Zuri 2.0 (production model)
Prague, Czech Republic www.zuri.com
In 2017, Czech entrepreneur Michal Illich began his start-up company and conceptualized an aircraft with wings using hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) technology for advanced air mobility (AAM) between two cities (intercity flight). Illich has stated he started his company due to his frustration with the length of time it takes to fly between two fairly close cities using commercial jets. As of October 2021, the company has raised over €2.4 million in financing. The company is currently hiring.
Illich reports he has founded several companies since 1999 and as of 2010, he is both an active investor in more than 20 companies and an entrepreneur in software and hardware. The company has received funding, is currently looking for more funding and is hiring employees.
September 2017 saw the first sketch of the of the hybrid-electric VTOL passenger aircraft. In May 2018, the first subscale prototype was made to validate their aircraft design. In August 2018, a larger subscale prototype was made and flown. May of 2019 saw the testing of components for their one-seater prototype. In September 2019, wind tunnel testing was performed on a subscale aircraft model. In December 2020, ground testing took place with a large-scale technology demonstrator. On September 20, 2021, Zuri for the first time, revealed its hybrid-electric VTOL subscale technology demonstrator at an airport near Prague for the public. On Jan. 20, 2022, Zuri unveiled its new hybrid-electric VTOL production aircraft named the Zuri 2.0. The Zuri 2.0 has two versions, the Zuri 2.0 is a passenger VTOL aircraft and the Zuri 2.0 Cargo is an air cargo VTOL aircraft.
The Zuri 2.0 (an internal designation) we discuss on this web page is a hybrid-electric VTOL passenger medium-range production model aircraft which comfortably holds one pilot and three to four passengers, depending upon its interior configuration. The aircraft has eight tilting-propellers, eight electric motors, windows larger than conventional general aviation airplanes, one high wing, a fuselage mounted standard tail and has retractable tricycle wheeled landing gear.
The estimated cruise speed of the Zuri 2.0 is 300 km/h (186 mph) with a range of 700 km (435 miles). Four tilt-propellers are located on the main high wing and four tilt-propellers are located on the rear horizontal stabilizers. Each propeller is independently controlled to provide the maximum aerodynamic control and stability for the aircraft in all weather including windy conditions.
The flight control system consists of redundant fly-by-wire controls with a mechanical back up for the airplane control surfaces. A sophisticated autopilot provides flight control based on multiple inputs, traffic or terrain information to ensure the maximum level of safety.
The company also uses computerized vision and other sensors offering supplemental safety features to help pilots with enhanced situation awareness for maximum safety. The system, according to the company, is based on sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms for object recognition, optical flow and 3D modeling.
The aircraft has two power sources. The main power source is a turbine engine that creates electricity for the entire aircraft and the secondary power source is multiple fireproof independent battery packs. The turbine engine also provides electricity during forward flight to charge the battery packs.
While the company has not specifically stated this, many hybrid-electric VTOL passenger aircraft with an array of battery packs on board, will use the battery packs as its sole power source during vertical taking off and landing to keep the noise down in urban areas. Once the aircraft is at a predetermined altitude in forward flight, the turbine engine will turn on providing the electricity for the entire aircraft and to recharge the battery packs. This way, when the aircraft lands, it can again use the battery packs during its vertical landing keeping the aircraft as quiet as possible in the urban environment.
Zuri's goal is to provide people with door-to-door on-demand medium-range air travel between cities, within a city and from the mainland to islands. The company wants to see their aircraft being used on the passenger's own schedule and without the use of airports.
On Sept. 12, 2022, the company published a video on YouTube discussing the advantages of making a full-size mock-up out of cardboard including the aircraft, its seats, doors, interior and control panels for the pilots. While the company uses computer aided design (CAD) software to make their aircraft, having an inexpensive but full-scale mock-up provides the designers with a real world experience of sitting inside the cabin and you can feel if the space if big enough and if there is enough room to move in the cabin. Having a full scale mockup compliments virtual prototyping by allowing important decisions to be made about ergonomics and correct placement of all aspects of the interior and doors of the aircraft.
On October 13, 2022, the company has made several significant design changes. The standard tail with a vertical stabilizer has been changed to a V-tail. The design change will allow for larger propellers and a further increase in the distance between propellers and the ground. In addition, a V-Tail should result in lower aerodynamic drag and help in the aircraft's overall aerodynamics characteristics. The executive interior has been changed to a 1X1 configuration for the passengers, with one pilot at the helm. The previous interior had three seats in the rear and two seats in the cockpit. Now the pilot sits alone in the cockpit and the passengers sit in 1X1 seating in the cabin, providing more elbow room for all passengers.
Minor design changes have also been made to the cargo version whose interior space is now better suited for different types of cargo.
Aircraft type: Hybrid-electric VTOL passenger and cargo aircraft
Piloting: 1 pilot and has fly-by-wire flight control and autopilot technology
Capacity: 4 passengers
Cruise speed: 300 km/h (186 mph)
Range: 700 km (435 miles)
Flight Time: Unknown
Cruise altitude: Unknown
Reserve: 30 minutes reserve
Propellers: 8 tilt-propellers
Electric Motors: 8 electric motors
Power source: Hybrid-electric, with a turbine engine and multiple fireproof independent battery packs. The turbine engine will provide the electricity for the entire aircraft and will also charge the battery packs.
Fuselage: Carbon fiber composite
Windows: Larger than standard windows allowing forward, left, right visibility, for spectacular views
Windows: Canopy over cockpit
Wings: 1 main high wing with winglets
Tail: Fuselage mountain tail Standard tail with longer horizontal stabilizers
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.
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