Trek Aerospace, Inc.
Folsom, California, USA
Founded in 1999, Trek Aerospace, Inc. is a small engineering company based in Folsom, California, USA. The company has designed and made multiple vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft including its exoskeleton jetpacks using shrouded propellers in the airframe design. The company has also designed and made watercraft. Trek Aerospace also assists companies in the design, fabrication, and licensing of projects involving shrouded propellers and/or autonomous control systems.
The company states their core technology has the highest thrust to hp/kw in the industry. This allows their aircraft to carry a lot of weight in a smaller footprint. Trek’s shrouded props require less power, use fewer batteries than other battery powered aircraft, have a greater payload and have a farther range.
The SoloTrek XFVC (Exoskeleton Flying Vehicle - Civilian) is a one passenger VTOL backpack "helicopter" which was originally to be powered by a rotary engine and had drive shafts and gear boxes to turn the variable pitch ducted blades. However, the company has stated this aircraft could be converted to a hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft or to an eVTOL aircraft. A project that could very well happen anywhere in the world by a Trek Aerospace, an eVTOL inventor or eVTOL enthusiast. By retrofitting the aircraft with new eVTOL technologies that exist today, the aircraft would become lighter, safer, more stable, more flight worthy and be a more eco-friendly aircraft.
The original estimated top speed of the backpack aircraft is 113 mph (180 kph) with a range of 184 miles (295 km). The an empty weight of the aircraft is estimated to be 375 lb (170 km) and can carry a payload of 358 lb (162 km). The maximum take off weight of the aircraft was originally estimated to be 834 lb (378 km). Of course, these are estimated specifications and all these specifications would change based on the aircraft having either a hybrid-electric or all-electric power source. By converting to electric motors, newer and lighter propellers and using battery packs would greatly reduce the complexity of the aircraft and lighten the weight of the aircraft.
The pilot's controls are two joysticks, one joystick is for direction and the other joystick to gain or lower the altitude. The aircraft is controlled by a fly-by-wire computer system that can tilt each fan individually to control pitch and yaw. If fitted with new eVTOL technology, the flight worthiness and control of the aircraft would be greatly improved.
The aircraft has two shoulder straps and a waist strap to secure the pilot to the fuselage. Two foot rests are located on the aircraft's fixed strut-type landing gear. Two counter-rotating ducted fans are located at the top of the fuselage on either side of the pilot which were originally to be powered by a 118 hp rotary engine. Counter-rotating the blades eliminates the torque of the variable pitch blades. The safety feature of the aircraft is a ballistic whole aircraft parachute that is fitted at the top of the airframe between the two ducted fans.
The SoloTrek XFV was first flown in December 18, 2001 when the company was called Millennium Jet Inc. It is unknown if the company is planning on making this aircraft into a production aircraft.
- Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric VTOL or eVTOL personal backpack helicopter
- Piloting: 1 pilot
- Cruise speed: 113 mph (180 kp/h)
- Range: 184 miles (295 km)
- Flight Time: 2 hours
- Cruise altitude: Unknown
- Empty weight: 375 lb (170 km)
- Maximum payload: 358 lb (162 km)
- Maximum takeoff weight: 834 lb (378 km)
- Propellers: 2 propellers
- Electric Motors: 2 electric motors
- Power source: Hybrid-electric or all-electric
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Landing gear: Fixed strut-type landing gear
- Safety feature: Ballistic parachute
- Trek Aerospace website
- Trek Aerospace Twitter
- Trek Aerospace LinkedIn
- Trek Aerospace Wikipedia
- Article: The Springtail Exoskeleton Flying Vehicle, IdeaConnection, May 3, 2009
- Article: The Springtail Exoskeleton Flying Vehicle ideal for the quick getaway, New Atlas, May 3, 2009
- Article: Taking Flight: The Long Challenges of Product Development, Plastics Technology, Feb. 25, 2011
- Article: SoloTrek developers planning two seat electric hybrid Air Car, New Atlas, June 30. 2011