Electra.Aero, developer of a hybrid-electric short take-off and landing aircraft designed for regional air mobility and logistics, has announced successful testing of its proprietary propulsion system.

Above: A rendering of Electra.aero’s eSTOL from Electra’s website. This image demonstrates the aircraft’s signature ‘Blown Lift’ technology, which uses the propellers to push additional air over the wings for extra lift. The aircraft will be able to carry up to 9 passengers or 2500lbs of cargo for over 400 NM of range, and will be able to take off and land within 300 feet.

Electra.aero, which recently acquired fellow eSTOL developer Airflow, has made another major step towards developing its aircraft by successfully testing its hybrid-electric propulsion motor with attached propellers. This static test gives Electra important insights into the performance of its system, and lends further confidence to the company’s flight characteristics goals.

The hybrid system is being integrated into Electra’s piloted technology demonstrator aircraft, to demonstrate and test Electra’s eSTOL ultra-short takeoff and landing performance and fuel burn savings. The technology is currently being developed for Electra’s 9-passenger eSTOL aircraft and will later be scaled to larger aircraft.

Said JP Stewart, Electra’s VP and General Manager: “Tightly coupling airframe and propulsion systems is the hallmark of Electra’s unique and scalable approach to providing net-zero emissions for regional and transport-category aircraft by 2050. Electra’s eSTOL aircraft uses this patent-pending technology for the urban and regional aircraft market, allowing a reduction of the 5 billion tons of CO2 created by inefficient ground transport in personal cars every year.”

Above: Photo of the hybrid-electric propulsion system in static testing

Ultimately, Electra’s goal is to create an aircraft that significantly reduces operating costs, infrastructure requirements, and noise emissions as compared to current aircraft with the same payload and range capabilities. The short-take off and landing capabilities of the aircraft, combined with its low operating costs and high range capabilities, could open up new potential opportunities for regional transportation between cities and outlying areas. Electra already has pre-purchase agreements with several operators including Bristow, Yugo, Flapper, and FlyV.

Why it’s important: While Electra.aero’s aircraft is not an eVTOL, its design will allow it to take-off and land with less than half the energy of a comparable VTOL aircraft, within the distance of a single soccer field. This reduced energy requirement will allow the eSTOL to fly much longer distances than eVTOL aircraft, while still requiring very very minimal infrastructure as compared to modern aircraft with similar capabilities. Although Electra’s eSTOL may not work for urban rooftops, it has immense potential to transform medium-range regional transportation. With a traditional fixed-wing design, we may expect to see Electrica’s aircraft in operation very soon.

Posted by Benji