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Overair (Karem) Butterfly V1 (concept design)

Overair Butterfly eVTOL passenger concept design

 

Butterfly V1 (concept design)
Overair, Inc.
Santa Ana, California, USA
www.overair.com

Overair, Inc. is a spin-off from Karem Aircraft and is located in Santa Ana, California, USA. Overair became its own independent company in 2019 and is in the business of making passenger electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for advanced air mobility (AAM). Some of the major goals for the company is to have has fewer moving parts than traditional tilt-rotor aircraft and to have no single points of failure with multiple redundancies in the aircraft's systems. In addition, to create a spacious, technically advanced and pleasing cabin, to make a safer aircraft, have very efficient aerodynamics, have a quieter aircraft and a more reliable eVTOL aircraft.

Karem Aircraft was founded by Abe Karem in 2004 in California, USA. Ben Tigner was the President and CEO of Karem Aircraft and as of January 2020, is now the President and CEO of Overair. Uber Elevate announced on May 8, 2018 that it was adding Karem Aircraft (now Overair) as one of its aircraft partners to design an eVTOL aircraft for Uber's Elevate ecosystem. In December 2020, Uber sold Uber Elevate to Joby Aviation.

In July 2019, it was reported that Korean industrial conglomerate Hanwha Systems, pending regulatory approval, will invest $25M in a subsidiary of Karem Aircraft to develop the Butterfly eVTOL aircraft for Uber Elevate's mission. On Jan. 15, 2020, it was announced that Hanwha Systems was approved for the $25M dollar investment for Karem's spin-off company, Overair. Hanwha Systems now owns 30% of Overair, Inc.

First Butterfly passenger eVTOL concept design aircraft
The first Butterfly passenger eVTOL passenger concept design aircraft was first revealed to the public in Los Angeles (California, USA) at the Uber Elevate Summit on May 8, 2018. The aircraft is flown by one pilot and carries four passengers and their luggage. The aircraft has a very futuristic and clean design look to the aircraft. The aircraft was specifically designed for advanced air mobility (AAM).

The cruise speed for the aircraft is estimated to be 200 mph (322 km/h) with an expected range of 60 miles (97 km). The flight range was a goal from Uber Air. The aircraft has four tilt-propellers, two propellers are on the high main wing and two propellers are on the rear V-tail of the aircraft. The unique aspect of this aircraft is the Karem invention of relatively large, slow-turning propellers with blades that are light and rigid to vary their speed of rotation in different flight regimes without encountering unacceptable vibration. According to the company, when compared to other eVTOL aircraft using smaller propellers, the Butterfly eVTOL aircraft will require less power at all air speeds and especially when hovering.

This key goal for Overair, for maximum efficiency of their aircraft which is provided by their larger slower rotating propellers provide efficient lift, efficient forward flight, safer flight and quieter acoustics. This also means the Butterfly can fly faster and further using less energy. In addition, using an entirely electric propulsion system reduces the weight and complexity of the aircraft which adds to the efficiency of the aircraft.

Some other design features include the aircraft being powered by battery packs, having a carbon fiber composite fuselage, having multiple redundant systems, having larger windows than conventional aircraft for better views for the passengers and has retractable tricycle wheeled landing gear. While retractable wheeled landing gear increases the complexity of the aircraft, this landing gear configuration increases the efficiency of the aircraft when flying. In addition, when the aircraft is on the ground, wheeled landing gear makes it easier for the pilot or ground crew to position the aircraft.

The serial production Butterfly design was revealed to the public in August 2021 and information about the new Butterfly aircraft is here online.

Butterfly concept design, top view on vertiport

Butterfly concept design, top view on vertiport

Butterfly concept design on vertiport, with Hanwha logos

Butterfly concept design on vertiport, with Hanwha logos

Butterfly concept design taking off, with Hanwha logos

Butterfly concept design taking off, with Hanwha logos

Specifications:

  • Aircraft type: eVTOL passenger aircraft
  • Piloting: 1 pilot
  • Capacity: 4 passengers
  • Cruise speed: 200 mph (322 km/h)
  • Range: 60 miles (97 km), an Uber goal from 2019
  • Flight time: Unknown
  • Cruise altitude: 1,000-2,000 feet (304-610 m), an Uber goal from 2019
  • Propellers: 4 tilt-propellers
  • Electric motors: 4 electric motors
  • Power source: Batteries
  • Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
  • Windows: Large windows allowing forward, left and right visibility, for spectacular views with a solid roof above the passenger compartment
  • Wings: 1 main high wing
  • Tail: 1 V tail
  • Landing gear: Retractable tricycle wheeled landing gear
  • 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 in the sub-systems of the aircraft.

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