Designed to seat 5, the ATEA features in-wing lift rotors and a flight range of over 250 miles (400+ kilometers).
Ascendance was co-founded in 2018 by Jean-Christophe LAMBERT, Benoit FERRAN, Clément DINEL and Thibault BALDIVIA, who together have 26 years experience working on hybrid and all-electric aircraft. Members of the team were involved with the acclaimed Airbus E-FAN project, which set out to achieve records in zero-emission and low emission propulsion. According to the the founders, the mission of Ascendance is to “leverage the vast potential of electric technologies to develop sustainable flight solutions for today and tomorrow”.
In order to optimize range for its planned mission profiles, the team at Ascendance is opting to use a hybrid-propulsion system. This will reduce emissions, as compared to traditional aircraft on similar flights, by 80%. However, the aircraft features a ‘modular architecture’ system design, meaning that it will eventually support hydrogen propulsion and other kinds of fuel to achieve completely zero emission flight.
Although similar 5-passenger VTOL designs are currently under development, such as Vertical Aerospace’s VX4, Joby Aviation’s eVTOL, Archer Aviation’s ‘Maker’ and Lilium’s eVTOL Jet, the ATEA’s design joins a limited number of VTOL aircraft that will use hybrid propulsion rather than all-electric propulsion. These hybrid-propulsion VTOLs are often aimed at replacing or augmenting traditional fixed-wing aircraft on regional intercity routes, rather than short distance intracity travel. However, an aircraft like the ATEA could potentially be well-suited for both.
Said Jean-Christophe Lambert, co-founder and CEO of Ascendance, “The design of ATEA is the concrete reflection of our values, our experience and of our know-how. The aircraft we are presenting to you is the result of huge efforts by our R&D department, tests and trials on 4 prototypes, and a great deal of thought on costs and the ease of flying an aircraft. We set-up Ascendance Flight Technologies with a very clear vision of what we wanted to achieve: to accelerate transition towards green aviation thanks to hybrid technology”.
Why it’s important: Although Ascendance’s ATEA is only in its initial development stages as compared with all-electric aircraft like the Lilium Jet or Vertical Aerospace’s VX4, it joins a growing market of hybrid-propulsion air taxis. Differentiating itself by using hybrid propulsion rather than pure electric propulsion will give the ATEA a chance to address markets that all-electric eVTOL air taxis may not be able to access due to their more limited range. As the various markets for each propulsion type emerge, an ever clearer picture of the overall market for all new VTOL aircraft will form.