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PteroDynamics Transwing

PteroDynamics, Inc.
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

PteroDynamics was founded by its CEO, Val Petrov. The company says on their website, "Our business model includes licensing the Transwing design to other companies that are passionate about the potential of safe, reliable and ubiquitous distance VTOL applications." The concept is applicable to manned and unmanned eVTOL. Subscale models have been flight tested from vertical takeoff through transition and vertical landing. From their website (in italics):

Our patented aircraft design has the highest performance metrics of any VTOL aircraft. Given any aircraft footprint size and payload requirements, Transwing aircraft will fly several times as far as any VTOL competitor.

The secret is that our patented Transwing aircraft design is a pure rotor wing when taking off and landing and transitions by folding and rotating its wings into a fixed wing aircraft for forward flight. A rotor wing configuration is the optimal design for stable takeoff, landing and hover, and a fixed wing configuration is the optimal design for flying long distances very fast carrying a heavy payload using the least amount of energy possible. Transwing is the only aircraft design that transitions between these two optimal configurations.

The Transwing will have a profound and positive impact on the entire aviation industry and will make possible whole industry segments, including drone delivery, air taxis and personal flying  transport.

The Transwing design provides many key advantages:

  • Most importantly, they are as stable and efficient during takeoff, landing and hover as a helicopter or multicopter.
  • Yet as efficient for horizontal flight as any fixed wing aircraft, permitting significantly higher speeds, flight efficiency and lift-to-drag ratios than a helicopter or multicopter. Transwing aircrafts can easily have lift-to-drag ratios greater than 20 because they have the advantage of having their wings folded back when taking off and landing and while on the ground, so the wings can be significantly longer than other VTOL aircraft designs.
  • The in-flight transition of the folding wings enabled by our proprietary wing joint is extremely rapid and seamless due to uniquely benign aerodynamics of all the intermediate configurations during transition. The large dihedral and swept back angle of the wings during transition results in an angle of attack that never exceeds 20 degrees while flying horizontally, which reduces buffeting and flow separation, making the transitions smooth and natural.
  • Because of their folded wing configuration, Transwing aircraft designs are extremely compact for ground storage and during takeoff, landing and hover, with a full-scale four-passenger vehicle being just 18 feet wide by 23 feet long.
  • Payload capacities can be as much as 40% or even more of maximum takeoff weight. Quadcopters are famous for their ability to lift multiples of their own weight. Because Transwing aircrafts fold to a fully functioning quadcopter (or other multicopter) configuration for takeoff and landing, its payload can be as high as that of any other quadcopter, minus the weight of its wings and empennage.
  • Transwing aircrafts can use either wet fuel or distributed electric propulsion, which offers redundancies, is very reliable, much more quiet and efficient than internal combustion engines and are less expensive to build, maintain and operate, not to mention that they are much better for the environment with zero emission.
  • Transwing aircraft have the same cruise and maximum speed profiles as conventional fixed-wing aircraft.
  • It's possible to have Transwing configurations where all the motors are used for both take off and landing as well as forward flight so that there is no superfluous motor in either configuration causing unnecessary weight or drag.
  • Fuselage always stays parallel to the ground. This is critical when carrying people and other payloads that should not be shifted significantly during flight as well as for vehicles whose primary missions include carrying first-person-view (FPV) and other cameras and sensors that must be kept in a fixed orientation throughout the flight profile, from takeoff through cruise to landing, including transitioning to hover in mid-flight if that is part of the mission requirement (e.g., for conducting inspections where the aircraft must convert to hover for an extended inspection before transitioning back to forward flight to the next inspection location).
  • Vehicles can range in size from <5 lbs to 75,000 lbs.
  • Our patented design is truly a breakthrough for distance VTOL aircraft. As an example, our all-electric VTOL aircraft designed to carry a 5 lb payload (Parus5c™) is 18% smaller, flies more than 6x as long (100 minutes vs 13 minutes) and more than 12x as far (80 miles vs 6 miles) than the otherwise most performant VTOL aircraft of a similar size and payload capacity, the DJI Matrice 200 with their highest capacity TB50 battery pack.

According to their website (as of this web page up-date in April 2019), PteroDynamics has said they have validated their claims in the real world because they have a working prototype with a four-foot wingspan (Parus4) that has flown 100+ times. They have also hovered the first of the two Parus12 aircraft with 12-foot wingspans, which are 1/4 scale of the 2-passenger vehicle. They state they will soon have their Parus12 aircraft in full flight, complete with in-flight wing transitions.

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