A Virginia company may have created a new category for the burgeoning advanced air mobility sector when it flew its eSTOL hybrid electric Goldfinch on Nov. 19. The aircraft is powered by a “turbogenerator” that charges batteries to supply electricity to eight motors on the high wing. The motors provide blown lift over the wings, giving the aircraft its STOL performance. The two-place technology demonstrator flew for 23 minutes and got to 3,200 feet after taking off in Manassas.
In the works is a nine-passenger model the company says will land and take off in 150 feet and cruise at 200 MPH for 500 miles. The company claims pre-orders for 1,700 aircraft worth $6 billion. It’s also got up to $85 million in funding from the Air Force to develop the production prototype. “The aim of Electra is to fill a gap in air travel between 50 and 500 miles, where most trips today are made by automobile. The key to saving time is to operate close in, which means getting in and out of small spaces quietly and safely, while still being fast enough to cover long distances,” said Electra CEO John Langford.