Zuri (technology demonstrator)
Prague, Czech Republic
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 urban air mobility (UAM) 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.
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.
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. The purpose of bringing the technology demonstrator to the airport is to perform extensive ground testing of all the aircraft's avionics systems, controls, propellers, electric motors and power source. The next step for Zuri is to perform hover tests of the aircraft.
The recorded the technology demonstrator reveal with many photos of employees installing the various parts of the aircraft a field of grass at the airport. The eVTOL demonstrator is slightly smaller than the company's production model and the aircraft looks similiar to a two-seater general aviation airplane (like a Cessna 150) with a high wing and tricycle wheeled landing gear.
It has a wingspan of 11 m (36 ft) has eight propellers and eight electric motors located on large diamter booms which are located under the high wing. The demonstrator is powered by lithium batteries. However, the production aircraft will have a hybrid-electric power source. While the pictures of the demonstrator don't show the completed aircraft from the rear, the VTOL propellers will only be used for vertical takeoff and landing and the company's concept design aircraft has a pusher propeller for foward flight.
The company's goal is to manufacture on-demand, door-to-door mid-range flights with cruising speeds of 300 km/h (186 mph), with a range of 700 km (435 miles) and without the need of airports. The company states the minimum landing space for their aircraft is 15X15 meters (49X49 feet). In addition, this will happend with technology that doesn't compromise the passenger's safety and comfort.
Zuri anticipates it will reveal a new hybrid-electric VTOL passenger aircraft model called the Zuri 2.0 sometime in October 2021. The company has not disclosed when the estimated time when an actual production model might be seen.
- Aircraft type: eVTOL subscale technology demonstrator
- Piloting: Remote
- Cruise speed: Unknown
- Range: Unknown
- Flight Time: Unknown
- Propellers: 8 VTOL propellers, 1 rear pusher propeller
- Electric Motors: 9 electric motors
- Power source: Batteries
- Fuselage: Unknown
- Windows: Standard small airplane windows
- Wings: 1 high wing
- Tail: Unknown
- 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 (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.