Samad Aerospace, the British VTOL designer who recently presented their third aircraft, has now achieved the next big milestone in the development of their biggest electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, the e-Starling. After having successfully flown 10% and 20% demonstrators in vertical and transitioning flight, the company has now flown a half-scale (50%) demonstrator aircraft in a conventional take-off and landing flight. The company hopes to be the first to commercialize eVTOL hybrid aircraft.
The demonstrator featured a wing span of 8 meters, a length of 6.7 meters, and was powered by two sets of two electric motors pushing the aircraft behind the main wing. It was airborne after a 250 meter roll and achieved a cruise speed of 90mph, staying quiet throughout the whole flight according to anecdotes. Flight dynamics, performance and handling qualities were validated during the flight during high yaw, pitch and roll maneuvers. The team of test engineers were happy to see the flight data matching calculations and predictions. Now that the first conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) trials are complete, Samad is looking towards flights using autopilot and taking their biggest demonstrator aircraft yet to vertical and transitioning flights. The half-scale model should be fully completed in 2021.
CTOL trials are an essential step towards VTOL aircraft development. Ticking off the CTOL flight capability is a crucial step towards the validation of all flight modes. With CTOL trials complete, we will begin hovering trials and the flight trials will be concluded by transition between hovering flight and aerodynamic flight in both directions.
– Norman Wijker, Chief Technical Officer of Samad Aerospace
Safety is key. We have investigated various safety challenges via CFD analysis and now through the flight tests using this 50% scaled CTOL prototype.
– Professor John Fielding, Aircraft Design Adviser to Samad Aerospace and professor at Cranfield University