A British-French team is working on an electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) light aircraft to join those under development for the Uber Elevate project.
Neoptera Ltd, which has bases on Bristol and Toulouse, is developing a winged eVTOL capable of transporting 3-5 passengers or the equivalent payload.
Neoptera is being secretive about details of its project, for commercial reasons, but illustrations released show a passenger (or cargo) pod which swings through 90 degrees during the vertical takeoff/landing stages and level flight in the cruise.
“Winged VTOL aircraft offer the versatility of helicopters (enabling vertical take-off from compact helipads) combined with the energy efficiency of aircraft (benefiting from the lift afforded by fixed wings to extend range),” says Neoptera.
“Thanks to our aerospace experience and our understanding of the challenges involved in the design, development and certification of aircraft systems, we have concentrated our efforts on safety and simplicity whilst at the same time offering a truly novel concept.
“Our aircraft relies on distributed electric propulsion to offer a fault tolerant solution with multiple levels of redundancy. Our aircraft is ready for the next generation in battery technology but the modularity of our concept is also compatible with a range of electric energy sources such as hybrid power unit or fuel cells.”
Neoptera was founded in 2001 and supplies engineering expertise to the aerospace industry, helping major OEM design and develop more electric spacecraft and aircraft systems. The company’s two locations also happen to be Airbus bases.
“Our concept design was finalised in September 2017 and we have been successfully flying scaled prototypes since October 2017 and we are now on our 7th generation of aircraft, a 1.2m span aircraft with a mass of approximately 10kg.
“We now need to scale up to full-size and further detail the design of our aircraft.
“To enable us to proceed to the full scale development of our unique concept, we are now seeking partners and investors. The funds we need to raise will help us continue our journey and recruit the talents we need to achieve our goals and disrupt the light aircraft industry!”