Saturday, May 25, 2024

Zuri presents a large-scale VTOL testbed Skeleton

Zuri, an innovator in the aviation industry, are developing a revolutionary hybrid five-seat vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.

They will showcase a new development shift at the Aero Friedrichshafen airshow. The new development shift is called Skeleton, and it is a large-scale ground testbed that will be used for testing the aircraft’s ergonomics and all its electronics, including avionics, flight control, power and signal cabling, and the hybrid propulsion system for the upcoming next-gen demonstrator.

The Zuri team utilized their experience and knowledge from flight tests of the 11-meter demonstrator Zuri 1.0, as well as from more than ten scaled models developed and flight tested to build the Skeleton. The designers used several materials, such as carbon composite boards, 3D printed parts, plywood, and metal, to build the “Skeleton” testbed and demonstrate the size and shape of the planned next-gen demonstrator.

“Zuri’s main competitive advantage is its hybrid powertrain, which allows us to fly 700 kilometers even with a mandatory reserve,” said founder and CEO Michal Illich. “The engine powering the generator will burn SAF, achieving extremely low emissions. We won’t be dependent only on batteries, which make VTOL aircraft only a kind of ‘city taxis’ that can only make about 20-minute jumps.”

The Zuri five-seater seems like a game-changer in regional transport. With a flight time of around two hours, it could make travel more efficient and convenient. It’s great to hear that the Zuri team has ample experience with flight tests of the 11-meter demonstrator Zuri 1.0.

“It turned out that testing in real conditions is still an important part of development, despite the development of computing options and simulations,” said Jakub Polesny, designer of Zuri. “The skeleton with a wingspan of eight meters represents the full size of the next-gen demonstrator we are preparing.”

The Testbed Skeleton will be a useful tool to expedite the development of the unique Zuri aircraft. The aircraft is capable of taking off vertically like a helicopter, thanks to its eight tilting engines. This makes it an ideal option for personal travel, cargo transport, rescue, and observation missions due to its high efficiency during forward flight, thanks to the wings.

Zuri was able to develop the tilting of the motors as the most effective solution. The original concept in 2017 relied on engines on pylons and the use of a thrust propeller.

“The aerodynamic advantages of tilting the motors were also shown in our last test drone with a three-and-half-meter span,” Polesny said, recalling the recent and successful first flight of the new generation of the Zuri V1NG drone.

“Although the drones were originally supposed to serve only as flying development prototypes, we are hearing from interested parties who would be interested in their practical use,” added Illich.

Apart from The Skeleton, the startup’s flagship product, the company will also be offering a flight simulator VR (1+4) experience at their stand in hall A7. According to the company’s founder, they are the only ones in the industry that can provide virtual reality experience for a pilot in a real flight simulator alongside four passengers simultaneously.

This unique experience was a hit at last year’s exhibition, with long queues of interested individuals waiting to try it out. Zuri has also achieved similar success with this offering in other cities such as London, Dubai, and Washington.