Heliplane (concept design)
Weßling, Bavaria, Germany
Based in Weßling, Bavaria, Germany, Odonata GmbH is a company in the business of designing and manufacturering long-range hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) passenger aircraft for advanced air mobility (AAM).
Heliplane long-range hybrid-electric VTOL passenger concept design aircraft
The Heliplane is a long-range hydrogen hybrid-electric VTOL passenger concept design aircraft. The aircraft holds one pilot, eight passengers and their luggage. The aircraft has a predicted cruise speed of 280 km/h (174 mph), an estimated range of 1,000 km (621 miles) and the maximum cruise altitude is calculated at 3,062 meters (13,000 ft). The maximum payload is expected to be up to 1,000 kg (2,205 lb). The Heliplane has been designed to use a hybrid-electric power source using hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen gas burning turbine engines to make electricity for all systems, including the propellers.
The aircraft has a total of six propellers, six electric motors, one high main wing, an inverted V tail and retractable quadricycle strut landing gear. Four propellers are housed in the main wing (wing-integrated propellers) and two tilt-propellers are located on the top of the outer sides of the V tail. For vertical flight, shutters open above and below the four wing-integrated propellers and the rear two tilt-propellers rotate up. For forward flight the aircraft utilizes the two tilt-propellers on the V tail and the wing propellers stop and the shutters close providing a smooth wing surface during flight. All six propellers are independently controlled and adjust for the optimal power usage to optimally handle forward and vertical flight in any windy condition.
The aircraft has a very modern looking fuselage that is reminiscent of the shape of a Blue Whale's body. The fuselage will be made of carbon fiber composite material to provide high strength and low weight for the aircraft. The nose of the aircraft has a retro-styled pointed nose, possibly a pitot tube that would measure analog airspeed and could also measure analog barometric pressure and the altitude of the aircraft.
The company name Odonata was chosen because it is an order of insects that includes dragonflies and damseflfies. Dragonflies and damseflfies have the ability to move in all directions of flight including hovering like a helicopter.
As of August 2023, the company has not stated on their website when prototype aircraft or production aircraft might be produced. Odonata will present its 1:7 subscale Heliplane model at the AIRTEC International Fair on Aerospace, Future Air Mobility & New Space held in Augsburg, Germany during October 25-27, 2023.
- Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric hydrogen fuel cell, gas turbine engine long-range passenger VTOL concept design aircraft
- Piloting: 1 pilot
- Capacity: 8 passengers and luggage
- Cruise speed: 280 km/h (174 mph)
- Range: 1,000 km (621 miles)
- Maximum cruise altitude: 3,062 meters (13,000 ft)
- Maximum payload: 1,000 kg (2,205 lb)
- Propellers: 6 propellers (4 tilt-prop propellers for forward and VTOL flight and 2 VTOL-only propellers located inside the main high wing with shutters that open during VTOL flight and close during forward flight)
- Electric motors: 6 electric motors
- Power source: Hybrid-electric power source using hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen gas burning turbine engines
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Windows: Large window over the cockpit with conventional windows for the passengers
- Wings: 1 main high wing with winglets
- Tail: 1 inverted V tail
- Landing gear: 4 retractable landing struts
- 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.