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 Springtail EFV (Exoskeleton Flying Vehicle) is a one passenger VTOL backpack "helicopter" which was 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 can be converted to a hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft or to an eVTOL aircraft. 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 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.
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 skid landing gear. Two counter-rotating ducted fans are located at the top of the fuselage on either side of the pilot which are powered by a 118 hp rotary engine. Counter-rotating the blades eliminates the torque of the variable pitch blades.
The Springtail has a top speed of 113 mph (180 kph) with a range of 184 miles (295 km). The rotary engine fueled from from a 12.3-gallon (46.6-liter) fuel tank. The an empty weight of the aircraft is 375 pounds (170 kilograms) and can carry a payload of 358 pounds (162 kilograms). The maximum take off weight of the aircraft, including a full tank of gas, is 834 pounds (378 kilograms).
Prototype A first flew in October 2003 achieved its first transition to forward flight on November 5, 2003. Prototype B with improved variable pitch blades was flight tested in 2005.
In the early 2000s, the aircraft was for sale as an experimental aircraft with a price of $1.25 million USD.
Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric backpack hoverbike
Piloting: 1 pilot using two joysticks to pilot the aircraft. 1 joystick for direction and 1 joystick to gain or lower altitude
Cruise speed: 113 mph (180 kp/h)
Range: 184 miles (295 km)
Flight Time: 2 hours
Cruise altitude: Unknown
Empty weight: 375 pounds (170 kilograms)
Maximum payload: 358 pounds (162 kilograms)
Maximum takeoff weight: 834 pounds (378 kilograms)
Propellers: 2 variable pitch propellers
Electric Motors: 2 electric motors
Power source: Hybrid-electric 118 hp rotary engine
Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
Cockpit: Backpack type aircraft, pilot stands in the open air
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