London, England, United Kingdom
In September 2017, Bret Lessard founded rFlight and he is the lead project manager of the company. The corporate office is based in London, England, United Kingdom and use a TE Connectivity lab space for their prototypes in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, California, USA. rFlight is a project from rLoop, founded in 2015. rFlight has entered Phase III of the GoFlight Prize competition and their competition aircraft, the N217RL model, is highlighted on rFlight's website.
rFlight's goal is to make a one (1) passenger autonomous Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft which then transitions easily from vertical flight (take off) to horizontal flight and the reverse. Their goal is to make an personal aircraft that anyone can fly or "the motorcycle of the sky".
Bret Lessard is the founder and lead project manager of rFlight based in a TE Connectivity lab space in Silicon Valley - San Francisco, California, USA. rFlight's goal is to make a one (1) passenger autonomous Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft which then transitions easily from vertical flight (take off) to horizontal flight and the reverse. Their goal is to make an personal aircraft that anyone can fly or "the motorcycle of the sky".
The aircraft is currently powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE) and it has been confirmed through rFlight that they are in the preliminary phase for designing and making an all-electric propulsion system.
At the tail of the vehicle, there are two tandem propellers shrouded in ducted housings next to each other. The number of propellers in each ducted fan has not been mentioned by the team. Compare the two (2) ducted fans of the rWing model with the rFlight N217RL model. The N217RL model has only one (1) ducted fan system in the rear of the aircraft for propulsion.
Air rushing past your body and the vehicle not in your line of sight creates a truly unique flight experience - a recreational vehicle for the bold and the adventurous. A motorcycle for the sky.
The rWing team states their aircraft has been optimized for low-noise, high-speed and endurance with a unique flying wing design and ducted-fans. Visible flight paths, object detection, and relevant flight data delivered conveniently in a heads-up display (HUD).
The design includes semi-autonomous controls (computer assisted) and intelligent UI (intelligent user interface) for intuitive interaction between the person and aircraft, for ease of flying and easy maintenance. The design includes semi-autonomous controls (computer assisted) and intelligent UI for intuitive interaction and easy maintenance and use. A brain-computer interface (BCI) is being developed.
The team has stated they've made at least two (2) scale models and announced in 2019 they are currently building a full-scale prototype. Looking ahead, as the team awaits the competition fly-offs, planned for early 2020. They describe the size of the aircraft to be comparable to a SUV allowing the passengers to use existing infrastructure.
The target market seems to be a personal air vehicle for work, and/or pleasure, or both. The rFlight team is asking people to become partners with them and have contact information on their website for inquiries.
- Aircraft Type: VTOL personal air vehicle
- Capacity: 1 passenger
- Pilot controls: 2 joy sticks. Crewed, remote or autonomous flight.
- Cockpit: The pilot is in an open cockpit with no window, a heads-up display (HUD) and 2 joy sticks. A brain-computer interface (BCI) is being developed to provide a truly unique experience.
- Pilot seat: During vertical take-off and landing, pilot is standing harnessed to the aircraft, as the aircraft tilts for forward flight, the pilot tilts with the aircraft, to the prone position. A foot rest is between the ducted propellers.
- Range: 125 km (77 miles)
- Cruise Speed: 250 km/h (155 mph)
- Payload: 100 kg (220 lbs)
- Length: 234 cm (7.67 ft)
- Wingspan: 255 cm (8.3 ft)
- Height: 122 cm (4 feet)
- Maximum Noise: 86 dB
- Wing type: Delta wing
- Propeller ducts: Two ducts housing the propellers for vertical and forward flight
- Directional flaps: 4 directional flaps in the back of each duct, for a total of 8 flaps for the entire aircraft
- Landing gear: 4 total feet on the bottom of the propeller ducts
- Safety features: Passenger harness. Pilot required to wear full head helmet for safety.
- rFlight website
- rFlight rWing web page
- Facebook web page
- Twitter web page
- Instagram web page
- Article: The Motorcycle Of The Sky, TE Connectivity, no date for article
- Article: Co-founder of rLoop, winners of the Innovation award at SpaceX Hyperloop competition, comes to Bucharest Technology Week, Business Review, May 14, 2018
- Article: The GoFly Competition Will Put Humans in the Sky, Curiosity, Mar. 1, 2019
- Article: An Award-Winning Hyperloop Company Sets Its Sights on Human Flight, Curiosity, Mar. 1, 2019
- Article: Here's Why So Many Breakthroughs Come Out of Big Competitions, Curiosity, March 1, 2019
- Video: rFlight: Changing the Way the World Looks at the Sky, TE Connectivity, Aug. 5, 2019
- Video: rFlight: Taking human flight from inspiration to innovation, TE Connectivity, Aug. 20, 2019