• +1-703-684-6777
  • info@evtol.news

Transcend Air Vy 421 (concept design)

Transcend Air's Vy 421 long-range hybrid-electric eight passenger VTOL concept design aircraft

 

Vy 421 (concept design)
Transcend Air Corporation
Carlisle, Massachusetts, USA
www.transcend.aero

The Transcend Air Corporation was founded in 2017 in Carlisle, Massachusetts, USA. The company is in the business to design and manufacture a tilt-wing hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) for efficient and low cost military aircraft and for 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.

Prototype flight testing
Since 2009, the company has built and flown 17 prototype electric or hybrid-electric VTOL subscale and full scale aircraft and at least 15 of them have had an all electric power source. All prototypes made up to and including 2023 are uncrewed except for the Elytron subscale prototype which holds two people.

Some history of the Garrow Aircraft, Elyton Aircraft and Transcend prototypes:

  • Garrow Aircraft: Proto 1. The first VTOL drone design was a made on a napkin in 2009 of a hybrid-electric VTOL passenger aircraft. The concept design was a delta wing with 3 VTOL propellers.
  • Garrow Aircraft: Proto 2. VTOL drone aircraft.
  • Garrow Aircraft: Proto 3. VTOL drone with 2 tilt-props, 1 main wing, 1 vertical stabilizer, fixed tricycle wheeled landing gear.
  • Garrow Aircraft: Proto 4. Delta-wing and canard VTOL with 2 VTOL propellers within the fuselage of the aircraft
  • Garrow Aircraft: Proto 5. Delta-wing and canard VTOL with 1 VTOL propellers within the fuselage of the aircraft
  • Garrow Aircraft: Proto 6. VTOL drone with 2 VTOL propellers within the high main wing with 1 pusher propeller in front of the rear conventional tail with fixed tricycle wheeled landing gear.
  • Garrow Aircraft: Proto 7. VTOL flying-wing fuselage with winglets
  • Garrow Aircraft: Proto 8. VTOL box-wing design, fixed tricycle wheeled landing gear.
  • Elytron Aircraft: Proto 9. Unknown
  • Elytron Aircraft: Proto 10. Unknown
  • Elytron Aircraft: Proto 11: Elytron 2S Proto 11 crewed aircraft
  • Elytron Aircraft: Proto 12. VTOL 2 propeller tiltwing box-wing with fixed tricycle wheeled landing gear
  • Transcend Air Corporation: Proto 13: VTOL open framed fuselage with 2 propellers at the end of the foward main tiltwing with a rear H-tail
  • Transcend Air Corporation: Proto 14: 1/5 subscale Vy 400 (does not weight 350 lb), VTOL tiltwing with H-tail.
  • Transcend Air Corporation: Proto 15: 1/5 subscale Vy 400, first flight September 5, 2018 (does not weight 350 lb) VTOL tiltwing with H-tail and fixed skid landing gear.
  • Transcend Air Corporation: Proto 16: First flight January 19, 2019
  • Transcend Air Corporation: Proto 17: Risk Reduction Test Vehicle (RRTV), first flight July 31, 2023

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.

Vy 421 parked in a hangar

Vy 421 parked in a hangar

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.

Vy 421 with tilt-wing up

Vy 421 with tilt-wing up

Transcend Air's purpose built sustainable and zero-emission barge-based vertipads

Transcend Air's purpose built sustainable and zero-emission barge-based vertipads

Specifications:

  • Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric long-range passenger eVTOL aircraft
  • Piloting: 1 pilot
  • Capacity: 7 passengers
  • Cruise speed: 486 mph (782 km/h)
  • Range: 1,000 miles (1,609 km)
  • Maximum payload: 3,500 lb (1,588 kg)
  • Propellers: 6 propellers. 2 tractor propellers and 4 smaller VTOL propellers
  • Electric motors: 4 electric motors
  • Power source: Twin-engine hybrid-electric power source (GE Aviation 2,500-shp CT7-8 turboshaft engines)
  • Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
  • Windows: Typical round windows found on conventional small passenger jet aircraft
  • Window: Canopy over cockpit
  • Wings: 1 main high tilt-wing
  • Tail: 1 dual tail
  • Landing gear: Retractable tricycle wheeled landing gear
  • 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.

Related Aircraft:

Company Insights:

Resources: