X-Aero, the RMIT GoFly Team, comprises the RMIT School of Engineering, the RMIT Activator
initiative (educating students with an entrepreneurial mindset and supporting venture creation) and dedicated RMIT students and staff, located in Australia. They are creating an evolving concept electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft that has been submitted as a Phase III entry to the Boeing’s GoFly Prize competition. The captain of the team is Stephen Hardiman.
The name of the aircraft is the X-Craft and its purpose is for personal urban air travel. While the aircraft holds one person in an open cockpit, the aircraft can have a pilot or be uncrewed and flown like a drone. Their first prototype was successfully flown in October 2018 and they plan to have an improved prototype for the GoFly Prize Phase III competition. In November 2020, it was reported that the team had built a full-scale prototype and was working on improving the aircraft's battery life.
The aircraft a hoverbike with an open cockpit with seating for one, with four propellers for vertical flight and two ducted fans for forward flight. The ducted fans used for forward flight are at the end of short gimbaled wings (located there for added stability) which will rotate for forward flight. The aircraft has a total of six electric motors, batteries, instrument panel, tricycle wheeled landing gear and a ballistic parachute to increase passenger safety in the event of an emergency.
The four key goals for the aircraft include:
- 100% electric
The students are keeping the weight of the aircraft as low as possible to increase the range of the aircraft. The team is using traditional multi-copter drone design with innovations of their own to make an aircraft which can eventually be sold in the market place.
The inventors see their aircraft being used for several types of flying from personal air travel to air racing. The team is taking advantage of using today’s drone technologies to try to create an aircraft which will allow a pilot to fly their aircraft without the need for a massive amount of flight training hours and expensive flight costs.
- Aircraft type: eVTOL
- Piloting: Crewed or uncrewed
- Capacity: 1
- Cockpit: Open canopy
- Propellers: 4
- Ducted fans: 2
- Electric Motors: 6
- Wings: Tilting wings
- Landing gear: Tricycle wheeled 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. The aircraft also has a ballistic parachute.
- X-Aero website
- X-Aero Facebook
- X-Aero YouTube Channel
- X-Aero Instagram
- X-Aero LinkedIn
- RMIT School of Engineering website
- Video: X-Aero ‘X-Craft’ – Wing Wind Tunnel Testing, X-Aero, Jan. 31, 2019
- Article: Meet the Teams, GoFly.com, Feb. 5, 2019
- Video: X-Aero ‘X-Craft’ – Initial Round Flight Testing, X-Aero, Feb. 5, 2019
- Video: Flight Simulator X – Aero, X-Aero, Feb. 6, 2019
- Video: X-Aero ‘X-Craft’ – Aborted Landing, X-Aero, Feb. 13, 2019
- Video: X-Aero ‘X-Craft’ – Vertical Landing, X-Aero, Feb. 13, 2019
- Video: X-Aero ‘X-Craft’ – Vertical Takeoff Followed by Steady Hover, X-Aero, Feb. 21, 2019
- Article: Young engineers build ride-on drone, RMIT University, Feb. 26, 2019
- Video: 360 degree tour, X-Aero, Mar 1, 2020
- Article: AHS Supports GoFly!, Vertiflite, Nov/Dec 2017
- Article: Flying Solo: GoFly Advances Single-Passenger Air Mobility Solutions, Vertiflite, May/June 2019
- Article: GoFly Inspires Innovation, Vertiflite, May/June 2020
- Article: GoFly Teams Prepare to Fly Again, Vertiflite, Nov/Dec 2020