Based in Tacoma, Washington (USA), Zeva began creating an all electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) passenger aircraft concept design in 2017 for advanced air mobility (AAM). The company first designed and created a sub-scale prototype called Zero (Zero-emissions Electric Vertical Aircraft) with the ultimate goal to create a full sized production aircraft to provide alternative options to people for their daily commute. Zeva has enlisted engineers from around the world to help build their eVTOL aircraft. According to one August 2022 article, the company has raised around $700,000.00 USD to date. The company is actively looking for additional investors to raise $15 million USD to continue research, create flying prototypes, validate technology and sell their aircraft.
The Argon is a long-range hybrid-electric two passenger VTOL and conventional takeoff and landing (CTOL) aircraft. The company decided to use a proven general aviation plane with added VTOL propellers located on booms perpendicular to the top of the main high wing of the aircraft. The aircraft has a cruise speed of 140 mph (224 km/h), a range of 379 miles (609 km) and has a useful load of 650 lbs (294 kg).
The aircraft has one tractor propeller for forward flight and uses four stationary VTOL propellers for takeoff and landings. The aircraft can also be flown conventionally if needed or if preferred by the pilot. The aircraft is still flyable with a 100% loss of power and can land conventionally to safety. An optional whole aircraft emergency ballistic parachute can be ordered for the aircraft.
Zeva chose the Cessna 162 Skycatcher, a proven airframe, to reduce the time it will take to manufacture and sell the aircraft. The Cessna 162 Skycatcher was produced between 2009 and 2013 according to its Wikipedia web page. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements will also be nominal due using a proven airframe. The company will initially offer the Argon as an experimental amateur built kit aircraft. According to the company, kit aircraft is a rapidly growing segment in the USA that currently represents almost 10% of the light aircraft fleet.
Zeva expects the aircraft to be used for personal air travel, business travel and government use. The company foresees their aircraft to be very useful for advanced air mobility (AAM) search & rescue missions, emergency medical service missions, law enforcement, air cargo service, island hopping, mountain use and also ship to shore missions.
Windows: Typical general aviation aircraft windows
Wings: 1 main high wing
Tail: 1 T-tail
Landing gear: Fixed 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 (or ducted fans) and motors on the aircraft so if one or more propellers (ducted fans) or motors fail, the other working propellers (or ducted fans) and motors can safely land the aircraft. There are also redundancies of critical components in the sub-systems of the aircraft. The aircraft can land conventionally if VTOL propellers stop turning. An optional whole aircraft emergency ballistic parachute can be ordered for the aircraft. The aircraft is still flyable with a 100% loss of power.
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