Leo Flight Corporation
Anderson, Indiana, USA
Based in the USA, Pete Bitar and Carlos Salaff partnered together in the spring of 2020 and founded the company Leo Flight Corporation (formerly Urban eVTOL, LLC). The joint-venture is from Bitar's company Electric Jet Aircraft and Salaff's company SALAFF Automotive to design and manufacture electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) flying cars for advanced air mobility (AAM). The company is looking for investors.
Bitar is an avid VTOL and eVTOL inventor with over 14 patents to his name, has won multiple aerospace awards and has owned five companies throughout his career. His last two companies were AirBuoyant, LLC and Electric Jet Aircraft. Salaff is an automotive designer working with futuristic concept and production cars when at Mazda, including the Nagare, Furai, Mazda 3 and MX-5. He has won multiple design awards, has always had an interest in aerospace and outer space, and recently designed a Space Age inspired mobile office and lounge called the Pod Van.
The Leo Coupe is a three passenger (including the pilot) eVTOL aircraft with a maximum speed of 250 mph (400 km/h), a range of 300 miles (483 km) and a flight time of 1 hour 15 minutes with reserves. The aircraft has 64 ducted fans for VTOL flight and 6 ducted fans for forward flight and has a unique looking double box-wing configuration.
The aircraft is very futuristic yet has very practical design features such as having ultra safe ducted fans protecting passengers and ground crew, ease of entering and exiting the aircraft, having windows providing spectacular views including a transparent floor and having a compact dimension of 10 ft X 20 ft (3.05 meters X 6.1 meters) allowing the aircraft to fit nicely in a standard sized garage.
Variable geometry landing pads on each of the box wings are on the aircraft for soft landings. These landing pads (similar to an air bag) also allows you to land on a slight slop with two sets inflated and one set not inflated to keep the aircraft in a more horizontal position. These landing pads or cat paws, also make it easier for the aircraft to land on uneven ground. In addition, by not using retractable landing gear, this will reduces the weight of the aircraft.
Safety features of the aircraft include multiple redundant systems, distributed electric propulsion (DEP) means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft. Also, there is a whole aircraft ballistic parachute for emergency situations with retro rockets to help with the deceleration of the vehicle. In addition, its landing gear uses the base of the wings reducing complexity, manufacturing costs, maintenance cost and the weight of the aircraft.
The company has foresees that urban air travel with multiple aircraft in a city airspace will not be problem in the future but having enough parking in cities for multiple aircraft could cause problems. Therefore, the company has also designed a vertiport named the Vertistop which has been designed to be easy to integrate into existing infrastructure of any city.
Leo Flight's goal is to build a full scale technology demonstrator and have it flying in 2022. The company is looking for investors to build subsequent full-scale prototypes with carbon fiber bodies which is estimated to take from seven to nine months between full funding and the first full scale prototype flight. Since the New Atlas article, the company has been receiving multiple daily preorders and investors contacting the company.
The company will apply for FAA certification and sell the aircraft as a partially built kit. The expected build time for the customer will be in the range of 20 to 40 hours. Leo Flight predicts the price for each aircraft will be in the range of $300,000.00 USD, even with quantities under 100 aircraft per year.
The company foresees its compact Leo Coupe ideal for personal use, on-demand (using an app) advanced air mobility (AAM), fire rescue, medevac, police, tourism, exploration, military and any other job where people need local air transportation.
- Aircraft type: eVTOL passenger aircraft
- Piloting: 1 pilot, semi-autonomous fly-by-wire control system
- Capacity: 3 people including the pilot
- Maximum speed: 250 mph (400 km/h)
- Range: 300 miles (483 km)
- Flight time: 1 hour, 15 minutes with reserves
- Propellers: 64 dedicated VTOL ducted fans and 6 ducted fans for forward flight, according to Urban eVTOL's website.
- Electric Motors: There will be as many electric motors as there are ducted fans
- Power source: Batteries
- Dimensions: 10 ft wide X 20 ft long (3.05 meters wide X 6.1 meters long)
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Windows: Panoramic windows with a wrap around window design allowing forward, left, right, top and bottom visibility, for spectacular views
- Wings: Double box-wing on the front and rear of the aircraft
- Tail: Boom mounted tail
- Landing gear: Fixed skid type landing gear
- Safety features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft. For emergency situations, there is a whole aircraft ballistic parachute and with retro rockets to help the deceleration of the aircraft.
- Leo Flight Corporation website
- Leo Flight Corporation Instagram
- Article: LEO Coupe's propulsion system receives DARPA contract for R&D, Urban eVTOL, July 20, 2021
- Article: Our vision for aerial mobility wins NASA HeroX award, Urban eVTOL, July 28, 2021
- Article: Urban eVTOL announces Leo, a 250-mph hypercar for the skies, New Atlas, Aug. 5, 2021
- Article: Forget the Chopper: This eVTOL Is Styled Like a Flying Sports Car That Parks in Your Garage, Robb Report, Aug.10, 2021
- Article: Urban eVTOL Reveals a Sleek Flying Hypercar, Hyperbeast, Aug. 11, 2021