Overair Butterfly’s Metamorphosis
At a VFS webinar for the eVTOL Writers Group on Aug. 11, Santa Ana, California-based Overair, LLC, unveiled the revised configuration of its Butterfly eVTOL aircraft. The new Butterfly has four equal-diameter electric tilting rotors, with a larger wing in the rear, and uses Optimum Speed Propulsion (OSP). The company says the four large rotors spin slowly in hover and even slower cruise, resulting in efficient hover flight — consuming only a small fraction of the available motor power, giving Butterfly extra payload capacity and power margins to operate safely in challenging environmental conditions — and very little noise, optimizing Butterfly for high-density routes over sensitive communities. Overair said the noise level in hover will be only around 55 dBA (measured at 330 ft / 100 m) and 30 dBA in cruise (measured at 1,650 ft / 500 m). A ground test of the fullscale rotor system will be conducted this fall.
Korean aerospace and defense contractor Hanwha Systems has invested $25M in Overair for a 30% share of the company, which was spun off from Karem Aircraft in January last year. Overair expects to certify the Butterfly with the FAA in 2025. Following certification, Overair will launch commercial operations in targeted US and South Korea markets.
The Butterfly is the 14th novel aircraft designed and flown by co-founder and chief engineer, Abe Karem. Overair is the fourth company founded by Karem, and builds on 20 years of advanced-VTOL propulsion development experience. The Butterfly benefits from $150M of military and private funding of key technologies.