Transcend Air, maker of the Vy400 tilt-wing VTOL aircraft, has selected GE Aviation for its turboshaft engine and Kaman Aerospace for its manufacturing partner.
Transcend Air’s V400 is a powerful trans-city VTOL aircraft that’s been in development by the Boston-based company for several years. Unlike many other VTOL concepts in development, the Vy400 will be a hybrid-electric aircraft rather than an all-electric aircraft. According to the company’s team, this will give the Vy400 a much longer range, allowing for intercity travel as an offered service. Planned initial routes for the Vy400 include NYC to Boston, Los Angeles to San Francisco, and Montreal to Toronto. All these flights will be offered at ‘Jet Speeds’, meaning each can be made in under an hour at cruise speeds of 410 miles per hour.
After successfully iterating many prototypes of the aircraft, Transcend Air is now ready to move toward the manufacturing stage, with a planned commercial launch in 2025. To this end, it has selected General Electric to supply its engine, and Kaman Aerospace to build the aircraft itself. According to a recent press release, GE will work with Transcend Air to create a modified version of its CT7-8 turboprop engine, upon which the aircraft will be certified with the FAA. Kaman Aerospace meanwhile will be the prime manufacturer of the aircraft with over 70 years of experience as a supplier of complex aircraft structures and sub-assemblies.
Said Gregory Bruell, Co-Founder and CEO of Transcend Air: “Because of the Vy’s high speed, we can complete many more passenger trips per aircraft. The combination of that with VTOL is key to our revolutionary economics, and Kaman will be key to us scaling up production to meet the huge demand that our mass market fares will drive.”
Said General Electric Vice President of GE Rotorcraft Engines Harry Nahatis: “We immediately recognized the Vy 400’s disruptive potential in both civil and military rotorcraft applications, and we are excited to contribute our own world-class engines and technical expertise in helping to ensure the Vy’s success.”
Why it’s important: Transcend Air’s Vy400 represents a unique market segment for the upcoming aerial mobility industry by providing higher speed, longer distance travel. Unlike many existing VTOL concepts, Transcend Air is aiming to supplement regional travel rather than providing shorter intra-city options. Although this is fairly unique, the company is signaling that it’s moving forward toward certification and operation by selecting two long time experts in high-volume aircraft manufacturing and subcomponents.