Essington, Pennsylvania, USA
In 2020, the Vertical Electric Autonomous (VEA) Aviation was formed in Pennsylvania (USA) to advance safe, sustainable and affordable electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for Urban Air Mobility (UAM), air cargo service and for multiple types of air missions. The company has designed the PA-890 aircraft which is an all-electric slowed rotor winged compound helicopter. The company is an offshoot of the Piasecki Aircraft Corporation.
The PA-890 eVTOL rotorcraft is an autonomous slowed rotor winged compound helicopter that might hold five to eight passengers, has one main rotorblade, a mid-wing and a pusher propeller. At first glance, the aircraft looks like a standard helicopter but once you look closer, you see the long mid-wing, providing the aircraft with a much longer range and a rear pusher propeller. The aircraft has fixed tricycle wheeled landing gear allowing easier ground movement.
Electric Slowed Rotor Winged Compound Helicopter Benefits:
- All electric propulsion leading to zero emissions
- 90% quieter than existing helicopters due to a variable speed rotor, low disk loading and a main wing
- Redundancy allows continued flight even after multiple system failures, this increases safety
- Capable of safe, power-off landing with autorotation
- Long range aircraft due to its main wing, fuel cells and pusher propeller
- Power system accepts multiple power sources, easing maintenance and allows for future technology insertions
- Optimized for commercial applications through customer-driven design with flexible cabin and multi-mission capability
- 50% lower operating costs than helicopters
- Certifiable to existing FAA standards
- Billion-dollar revenue opportunity
In addition, you'll notice there is no air intake for turbine engines because the PA-890 uses electric motors to power the rotorblades, pusher propeller, avionics, lights, and the heating and air conditioning system. In any type of helicopter, using electric motors increases the efficiency and safety of the helicopter by many times over. The heavy and mechanically complicated turbine engines and transmission are gone and the shaft to the tail rotor is gone. This weight reduction is one factor to increasing the range and payload of the helicopter. Electric motors have one moving part and are extremely reliable which greatly increases the reliability of the helicopter and the safety of the passengers.
Passenger comfort is increased due to electric motors being extremely quiet and because the compound rotorcraft will be using the main wing as its major lifting source during forward flight. The aircraft has noticeably large windows providing passengers with spectacular views. The cabin is spacious and depending upon the customer's needs, the interior can be customized for wider seating, more compact seating, for air ambulance service (with stretcher space and paramedic seating) or for air cargo service.
VEA Aviation foresees their aircraft used for on-demand Urban Air Mobility, air cargo service, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and more. The company plans to develop and flight test their full-scale prototypes by 2023, projects FAA certification testing in 2024 and will fulfill existing customer orders for up to 325 aircraft in 2025.
- Aircraft type: Slowed rotor winged compound eVTOL helicopter
- Piloting: Autonomous
- Capacity: Unknown, possibly 5 to 8 passengers
- Cruise speed: Unknown
- Range: Unknown
- Flight Time: Unknown
- Main rotor: 4 rotorblades
- Rear pusher propeller: 1 pusher propeller
- Electric Motors: 2 electric motors
- Power source: Fuel cells, batteries and can accept other power sources
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Windows: Standard large helicopter type windows
- Wings: 1 mid-wing
- Tail: Vertical stabilizer, ventral fin and tail boom stabilizers
- Landing gear: Fixed tricycle wheeled landing gear
- Safety features: If the aircraft loses its power, the helicopter can be landed safely through autorotation