Many companies around the world are currently developing a variety of air taxis, which will be used to transport passengers in cities. The vast majority of air taxi projects involve the creation of electric or hybrid aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing. Such devices have a relatively short range and duration of the flight. This is due to the fact that the VTOL sucks up so much energy stored in the batteries during takeoff and landing.
Founded by a pair of ex-SpaceX Falcon 9 engineers, the American startup Talyn Air has unveiled a two-stage air taxi – a new approach to the eVTOL problem. It is a simple, high-speed, long-range electric plane that gains eVTOL capabilities thanks to a detachable vertical lift platform. It is reported that the final development of the company will be offered not only for civilian passenger transportation but also for the military.
Talyn Air’s eVTOL system is made of a Lift vehicle and a Cruise vehicle that is connected for takeoff and landing. With its eight large rotors mounted in four coaxial pairs, the Lift vehicle attaches to the top of the cruise vehicle for takeoff.
The whole system takes off vertically, transitions to forward flight, and the two vehicles are then separated. The vehicle responsible for vertical takeoff and landing returns to the takeoff pad, and the aircraft itself continues to fly a long distance with 100% battery. It will then do a mid-air docking with another VTOL vehicle at the destination and makes a gentle vertical descent. Instead of landing at an airport in the suburbs with a long commute ahead, passengers make arrival at a centrally located helipad.
With an aerodynamic and efficient airframe, the Talyn Cruise vehicle is able to fly farther and faster than competitors. It can carry five passengers more than 300 miles (483 km) at 200 mph (322 km/h); this is a true regional mobility solution.
From the point of view of energy consumption, the developers believe that such an approach will be more economical since the aircraft’s batteries will not be consumed for takeoff and landing. This should provide an increased range compared to other air taxis.
Interestingly, Talyn Air has already conducted flight tests of prototypes of its technology. At the same time, even at such an early stage, the US Navy and Air Force became interested in the development – they offered the startup contracts for the development and assembly of demonstrators of a promising aircraft. It is expected that work on military contracts will be completed by 2022.