Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Xeriant joins XTI to develop long-range, high-speed TriFan 600 VTOL aircraft

XTI Aircraft has entered a joint venture with new aerospace holding and operating company Xeriant Aerospace through which they aim to bring the hybrid-electric TriFan 600 VTOL aircraft to market by the end of 2024.

XTI’s revolutionary hybrid-electric fixed-wing TriFan 600 is the fastest and longest-range vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft in the world. It will transform the light commercial aircraft market, providing eco-friendly, on-demand air travel without compromising safety and performance.

The TriFan 600 is both elegant and highly functional. It is visually distinguished by a sleek exterior and three ducted fans in place of large diameter helicopter rotors. The two ducted fans in the wings pivot to enable the aircraft to transition from hover to forward flight and back again for landing, while a third position within the rear fuselage for vertical propulsion.

Xeriant joins XTI to develop long range, high-speed TriFan 600 VTOL aircraft.
The TriFan 600 is a six-seat fixed-wing aircraft powered by three ducted fans. Credit: XTI Aircraft

The propulsion system will consist of GE Aviation’s new Catalyst turboprop engine, which will power generators that power the electric motors. The aircraft will also include three high-powered batteries to provide an extra boost on vertical takeoff, and that can be recharged during flight. XTI also plans to install photovoltaic panels on the top of the fuselage to provide power while the aircraft is on the ground.

The TriFan 600 will fly six passengers in standard configuration, rising to nine when used as an “air taxi.” The aircraft will have the maximum range of 650 nm (1,200 km) in VTOL operations or 1,200 nmi (2,200 km) when it takes off and lands conventionally on runways. It can reach the maximum cruise speed of 300 knots (555 km/h) and fly at an altitude of 29,000 feet.

Xeriant joins XTI to develop long range, high-speed TriFan 600 VTOL aircraft.
Trifan-600 Interior. Credit: XTI Aircraft

The air taxi will use fly-by-wire flight controls that’ll manage the electric motors, thrust vectoring, and control surfaces in response to pilot commands. The 5,800-pound aircraft will have a carbon-fiber structure and will also include a full airframe parachute, allowing it to land safely in an emergency. The TriFan 600 will be used for point-to-point passenger transport and could be used for business commuter aviation, emergency medical transport, urban air mobility, or military missions.

According to XTI, the TriFan 600’s Cleantech design results in sweeping benefits – 40% lower CO2 emissions, 50% lower operating costs, and 50% lower noise compared to similar aircraft or helicopters. While the current design of the aircraft will not be a zero-emissions aircraft, XTI has a plan to make it one in the future without compromising performance. This could involve solutions like replacing the engine with batteries and hydrogen technologies.

XTI expects that the TriFan 600 will take its first test flights in 2022, with certification expected by 2024. The company has already received a total of 202 reservations for the $6.5 million TriFan 600 to date, which include 40 firm orders and 40 options from one undisclosed customer, plus a further 122 commitments backed by cash reservations.