The Pipistrel eVTOL Concept was unveiled at the 2nd annual Uber Elevate Summit on May 8th in Los Angeles, CA. Previously designed as a blended wing body (BWB), the new 801 eVTOL features 8 lift rotors mounted on a lifting surface inboard of the wing. The Pipistrel team also announced that an entire family of eVTOL's was being developed for scalability and mission-tailored performance.
Stage of Development
Range: 60 nautical miles
Top Speed: 175 mph
Capacity: Seating for 5, including the pilot
Propulsion: The 801 features 8 lift rotors for vertical flight and one thrust rotor for horizontal, level flight. There are no tilting components in order to minimize complexity and moving parts. The eVTOL is powered by a redundant system of four battery packs, only two of which are required at any time to fly.
Autonomy: Pipistrel is currently working with Honeywell for its avionics, navigation, and fly-by-wire technology. The pilot's seat in the existing configuration can eventually be converted to a first class passenger seat once full flight autonomy is realized.
“Pipistrel is not trying to reinvent the helicopter by giving the vehicle many rotors, but is rather embracing dedicated propulsion solutions for cruise and vertical lift with built-in scaling capability.” stated Ivo Boscarol, Pipistrel's founder and general manager.
The company is also partnered with Elan, a Slovenian company that specializes in producing sporting goods. Elan also has extensive experience working with advanced materials, including composites, that are used in a number of its products.
Our Take on Pipistrel
Pipistrel is no stranger to building electric airplanes. The Slovenian company has a similar level of experience with designing, producing, and operating electric aircraft as do others like Dufour Aerospace. Because of this experience, Pipistrel will most likely be successful in implementing an electrical propulsion system in their eVTOL. Their biggest design hurdle is the all new BWB (blended-wing-body) configuration that to date the company has not deployed on a conventionally powered aircraft.
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