Initial approach being applied to sub-scale model of Pegasus eVTOL business jet 

A consortium led by Callen-Lenz that is researching a new approach to flight control systems  for next-generation novel aircraft has been awarded a grant of £1m from the UK Government through the ATI Programme. 

Project NOMAD (Novel Control Approaches to Complex Aircraft Dynamics) is an 18-month  research programme to develop a technology framework, common interface and advanced  low-workload cockpit for complex configuration aircraft. The framework provides a  methodology – the ‘model-based journey’ – that can be applied to aircraft being developed  for the urban air mobility (UAM) and personal air vehicle (PAV) markets. 

The consortium includes the Satellite Applications Catapult, and the project will also  develop enhanced SATCOM systems suitable for the operation of highly maneuverable civilian platforms in congested urban terrains. 

An initial application of the new approach developed in Project NOMAD is being made to  the Pegasus Vertical Business Jet (VBJ), an advanced business jet powered by an  environmentally-friendly hybrid power plant with a novel fan-in-wing configuration that has  vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) capability. 

The project is using two quarter-size Pegasus VBJ aircraft – approximately 4m wing tip-to-tip  and 4m nose-to-tail. Flight trials will commence in March 2022, and the outputs will  significantly de-risk the critical design elements and advance the full-scale aircraft program. Business Minister Paul Scully characterized: “The work Callen-Lenz is doing to make the future of urban air mobility, such as  flying taxis and personal air vehicles, a reality is a fantastic example of the aerospace  sector’s commitment to innovation. Technologies like these will help protect jobs  and cut emissions for decades to come. 

The ATI Program is a joint UK Government and industry investment to maintain and grow the UK’s competitive position in civil aerospace design and manufacture. It is delivered through a partnership between the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), Department for  Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Innovate UK and addresses technology, capability and supply chain challenges. 

Why it’s important: Additional government support for new and novel flight control infrastructure, in this instance from the UK, is driving the next generation of automation and flight path guidance for fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and autonomous/future eVTOL aircraft designs. Analogous examples include the Agility Prime initiative in the United States, which includes substantial funding for eVTOL aircraft from the United States Air Force.

Posted by Naish Gaubatz

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