Start-up VTOL manufacturer JETcopter is proposing to build a new-design aircraft that uses a pair of top-mounted, piston-engine powered, enclosed centrifugal air, contra-rotating, high-speed turbines that then divert thrust to four vectored nozzles for directional control. The nozzles are mounted to the ends of two sets of wings that pivot to provide lift during horizontal flight.
The company said the six- to eight-seat “copterplane” prototype could be flying within 18 months. Preliminary specifications call for the aircraft to be constructed from carbon fiber composites; use two 400-hp automotive engines; and have a range of 620 statute miles, a top speed of 186 mph, and an empty weight of 2,200 pounds. JETcopter said its turbines are more economical than traditional rotor blades. It plans to unveil a full-scale mockup of the aircraft at AERO 2019 in Friedrichshafen, Germany, in April.
The design of the propulsion system appears to be loosely based on the work of 1940s-era U.S. inventor Alexander Weygers, who patented the “Discopter,” an amphibious saucer-shaped VTOL with internally housed rotors, while working for U.S. Army intelligence during WWII. Weygers’ design was never built.