Vy 421 (concept design)
Transcend Air Corporation
Carlisle, Massachusetts, USA www.transcend.aero
The Transcend Air Corporation was founded in 2017 to design and manufacture a tilt-wing hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) for efficient and low cost city to city advanced air mobility (AAM) travel for the VIP traveler. As the aircraft can takeoff and land on any landing pad, airport tarmac, parking lot or grassy area, the aircraft will whisk the traveler to the destination faster than traditional airport-to-airport flying. Their aircraft can also fly its passengers to their destinations faster than a helicopter, according to the company.
The U.S. Air Force has supported Transcend Air's work with four research and development contracts a United States Air Force AFWERX program. The AFWERX program started in June 2021. The "AF" stands for U. S. Air Force and "WERX" is shorthand for work project. The company made it through three down-select stages to become one of five final contenders for the Pentagon’s High-Speed VTOL Challenge (HSVTOL Challenge). AFWERX's goal is finding aircraft that have jet-like speed, in-flight transition between hover and cruise, increased range and endurance, in-flight refueling capability, flexible payload and more.
The company advocates for an almost full conventional power train for their aircraft and plans to use turbine engines to power the two main tractor propellers. The aircraft is still a hybrid-electric aircraft as there are four small electric VTOL propellers in the rear of the fuselage used primarily to keep the aircraft stable during VTOL flight in any windy condition. Transcend’s Peter Schmidt, COO and co-founder, has stated the Vy 421 will make twin-engine helicopters obsolete for business and private use. This is due to the Vy 421 aircraft being three times faster than a helicopter, has double the flight range and has more room inside. The Vy 421 has a galley and a lavatory in the aircraft, most helicopters do not have this luxury.
Vy 421 long-range hybrid-electric VTOL passenger concept design aircraft
The Vy 421 is a long-range hybrid-electric eight passenger VTOL enhanced concept design aircraft and is about 25% larger than the company's first Vy 400 six passenger hybrid-electric VTOL concept design aircraft. The aircraft will hold one pilot, seven passengers and their luggage. The aircraft's planned cruise speed is 486 mph (782 km/h) and has a projected range of 1,000 miles (1,609 km). The predicted maximum payload of the Vy 421 is 3,500 lb (1,588 kg).
The aircraft has two main propellers for forward flight (tractor propellers) and has four small electric-powered VTOL propellers located in the rear of the fuselage. The two main propellers are located at the ends of the high main tilt-wing and each propeller is powered by GE Aviation 2,500-shp CT7-8 turboshaft engines. The rear four propellers are used during VTOL flight to help keep the aircraft stable in all wind conditions. The aircraft has a large window for the pilots for excellent views and the passenger windows are the typical small round windows found on some conventional jet aircraft. The aircraft is made from carbon fiber composite material to keep the superstructure as strong and as light as possible. The aircraft has retractable tricycle wheeled landing gear.
Some of the safety features of the aircraft include multiple redundant systems, HUMS (health and usage monitoring), flight into known icing (FIKI) mission protection, fly-by-wire dual channel, triple modular redundant control system, advanced avionics, autopilot, envelope protection geofencing plus sensors (no flight into terrain or obstacles) and an emergency whole aircraft parachute.
The Vy 421 is based on a long line of flying VTOL prototypes dating from as far back as 2009, including the 1,984 lb (900 kg) crewed Elytron Converticopter.
City routes examples
The company plans to establish a short-haul air service in 46 cities and here is an example of some of the city routes: Boston - New York - Washington D.C., San Francisco - Los Angeles – San Diego and Montreal – Toronto.
Prototype flight testing
In September 2018, two electric-powered, one-fifth-scale prototypes began flight tests to evaluate vertical and forward flight transition. These will be followed by a half-scale prototype powered by a smaller PT6A engine to demonstrate the drive train. As of January 2019, assuming a successful Series A round funding round, the first flight of a full-scale manned prototype is expected in 2021.
Manufacturer of the Vy 421 aircraft Kaman Aerospace will manufacture the Vy 421 aircraft in Jacksonville, Florida, USA, according to an agreement made between both companies in 2021. In May 2023, Transcend Air signed a memorandum of understanding with Israel Aerospace Industries to work with its North American division to develop military versions of the Vy 421.
Certification plans and production plans
The company plans operate their aircraft using Part 135 Commuter Aerial Regional Transport (ART) service and hope to gain this credential about one year before it receives certification of the aircraft under the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Part 21.17 (b) rules. As of August 2023, the company anticipates to integrate the GE engines into the new airframe by the third quarter of 2025. The company plans to sell their Vy 421 aircraft for commercial purposes, such as air taxi service, private aircraft ownership and emergency medical service. The company will also make larger models for military service.
Safety features: The aircraft has redundant systems, HUMS (health and usage monitoring), flight into known icing (FIKI) mission protection, fly by wire dual channel, triple modular redundant control system, advanced avionics, autopilot, envelope protection geofencing plus sensors (no flight into terrain or obstacles) and an emergency whole aircraft parachute.
Administered by The Vertical Flight Society This information on this website is provided for public use. However, you may not copy entire sections of this website and post them on your own website — because that's plagiarism!
2700 Prosperity Ave, Suite 275
Fairfax, Virginia, USA - 22031