TCab Tech makes transition flights with E20 50%-scale demonstrator
TCab Tech has steadily furthered its E20 development. During the first quarter of the year, the company completed transition flights with its E20 50%-scale tilt-propeller demonstrator.
The E20 50% subscale demonstrator, which first flew on Dec. 30, 2021, features a 19.7-ft (6-m) wingspan, two lift propellers and four tilt propellers. Like the E20, the demonstrator uses six propellers in VTOL and transitions to four propellers in cruise. The two lift rotors are switched off and locked during cruising flight.
The demonstrator serves as a flight-testing platform for the engineering team to collect valuable flight test data for early validation of the E20 configuration and design. Being the first passenger-carrying eVTOL company in China with a vectored thrust configuration, the 50%-subscale demonstrator is by far one of the largest eVTOL demonstrators currently flown in China.
The 50%-subscale demonstrator is the second subscale demonstrator built by TCab Tech. Compared to the previous 25%-subscale demonstrator, the latter has the following improvements:
Aerodynamics: larger in size but the same external layout as the full-scale E20, the flight test results collected should further validate the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations.
External Layout: included flaps and variable pitch rotors to improve control laws and aerodynamics validations.
Systems: The conversion corridor of the tilt-propellers could be fine-tuned. In addition, every control unit has independent control channels to facilitate failure hazard analysis (FHA) and the examination of the fail-safe design.
Flight Control: Mounted with many data-feedback sensors to collect thorough flight data, which will be used to further improve the E20's aircraft control algorithms.
While serving as a flight-testing platform, the 50% subscale demonstrator is also used to develop in-house structural and durability test facilities, electric motor test-rigs, and software-in-the-loop (SIL) and hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) flight simulation labs. The know-how gains from the flight testing and facilities should pave a smooth path for towards obtaining airworthiness certification from the Chinese airworthiness authority, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).