Jetcopter Showcases Piston-powered VTOL Mockup

 - April 11, 2019, 7:12 AM
Jetcopter, showing its mockup at Aero Friedrichshafen, refined the design to five seats and 500-hp engines as it seeks to fly the VTOL up to 1,000 km.

German startup Jetcopter is debuting a full-scale mockup of VTOL air taxi this week at Aero Friedrichshafen 2019. To meet all anticipated EASA requirements for certification, the vehicle has been refined from the design unveiled last fall that would have seven seats and two 400-hp auto engines.

With the latest configuration, the Jetcopter will have five seats, the threshold that Jetcopter founder Donatas Skulskis believes will be included in upcoming EASA certification regulations for vertical takeoff and landing vehicles. In addition, the vehicle will be powered by two 500-hp converted piston automotive motors that rotate two 200-cm-diameter air turbines situated on top of the fuselage.

The company is opting for more traditional engines because electric power is limited, providing for only about 30 minutes of flight time, Skulskis said. Instead, the company is looking to provide additional distance capabilities, he added. With 1,000 hp, the vehicle will be able to fly 1,000 km (621 miles) and have a speed of 300 km per hour (186 mph).

The air turbines, meanwhile, create an airflow velocity of 950 km per hour (590 mph) with airflow diverted to four endpoints that can be vectored to any direction. This resembles the system used for the Hawker "jump jet" Harrier in 1967, Jetcopter said. The VTOL further will have hover capability.

While it will provide a maximum takeoff weight of 2,000 kg (4,409 pounds), the Jetcopter is designed to fit in a “medium-sized van garage,” company executives said. Jetcopter has looked at multiple applications for its vehicle, include cargo carriage. Plans call first to fly a drone variant first, potentially in 2021, with a functional prototype following in the next few years.