The dream of flying cars is ancient, and yet, we have yet to see this dream become a reality.
But a manned alpha prototype of an eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft has been revealed, bringing us closer to that dream.
While the experimental prototype LX-1 doesn’t display the dashing looks from earlier renders, its aluminum frame was designed to test the propulsion system, consisting of four banks of at least 72 small vertical-lift fans. And it has two larger diameter fans at the rear, giving it some horizontal thrust, according to New Atlas.
LEO Flight previously announced its LEO Coupe, which is designed by award-winning designer Carlos Salaff of SALAFF Automotive, and features a revolutionary, proven electric propulsion system created by Pete Bitar of Electric Jet Aircraft, a DARPA-funded propulsion system. The aircraft is called a personal automobile for the sky by its creators.
The aircraft will have up to a zooming speed of 250 mph (400 kph) and be able to travel 300 miles (483 km) on a single charge.
The final version of the aircraft will run no less than 200 small vertical jets, each being 4.4 inches (11 cm) in diameter and producing 11.7 lb (5.3 kg) of thrust for a total of over 2,300 lb (1,043 kg) of thrust, Bitar now told New Atlas.
The aircraft will have an empty weight of 1,100 lb (499 kg) and be able to carry a 510 lb (231 kg) payload.
The aircraft will be rather compact, with a size of 10′ x 20′ (3m x 6m). LEO Coupes’ size enables it to be privately owned, used as an air taxi, and as a vehicle that can be landed anywhere where space is limited.
The aircraft will have gull-wing doors leading into a cabin for three adults, including the pilot. According to LEO Flight, the aircraft will have easy-to-learn semi-autonomous controls that make flight simple.
The vehicle’s wings will be non-exposed rotors to eliminate danger to those around the aircraft.
LEO plans to sell the Coupe as a personal eVTOL aircraft, promising a somewhat optimistic range of around 300 miles (480 km) out of just 66 kWh of battery, with a price tag of $459,900.
VertiStop for mobile charging
LEO Flight also announced its rapid-charging solution for the LEO Coupe, VertiStop. While LEO Coupe can be recharged at home and landed on just about any surface, travelers can also use VertiStop as a compact charging and landing pad.
VertiStop can be rapidly deployed on rooftops and parking structures. Supporting LEO Flight’s pathway to building an extensive network of charging and parking spots.
The VertiStop unit provides a power grid connection and fast charging for the vehicle. Its integral solar arrays supplement energy needs, while its mesh top will help absorb air currents from LEO’s jet system.
It also looks ideal for fire rescue, medevac, Coast Guard, tourism, exploration, and most terrain without developed road infrastructure.
This novel aircraft is an all-in-one vehicle with its abilities, looks, and its probable forms of utilization.