On September 15, 2021, revealed a passenger electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) concept design aircraft for advanced air mobility (AAM) at a presentation provided by Rob Scholl, senior vice president for Textron eAviation at the JetNet iQ Summit (held in the USA). During the 2021 JetNet iQ Summit, Scholl stated that Textron has invested around $100 million to date on electric platforms and also mentioned Bell’s experience developing tiltrotors and Textron Aviation’s experience certifying and producing a range of Beechcraft and Cessna aircraft.
In April 2022, Textron purchased Pipistrel (based on Slovenia) and formed a new division named Textron eAviation to design and manufacturer for conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) and eVTOL aircraft. Textron eAviation took over Bell's Nexus program in 2022.
Switching from ducted fans to propellers
According to Textron eAviation, Bell originally hypothesized that ducted fans were quieter and safer but upon further examination, the company realized the large ducted fans required more power than propellers. It was discovered that open propellers reduce the power requirements during hover and vertical takeoff and landing flight.
The Textron Nexus eVTOL specifications
The futurist looking Textron Nexus eVTOL concept design aircraft is flown by one pilot and carries three passengers. The estimated cruise speed of the Nexus is 74 mph (120 km/h) and has an expected range of 115 miles (185 km/h). The aircraft has a total of six electric propellers, six electric motors and be powered by batteries.
The aircraft has four tilt rotors and two dedicated VTOL propellers. The aircraft has one main high wing and two booms with an inverted V tail. Two tilt propellers are located on the main wing and sit closer to the fuselage. At the end of each wing are small tilt-wings where the other two propellers are located. The dedicated VTOL propellers are near the rear of two booms. The maximum takeoff weight of the aircraft is expected at 8,000 lb (3,629 kg). The aircraft has fixed tricycle wheeled landing gear.
The company is focusing on using batteries as a power source to keep the aircraft as simplified as possible for safety and customer maintenance or a lack of future maintenance that will be needed with a simplified power source. Keep it simple.
Flying prototypes and production aircraft timeline is flexible
The company has stated they are anticipating the aircraft will by flying in 2025 but are not committing to any firm date because of new technologies are being discovered which might push the flying prototype and production aircraft estimated dates further into the future. In addition, the company stated they are also driven by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations they are required to follow. The company foresees their aircraft in use for air taxi service, disaster response, firefighters, air ambulance service, law enforcement and air cargo.
Windows: Panoramic wrap around windows allowing forward, left, right visibility for spectacular views
Wings: 1 high wing, twin-boom aircraft with end-of-wing tilt-wings
Tail: Inverted V-tail off the end of the twin-booms
Landing gear: Fixed 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. In case of emergency, the aircraft can also land like a conventional airplane.
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