The Pterodynamics Transwing is an eVTOl that utilizes a foldable wing to land in confined spaces. The wing then folds out for sustained and accelerated forward flight.
Stage of Development
From the Transwing website:
"Our patent-pending design has the highest performance metrics of any VTOL aircraft. Given any aircraft footprint size and payload requirements, Transwing aircraft will fly at least twice as far as any VTOL competitor."
The secret is that a Transwing aircraft is a multicopter when taking off and landing and transitions by folding its wings into a fixed-wing aircraft for forward flight. A multicopter configuration is the optimal design for stable takeoff, landing and hover, and a fixed-wing configuration is the optimal design for flying long distances and loitering around a general area for purposes such as inspection, monitoring, surveillance and search. Transwing is the only aircraft design that transitions between these two optimal configurations.
The Transwing design provides many key advantages:
- Most importantly, they are as stable and efficient during takeoff, landing and hover as a helicopter or multicopter,
- Yet as efficient for horizontal flight as any fixed-wing aircraft, permitting significantly higher speeds, flight efficiency and lift-to-drag ratios than a helicopter or multicopter. Transwing aircrafts can easily have lift-to-drag ratios greater than 20 because they have the advantage of having their wings folded back when taking off and landing and while on the ground, so the wings can be significantly longer than other VTOL aircraft designs.
- The in-flight transition of the folding wings enabled by our proprietary wing joint is extremely rapid and seamless due to uniquely benign aerodynamics of all the intermediate configurations between transition enabling Transwing aircraft to fly for extended periods with the wings locked in mid-transition. Highly swept back and dihedral wings during transition reduces buffeting and flow separation, making the transitions smooth and natural. The leading angle of a Transwing aircraft's wing never exceeds 21 degrees, which is critical since stalling is a risk when the when angle of attack exceeds 15-20 degrees. Comparatively, tilt-wing aircraft have angles of attack of about 45 degrees in the middle of their transition, deep in the stall region, which makes them more at risk of failing to stay aloft.
- Because of their folded wing configuration, Transwing aircraft designs are extremely compact for ground storage and during takeoff, landing and hover, with a full-scale four-passenger vehicle being just 18 feet wide by 23 feet long.
- Payload capacities can be as much as 40% or even more of maximum takeoff weight. Quadcopters are famous for their ability to lift multiples of their own weight. Because Transwing aircrafts fold to a fully functioning quadcopter (or other multicopter) configuration for takeoff and landing, its payload can be as high as that of any other quadcopter, minus the weight of its wings and empennage.
- Transwing aircrafts can use either wet fuel or distributed electric propulsion, which offers redundancies, is very reliable, much more quiet and efficient than internal combustion engines and are less expensive to build, maintain and operate, not to mention that they are much better for the environment with zero emission.
- Transwing aircraft have the same cruise and maximum speed profiles as conventional fixed-wing aircraft.
- It's possible to have Transwing configurations where all the motors are used for both take off and landing as well as forward flight so that there is no superfluous motor in either configuration causing unnecessary weight or drag.
- Vehicles can range in size from <5 lbs to 75,000 lbs
Our claims are not just theoretical. We have a working prototype with a four-foot wingspan that proves our assertions and will soon have a second working prototype with a 12-foot wingspan.
Our Take on the Transwing
The PteroDynamics team has positioned themselves as the "eVTOL to beat all eVTOL's" in the flying car and taxi industry, as the company has made a number of bold claims about the performance of their aircraft. According to the company, their performance figures are backed by their 12-foot scale model of the prototype that they plan to build and test, however no expected dates are available at this time. The core advantage of the Transwing, according to Pterodynamics, is the "multicoptor" configuration that then shifts to a conventional aircraft configuration for increased range and speed.
Transwing's success is largely dependent on whether the 12 foot prototype can be scaled effectively to a full-size model and maintain the performance expectations that have been established thus far.
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