SAMAD aerospace is a British VTOL designer that presented its first hybrid-electric Starling Jet at Singapore Air Show in February 2018, later followed by an all-electric version, the e-Starling. In a stepping stone to the latter, the company now presented the Q-Starling as a project of smaller-scope, yet with innovations and technologies that will advance their capabilities to the benefit of the e-Starling development.
While the e-Starling will carry 7 people, SAMAD’s latest creation is designed as a high end, luxurious and fast Personal Air Vehicle for one pilot and a passenger. The designer Norman Wijker took cues from iconic aircraft and other vehicles that embody that vision, such as the Handley-Page Victor, the P51 Mustang and modern sports cars for the cockpit experience.
SAMAD is an eVTOL designer, but is critical of the Urban Air Mobility market, saying that regulators could potentially never allow flight over populated areas, putting a halt to the “free-for-all” dream that is the current concept of air taxis. They see a lot of risk in the market, with a lot of of early players becoming obsolete and never making it to market. They market the Q-Starling as an aircraft that requires no new infrastructure or air traffic management. It will not be autonomous, instead it will be easily controllable for anyone with a private pilot license that takes a 10-hour training. Therefore, they see it as a stepping stone to the bigger e-Starling, giving them experience with some of their technologies while the market surrounding Urban Air Mobility develops.
The Q-Sterling features a central, large-diameter lifting fan for vertical flight, hidden during forward flight by doors. So-called Reaction Control System (RCS) fans in the wing tips and horizontal tailplane maintail control and balance. The RCS is completely governed by the fly-by-wire system. In fact, the Q-Sterling does not even feature rudder pedals. There is only a single side-stick controller to command all three axes of rotation, as well as vertical and forward movement. SAMAD claims only 10 hours of extra instruction beyond standard PPL training is needed to learn how to fly the aircraft.
The hybrid propulsion system consists of a turbo-generator running on either bio-diesel or Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) and batteries. In vertical flight and power-intensive scenarios, both the turbo-generator and the batteries drive the fans. In forward flight the turbo-generator can act as a turbo-jet.
The Q-Starling will give owners the ultimate luxury in personal hybrid-electric flying. The efficient sustainable Q-Starling will give passengers unparalleled point-to-point mobility options.
– Dr. Seyed Mohseni, CEO of SAMAD aerospace