801 (concept design)
Pipistrel Vertical Solutions
Founded in 1989, Pipistrel is a light aircraft manufacture based in Slovenia. Pipistrel originally began manufacturing powered hang gliders which were discontinued in the early 2000s. In 2007, Pipistrel introduced the world's first 100% electric powered two seat glider; the first of their gliders to achieve production. In 2015, Pipistrel developed the Alapha Electro, an all-electric plane or electric Conventional Take-Off and Landing (eCTOL) aircraft for training with a one hour flight duration with an energy reserve. As of June 2023, the company is currently manufacturing and selling CTOL, eCTOL, electric self-launching glider and hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft. In April 2022, Textron purchased Pipistrel for about $235 million (USD).
Pipistrel publicly announced at the first Uber Elevate Summit in April 2017 (Dallas, Texas, USA), that they were working on an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for advanced air mobility (AAM) but revealed no information. Uber signed a partnership with Pipistrel to provide eVTOLs for Uber. At the second Uber Elevate Summit on May 8, 2018 (Los Angeles, California, USA), the company revealed they were working on several different versions of its eVTOL concept design aircraft: "The new aircraft utilizes dedicated propulsion systems for both cruising and vertical lift and embraces an aircraft family approach of eVTOL able to carry from two to six passengers." The company has started a new subsidiary, Pipistrel Vertical Solutions, for its eVTOL development efforts. At the June Uber Elevate Summit 2019 (Washington D.C., USA) Pipistrel's Dr. Tine Tomazic, Director of R&D, made a nine minute presentation about the new Pipistrel 801 eVTOL aircraft.
Pipistrel 801 announcement
Pipistrel publicly announced its 801 passenger eVTOL aircraft at the Uber Elevate Summit in Washington, D.C., USA, in June 2019. The 801 was made specifically for Uber Air and that it meets Uber's requirements for aircraft manufacturers to produce an all electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) passenger aircraft.
Update: As of Nov. 26, 2019, as reported in Vertical Magazine, Pipistrel is not going to be working on their UAM eVTOL but instead focusing on a hybrid-electric cargo drone. "Pipistrel is not “neglecting” its eVTOL air taxi, just shifting focus to take advantage of near-term business opportunities. The company expects to be able to apply insights from its cargo drone program to further development of the 801."
Pipistrel 801 specifications
The Pipstrel 801 is a passenger eVTOL passenger concept design aircraft to be flown by one pilot and carry four passengers and their luggage. The estimated maximum cruise speed is 282 km/h (175 mph) and has an expected range of 97 km (60 miles). The high-speed aircraft has one main cantilevered high wing and has eight dedicated ducted fans for VTOL flight, the fan doors will close during forward flight. There is one tail mounted pusher propeller mounted on the T-tail for forward flight. During VTOL flight, each fan operates at a different frequency which reduces the noise of the aircraft. The company noted the nine electric engines are quieter than their gasoline counterparts. The aircraft is powered only with batteries which can be quickly recharged and can be changed-out in about five minutes.
The model number of the aircraft "801" has a meaning. It has eight ducted lift fans for VTOL flight and there are no tilting fans or propellers. The one tail mounted propeller makes the one on 801.
The safety features of the aircraft include distributed electric propulsion (DEP), there are redundancies of critical components in the sub-systems of the aircraft. The electronics will have the capability to detect and avoid other aircraft. It will have fly-by-wire controls and its electronics make piloting the aircraft easier than other conventional aircraft. The aircraft can land with two of its VTOL ducted fans not operating. The aircraft can land like a conventional plane on a runway or road if necessary due to its tricycle wheeled landing gear. The aircraft can land safely even with its battery packs malfunctioning. It has energy absorbing airframe and seats. In the future, the 801 will be a fully autonomous aircraft.
According to one article, electricity for their aircraft costs are about ⅒ of gasoline. Pipistrel has been making batteries in-house to ensure the quality of batteries are up to their strict standards. The batteries charge fairly quickly and they can be changed-out in five minutes or less.
As of Nov. 26, 2019, as reported in Vertical Magazine, Pipistrel suspended work on their 801 eVTOL UAM aircraft and shifted focus to a hybrid-electric cargo drone. The company's current plan is to successfully establish their cargo drone in its market and re-enter the UAM market at a later date.
- Aircraft type: eVTOL passenger concept design aircraft
- Piloting: 1 pilot
- Capacity: 4 passengers and luggage
- Maximum cruise speed: 282 km/h (175 mph)
- Range: 97 km (60 miles)
- Noise information: For VTOL flight, each fan operates at a different frequency which reduces the noise of the aircraft. The electric engines are quieter than their gasoline counterparts.
- Propellers: 8 ducted fans for VTOL flight, the fan doors close during forward flight. 1 tail mounted pusher propeller for forward flight.
- Electric motors: 9 electric motors
- Power source: Batteries. Can quickly recharge and can be changed-out in about 5 minutes.
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Windows: Panoramic wrap around windows allowing forward, left, right visibility for spectacular views with a solid roof above the passenger compartment
- Wings: 1 main high wing
- Tail: 1 T-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 of critical components in the sub-systems of the aircraft. The electronics will have the capability to detect and avoid other aircraft. It will have fly-by-wire controls and its electronics make piloting the aircraft easier than other conventional aircraft. The aircraft can land with 2 VTOL ducted fans not operating. The aircraft can land safely even with its battery packs malfunctioning. It has energy absorbing airframe and seats. It can land on a runway or road, like a conventional plane.
- Pipistrel website
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- Pipistrel YouTube Channel
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- Pipistrel 801 Wikipedia
- Article: Pipistrel Unveils 801 eVTOL, AVweb, June 11, 2019
- Video: Uber 2019 Tine Tomazic, Michael Coates, June 12, 2019
- Article: Uber Elevate Touches Down in DC, Electric VTOL News, Jun. 30, 2019
- Article: How Pipistrel’s 801 Aims to Leave the Competition in its Wake, Avionics International, July 24, 2019
- Article: The Potential of eCTOL, Electric VTOL News, Aug. 29, 2019
- Article: Pipistrel shifts attention from eVTOL air taxi to low-cost cargo drone, Vertical Magazine, Nov. 26, 2019