Manta Aircraft SA
Based in Switzerland, Manta Aircraft is a design and manufacturing company of hybrid-electric and all-electric vertical short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) aircraft for regional and inter-regional air mobility and not for Urban Air Mobility (UAM). The CEO is Lucas Marchesini. The company has a small team of about 22 people and will use other outside companies to develop and manufacture the aircraft. Manta Aircraft is predicts their maximum employee expansion will be to double their current workforce.
The ANN in the model name is a tribute to Marchesini's partner Annalisa Sericano who passed away in 2019. Sericano was an accomplished glider pilot and loved the Manta Aircraft project, so Marchesini's friends and colleagues decided to name their aircraft ANN, in her memory. The company is designing their aircraft using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software for all aspects of their aircraft, including but not limited to flight dynamics, flight controls and its power source.
The ANN1 Formula is a one passenger aircraft which can be used for personal transportation (and air racing), company and government use. In addition, ANN1 can be used for emergency assistance, search and rescue, police, fire or any other type of special operations needing V/STOL and fast forward flight. The aircraft can flown by a pilot but must be flown with computer assistance due to the complexity of multiple electric motors. The company also states all their aircraft are being designed for autonomous flight in the future. The company stated in March 2021, that ANN1 was more of an exercise in hybrid-electric V/STOL aircraft design.
The company states their aircraft can take off and land vertically, like a standard VTOL aircraft or it take off and land on very short runways (STOL) and in either case, can achieve high speeds during forward flight due to its canard wings. By using a hybrid-electric power system, using a turbine engine to product electricity for the electric motors, onboard batteries and all on-board electrical systems, the aircraft can carry a higher payload, fly faster and have a longer range than battery-only aircraft.
In addition, the company points out that only hybrid-electric aircraft can recharge their batteries during flight. The company has designed the aircraft so when battery density because equivalent or better than using petroleum fueled engines, the engines can be replaced with a battery pack. If for some reason the turbine engines fail during flight, the battery pack will have 15-20 minutes flying time, enough to land the aircraft at an airport or to land the aircraft like a helicopter. The aircraft also has a whole aircraft emergency ballistic parachute.
The aircraft is made using a modular design to make it easy to manufacturer and repair the aircraft. If part of the aircraft gets damaged, due to its modular design, it will be easy to fix the aircraft. The company has done everything to reduce the number of components in the aircraft, making it easier for maintenance crew to fix the aircraft.
The company plans to make a range of aircraft with seating from one to five passengers and can be powered with eco-fuel. As the airframe is the company is like a conventional plane, the company expects certification to take place faster than newly manufactured eVTOL aircraft.
One of the goals of Manta Aircraft is to make their V/STOL aircraft have exceptional maneuvering capabilities by mixing an airplane and helicopter-type capabilities into one vehicle. The company states the aircraft will be able to perform some interesting maneuvers which is impossible for today’s airplanes and helicopters such as having the ability to hover in midair, perform a backward flip, and jaw and roll beyond what standard flight control surfaces would allow.
On Nov. 26, 2020, Urban Air Mobility News reported they saw Manta Aircraft make a Tweet about successfully making a ⅓ scale demonstrator that is almost 3 m (almost 10 feet) long. The demonstrator is for both the ANN-1 racer aircraft and the ANN-2 personal aircraft.
The company has also developed a global Formula Air Grand Prix competition for air racing, to bring the electric aviation industry together and to give individual companies in the industry a platform to showcase their technologies to a larger audience. The company points out that competitions are an effective way to foster advancement in technology.
The company's goal is to keep the cost of the aircraft to be less than or equal to, or lower, than the cost of a helicopter. However, the operating cost of the aircraft is expected to be about one-tenth or less than a helicopter. The target is to make the Manta Aircraft's operating cost around $250 per hour and keeping spare parts costs to a minimum. The company plans to sell their aircraft to the consumer, to businesses and to the government agencies and plans for production to begin in 2023.
- Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric and electric vertical short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) aircraft
- Capacity: 1 person (who is the pilot) and autonomous flight (in the future)
- Flight controls: Fly-by-wire plus a network of flight control computers making it easier for pilots to fly the aircraft
- Cruise speed: Unknown - Note: The ANN2 model, for 2 passengers, has a cruise speed of 300 km/h (186 mph)
- Range: Unknown - Note: The ANN2 model, for 2 passengers, has a range of 300 km (373 m)
- Propellers: 8 ducted fans. (4 ducted fans for VTOL are stationary. 4 tilting ducted fans for VTOL flight.)
- Electric Motors: 8 electric motors
- Power source: Hybrid-electric or electric
- Windows: Panoramic canopy with forward, left and right visibility for spectacular views for the passengers.
- Wings: Canard wings
- Landing gear: Tricycle-wheeled retractable landing gear
- Safety Features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft. The aircraft can also land like a conventional airplane its VTOL capability becomes disabled. The aircraft will also have a whole aircraft emergency ballistic parachute.
- Manta Aircraft website
- Manta Aircraft Facebook
- Manta Aircraft Twitter
- Manta Aircraft Instagram
- Manta Aircraft LinkedIn
- Formula Air Grand Prix website
- Formula Air Grand Prix Facebook
- Formula Air Grand Prix Instagram
- Formula Air Grand Prix LinkedIn
- Article: Manta Aircraft promises sleek, beautiful eV/STOL future with Swiss elegance and precision, Urban Air Mobility News, Nov. 19, 2020
- Article: Manta Aircraft begin demonstrator trials of its “ANN Series”, Urban Air Mobility News, Nov. 26, 2020
- Article: Manta Aircraft: One to look out for in 2021, Urban Air Mobility News, Dec. 22, 2020
- Article: Manta prepares to flight test a neat hybrid eVTOL/eSTOL prototype, Urban Air Mobility News, Dec. 29, 2020
- Article: Swiss company prepares to test its hybrid-electric VTOL/STOL prototype, Inceptive Mind, Jan. 4, 2021
- Article: Q-and-A with Manta Aircraft CEO Lucas Marchesini, eVTOL Magazine, Jan. 13, 2021
- Article: Q&A: Manta Aircraft CEO Lucas Marchesini talks about its Ann Series of hybrid-eletric vertical and STOL aircraft, eVTOL Insights, Mar. 22, 2021