Lyte Aviation
London, England, United Kingdom
www.lyteaviation.com

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 long-range hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) passenger and cargo aircraft 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 to travel, in the real world.

LA-44C SkyTruck long-range heavy-lift hybrid-electric VTOL air cargo aircraft
The LA-44C SkyTruck is piloted by two pilots and carries air cargo. The aircraft can be configured for both passenger and air cargo service depending upon the customer's requirements. If a customer plans on using the aircraft for both passengers and cargo, the aircraft will come with windows. If a customer plans on using the aircraft for air cargo service only, the aircraft will be available with no windows. The company refers to the LA-44C SkyTruck as a giant drone.

The aircraft has an expected maximum speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) and an anticipated range of 300 km/h (186 mph). 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 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 aircraft has retractable tricycle twin-wheeled front landing gear and retractable rear multi-axle bogies (four wheels on each bogie). The aircraft only needs a landing pad of that is 40 x 40 meters (~131 feet X ~131 feet) in size.

The week of October 30. 2023, the company announced it had received 10 pre-orders for the SkyBus from Vman Aviation Services worth around €400 million (EUR). The aircraft will be first marketed to the Indian market, due to their high population and difficultly with mass transit systems.

Future developments
In the future, the company expects to change the power source from hybrid-electric to batteries, if and when batteries have enough energy density for long range high-payload weight eVTOL flight. The company intends to build a full-scale prototype by the end of 2024. The company is aiming for serial production of their aircraft sometime in 2028-2029.

Specifications:

  • Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric long-range heavy-lift VTOL air cargo tilt-wing aircraft
  • Piloting: 2 pilots
  • Capacity: Cargo
  • 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
  • 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).
  • Landing pad size: 40 x 40 meters (~131 feet X ~131 feet)
  • 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.

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