Horizon, a company developing a unique eVTOL design, has publicized continued progress by releasing photos of a half-scale prototype of its Cavorite X5 aircraft.
Above: Horizon Aircraft’s founder Brandon Robinson with the Cavorite X5 prototype
Horizon’s Cavorite X5 is an especially unique eVTOL in that it features in-wing lift rotors. According to the aircraft’s design thinking, this will allow for extremely lowered drag in forward flight as compared to aircraft that position their lift rotors externally. In forward flight, the leading and trailing edges of the wings close together to cover and lock over the in-wing rotors. Effectively, this will will allow the aircraft to look and fly completely like an airplane once in cruise mode, without suffering from top speed limits due to drag from external propellers as seen in other eVTOL designs.
The aircraft also will utilize hybrid-electric propulsion rather and an all-electric system, increasing its range and payload capabilities. Overall, the aircraft uses what is known as a ‘lift and cruise’ design, meaning that its in-wing rotors will lift it vertically before being propelled forward for cruise by a larger rear-facing propellor. This ‘lift and cruise’ design is utilized by many of the top aircraft on the market, including Wisk’s Cora.
The current prototype of the aircraft, featured above, features a 22-foot wingspan, a length of around 15 feet, and weighs in at about 500lbs. According to Horizon, the company expects the prototype to begin hover tests within a few weeks, and begin transition flights (flights in which the aircraft moves between vertical flight and forward flight modes) by December.
Above: The aeroshell wings that move to cover the in-wing lift rotors once the X5 is in forward flight. Once the wings are closed in cruise, the aircraft appears and flies like traditional fixed wing aircraft.
Above: A Visual of the Cavorite X5 in forward flight. The aeroshell wings are closed, hiding the in-wing lift rotors.
Ultimately, the design of the Cavorite could give it a 5-passenger capacity, with speeds up to 280mph for ranges up to 310 miles per flight.
In Summer of 2021, Horizon Aircraft was acquired by Astro Aerospace in the company’s efforts to develop a diversified eVTOL aircraft fleet. Other aircraft by Astro feature both manned and unmanned “pod-based” autonomous aircraft. With this acquisition, Brandon Robinson was designated as President of Astro Aerospace, and his since continued his work with both Horizon and Astro.
Why it’s important: While sometimes new aerial mobility companies do not release press releases regularly, this does not mean they are not advancing in development. Horizon’s aircraft features a clever and highly efficient design that could allow it to fly both further and faster than existing designs. As the company moves forward, followers should keep an eye on Horizon to note which industry partners may soon take interest. Applications for the X5 could include personal transportation, payload delivery, search and rescue, and more.
Source // Horizon Aircraft, NewsAtlas