MANASSAS, Va. , - Electra.aero, Inc. in Manassas, Va., unveiled the test vehicle for its hybrid-electric ultra-short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) aircraft for urban and regional transportation.
Electra's eSTOL technology demonstrator (TD) is a blown-lift aircraft using distributed electric propulsion, which enables the airplane to take off and land in very short spaces. Electra's proprietary blown lift technology uses eight motors to provide additional wing lift, and hybrid-electric power that provides internal recharging capabilities for aircraft batteries, eliminating the need for new ground infrastructure.
The two-seat piloted TD aircraft showcases the Electra eSTOL technology at full scale and will be flown this summer in an extensive flight test program to track performance and inform the design of Electra's 9-passenger production aircraft. The company conducted a fully integrated test of its proprietary hybrid-electric propulsion system last year.
Electra says its eSTOL production aircraft will deliver the operational flexibility of a helicopter with the safety and economics of a conventional fixed-wing aircraft. Electra plans to fly a prototype of the 9-passenger production aircraft in 2025, with certification and entry into service in 2028 under FAA Part 23 regulation. Electra has designed the eSTOL aircraft so that hydrogen or battery-electric propulsion systems can be used in the future when those technologies are commercially viable.
Electra currently holds letters of intent from more than 30 customers for over 1200 of its 9-passenger production eSTOL aircraft, totaling more than $4 billion in market demand. The company recently won a $30 million U.S. Air Force funding award as part of a larger $85 million funding effort. The aircraft was rolled out at Electra's development facility at the Manassas, Virginia Regional Airport in a ceremony that included guests from the aviation industry, government, the investor community, and Electra customers.