The Urban Aeronautics CityHawk is a hydrogen-powered eVTOL that uses two massive ducted fans (front and rear) for both vertical take-off and forward thrust, by pushing airflow as desired. The CityHawk has intended uses as an air ambulance, air taxi, and even military vehicle. Several full-size functional prototypes of the CityHawk have already been built and flown.
Stage of Development
Aircraft Type: Wingless VTOL
Powerplant: Hydrogen Fuel Cell
Range: 93 miles / 150 km + 20 minute reserve
Top Speed: 160 mph / 270 km/h
Propeller Configuration: 2 front and rear large ducted fans
Passenger/Payload Capacity: 1 pilot and 5 passengers, 1670 lbs (760kg)
Autonomy Level: Piloted
Empty Weight: 1,170kg
Max Takeoff Weight: 1,930kg
Cruise Speed: 234km/h
Min. Fuel Flow: 280kg/hr
Max Fuel: 800 liters
Range (Pilot only): 360km + 20 min reserve
Estimated noise level at 150 feet: 76dBa
From the Urban Aeronautics Website:
Urban Aeronautics’ Fancraft™ technologies comprise an extensive portfolio of patented innovations that transform a basic ducted-fan design into the foundation for a new family of aircraft, uniquely suitable to urban environments, known as Fancraft™.
Three of the core aerodynamic breakthroughs are:
- A “Vane Control System” (VCS), that is comprised of a cascade of vanes at both the inlet and outlet of the ducts that can be deflected either in unison (top and bottom) or differentially to generate either pure side force or pure rolling moment. The ducts (front and back) can also be deflected differentially to generate yaw. The bottom line is that the VCS generates 6 degrees of freedom entirely independent of one another and, for the first time, we have a vehicle that can move sideways without the need to roll and vice versa. In addition, the VCS generates such a great amount of control power that the vehicle can withstand gusts of up to 40 knots.
- A set of louvers or similar devices at the front of the forward duct and rear of the aft duct that open during forward flight to allow the incoming flow to move through the duct and thereby greatly reduce drag to enable forward speeds of up to 120 knots.
- Close aerodynamic tailoring between the lift rotors and the fuselage whereby the fuselage itself functions as an airfoil and generates sufficient lift at high speed (50% of what the aircraft requires) to be able to off-load 50% of the needed lift from the rotors.
Our Take on the CityHawk
Urban Aeronautics has very high levels of aerospace experience on its team (including experts from Boeing and military development) and has completed flights of Cormorant drones which prove the concept for the passenger CityHawk. The company's mission statement: "To create, manufacture and market a family of VTOL, multi-mission, utility aircraft known as Fancraft™ that are capable of operating safely in complex urban and natural environments" is ambitious; yet the experience of the team and the proof of concept technology already in the air warrants the vision. Urban Aeronautics also recently partnered with Hatzolah Air, the world's largest volunteer emergency response organization, to design a version of the CityHawk made for emergency rescue missions.