Bristol, United Kingdom and Toulouse, France
Neoptera Ltd was registered in England and Wales in 2001. During its early years, they supplied consultancy services to the aerospace industry, including providing expertise to the development of electric propulsion systems for spacecraft and electric actuation systems for aircraft. In 2017, Neoptera decided to develop their own intellectual property and began the development of a unique winged eVTOL concept that was patented in late 2017. So far the company has built several prototypes of modest scales — the largest being 1.2 m (4 ft) span and 10 kg (22 lb) to validate the concept. The company is now seeking investment to fund the design and development of a full-scale prototype.
Founder and CEO Arnaud Didey provided this description: "Thanks to its experience in aircraft design, Neoptera has been able to think outside the box and look at VTOL transition from a slightly different angle. As a result, Neoptera has patented a simple concept featuring a single mechanism that does not contribute directly to the transition (from vertical to level flight and back) resulting in greatly improved safety and reliability."
Didey explained, "Neoptera Ltd has been quietly developing a unique eVTOL concept since 2017. The concept was finalised in September 2017 and the first prototype successfully flown in October 2017 to support our 2017 patents applications." As of May 2018, the company was building its seventh sub-scale flying prototype, a 22 lb (10 kg), 3.9 ft (1.2 m) span aircraft.
According to their website, the eOpter is “a unique winged Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) civil light aircraft capable of transporting 2 to 5 passengers (or equivalent payload). The aircraft relies on distributed electric propulsion to offer a fault tolerant solution with multiple levels of redundancy and is ready for the next generation in battery technology. The modularity of the concept is also compatible with a range of electric energy sources such as a hybrid power unit or fuel cells.”
Didey plans to present the key design features of the eOpter at the joint Royal Aeronautical Society-AHS-AIAA-SAE International Powered Lift Conference, in Bristol, UK, 13-15 November 2018, as well as "how our expertise and understanding in commercial aircraft design and particularly safety critical aircraft systems was applied to the creation of the eOpter concept."
Mike Hirschberg, Executive Director of the Vertical Flight Society had this to say, "Neoptera has developed a unique concept with significant potential and has been addressing the critical technologies necessary to mature the eOpter into a viable eVTOL aircraft. It will be very exciting and informative to see the concept developed into a full-scale aircraft."