Samad Aerospace, the UK-based green-tech startup, has surpassed another key milestone of its Starling Program with the successful conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) flight test of the company’s 50% scale fully electric aircraft.
The company’s team of engineers is pioneering the development of the world’s fastest hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, with the goal of revolutionizing civil air transportation globally. Samad has been steadily developing its unique manned and unmanned aircraft with two scaled prototypes (10% and 20%) successfully built, flown, and showcased in reputable international air shows such as Singapore, Geneva and Farnborough. Preparations for the e-VTOL flight tests are already well underway, and 2021 will see the completion of the 50% e-VTOL version of the e-Starling.
During the CTOL flight test, the aircraft took off at a length of 250 meters, demonstrating a great potential for Short take-off and landing (STOL). Take-off and landing were smooth, and the vehicle maintained a comfortable cruise at a speed of (90 mph) airborne for over five minutes. Witnesses were amazed at just how quiet this aircraft was compared to a helicopter.
The flight tests included evaluations on aircraft flight dynamics, performance as well as handling qualities. As the e-Starling adopts a semi blended wing body (BWB) design, it requires a low angle for take-off; it is important to understand when the aircraft is capable of taking-off and at which speed.
Apart from slow and fast taxiing on the runway as well as take-off and landing, the half scale demonstrator also performed banking maneuvers in addition to tests on yaw, pitch and roll. The results show very stable in terms of handling quality, according to Samad’s press release. Brakes, telemetry, redundancy links, and center of gravity (CG) verification were among the other subsystem tests the team conducted.
The ability to take off and land conventionally is an important part of the safety justification for VTOL aircraft, due to its role as a key safety contingency. Proving and fine-tuning the fundamental capabilities of the aircraft such as CTOL demonstrates Samad’s calculated approach to the validation of its prototypes. As Samad’s Aircraft Design Adviser, Professor John Fielding explains, “Safety is key. We have investigated various safety challenges via CFD analysis and now through the flight tests using this 50% scaled CTOL prototype.”
Why it’s important: Samad’s Starling project has potential to result in commercializing the world’s first e-VTOL hybrid aircraft. The company’s CEO, Dr Seyed Mohammad Mohseni, praised his team’s resilience attributing this latest success to their, “striking and unparalleled dedication during unprecedented times.” Samad’s Chief Production Officer explains, “We believe passionately in our proven technology, Covid-19 threw a few challenges our way, but this passion fuels our determination, securing this success.” As explained by Samad’s Chief Technical Officer, Norman Wijker, “CTOL trials are an essential step towards VTOL aircraft development. Ticking off the CTOL flight capability is a crucial step towards the validation of all flight modes. With CTOL trials complete, we will begin hovering trials and the flight trials will be concluded by transition between hovering flight and aerodynamic flight in both directions.”
Source // Samad Aerospace press release