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ARC Aerosystems Starling Cargo S5M (demonstrator)

ARC Aerosystems Starling Cargo S5M sub-scale demonstrator


Starling Cargo S5M (demonstrator)
ARC Aerosystems
Cranfield, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom

Founded in 2017, ARC Aerosystems (formerly Samad Aerospace) is a technology start-up company set out to design and manufacture safe, eco-friendly, scalable, luxury electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) and hybrid-electric VTOL passenger aircraft for advanced air mobility (AAM) and for air cargo. Since its founding, the company has generated over 10,000 pages of technical reports as a result of more than 100,000 engineering work hours.The company is based in the United Kingdom and is financed by venture capital and is looking for additional funding. (All images: ARC Aerosystems)

The company has designed multiple models of eVTOL and hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft to help shape the future with eco-friendly door-to-door urban air transportation. The ultimate goal of the aircraft is to give back time to the air traveler compared to lengthy time it takes today to fly with conventional air travel.

As of 2023, ARC Aerosystems has acquired the following patent and design rights:

  • Utility: Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) propulsion system on blended wing body (BWB) passenger aircraft (European Patent Corporation Treaty).
  • Design: Vehicle configuration of two-in-one air-and-ground vehicle unit (United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office).
  • Utility: Power management (battery packs) on two-in-one air-and-ground vehicle unit (United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office).

The Starling Cargo S5M is a sub-scale (half-size) eVTOL air cargo demonstrator aircraft that can be flown by a pilot or can be remotely flown. The sub-scale demonstrator is used to test the aerodynamics of the aircraft, flight control systems, the handling quality of the aircraft (in VTOL, transition and forward flight) and to validate all of its technology. Using a demonstrator is also very instrumental for setting commercial standards for the aircraft, finalize its design, determine the best materials needed for the production aircraft, help the process of the certification of the aircraft and more.

The Starling Cargo S5M eVTOL has six propellers, two stationary VTOL fan-in-wing and four rear vectored thrust propellers (these propellers rotate for VTOL, forward and backwards flight). The demonstrator has one high main wing, a T-tail and fixed skid type landing gear. The aircraft can also be outfitted with tricycle wheeled fixed landing gear. It is unknown how much payload the sub-scale prototype can carry. As far as we know, the cruise speed, range and flight time of the demonstrator has not been discussed in any articles as of late 2021.

ARC Aerosystems plans to market the Starling Cargo aircraft for urban air cargo, critical air cargo for humanitarian aid, the oil and gas industries, the mining industry, rural areas, underdeveloped regions, disaster relief, the medical industry, government use and more.

The company has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreement with Aerosud Aviation (based in South Africa) for the development and manufacturing of the Starling Cargo aircraft. The company had planned to start serial production in 2022. However, the production aircraft is different than the demonstrator is called the ARC C-600.


  • Aircraft type: eVTOL cargo aircraft demonstrator
  • Piloting: Can be piloted or remotely piloted
  • Capacity: 1 pilot and/or cargo
  • Cruise speed (fully electric): 153 km/h (95 mph)
  • Maximum range (fully electric): 217 km (135 miles)
  • Maximum altitude (fully electric): 3,000 m (9,843 feet)
  • Maximum payload (fully electric): 60 kg (132 lb)
  • Maximum takeoff weight (fully electric): 600 kg (1,323 lb)
  • Propellers: 6 propellers. 2 ducted fans (2 stationary VTOL ducted fans, 2 vectored thrust ducted fans) and 1 pusher propeller.
  • Electric Motors: 6 electric motors
  • Power source: Battery packs
  • Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
  • Wings: 1 main high wing
  • Tail: Large T-tail
  • Landing gear: Skid type landing gear or tricycle wheeled fixed 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.

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