Based in Germany, Weslax is in the business of building hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft for Urban Air Mobility (UAM), Regional Air Mobility (RAM) and for air cargo. The company has successfully flown a full scale proof of concept aircraft on October, 26, 2020 in Germany. The historic crewed flight was about six minutes long, providing real world evidence their one passenger hybrid-electric multicopter aircraft can fly.
The company's passenger production model is called the HySky and is a one passenger multicopter with a maximum cruise speed is 70 km/h (43 mph), has a range of 60 km (37 m) and a flight time of 60 minutes. The aircraft has 16 propellers, 16 electric motors and uses a gas engine to generate the electricity for the electric motors and navigation systems. To make things easier for the passenger, the aircraft will be fully autonomous, allowing a passenger to order on-demand air taxi service by using an app or be able to fly their own HySky by adding the destination coordinates in the navigation computer.
While the technology demonstrator has the propellers surrounding the base of the aircraft, the HySky will have its propellers surrounding the top of the aircraft. The higher placed propellers is one of the safety features of the aircraft by keeping passengers and crew when the aircraft is on the ground. Another safety feature of the aircraft is Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), which means there are multiple propellers and electric motors which provides safety through redundancy. With 16 propellers and 16 electric motors, if several stop functioning, the remainder of the propellers can land the aircraft safely to the ground. There is also a backup battery in the event the gas engine stops working.
Simplicity will be key here as the aircraft will have no tiltrotors, no transmission and no retractable landing gear. Single failure tolerant architecture ensures safety. Fixed landing simplifies the aircraft by having less moving parts (which means there is less of a chance something could go wrong, break or wear out), keeps the cost of the aircraft down, will keep the landing gear virtually maintenance free and keeps the weight of the aircraft down. The aircraft will have spectacular views for the passenger as the cockpit will have a tall wrap around window design allowing full left, right and front visibility.
Weslax foresees their aircraft being used for on-demand air taxi service, purchased for a personal air vehicle, medical deliveries, on-demand patient transportation, disaster rescue and for recreation use. The company plans to make their aircraft very affordable allowing underserved communities to commute with ease in the urban city environment and between two cities. In addition, the company is manufacturing an autonomous uncrewed air cargo hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft which can lift and drop off packages by itself.
- Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft
- Piloting: Autonomous
- Capacity: 1 passenger
- Maximum cruise speed: 70 km/h (43 mph)
- Range: 60 km (37 m)
- Flight Time: 60 minutes
- Propellers: 16 propellers
- Electric Motors: 16 electric motors
- Batteries: Has on-board batteries
- Dimensions: 4,000 mm (L) X 2,700 mm (W) X 1,380 mm (H). 13 ft (L) X ~9 ft (W) X 4-1/2 (H). The dimensions of the aircraft include the width of the propeller frame. The aircraft can land in a standard parking space.
- Power source: Hybrid-electric
- Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
- Windows: Full front window with large side windows
- Landing gear: 4 fixed leg-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. There is a backup battery in case the engine fails. Single failure tolerant architecture ensures safety.