XTI Hybrid VTOL aircraft under development

This looks like an interesting project, if it ever gets off the ground – see what I did there?

This is a new concept ducted-fan vertical take-off (VTOL) aircraft that could be commonplace if it works as billed.

The six-seat XTI TriFan 600, say the designers, “will have the speed, range and comfort of a business jet and the ability to take off and land vertically, like a helicopter. It will travel at over 300 miles an hour, with a range of over 1,200 miles. Using three ducted fans, the TriFan lifts off vertically and then its two wing fans rotate forward for a seamless transition to cruise speed and its initial climb. It will reach 35,000 feet in just ten minutes and cruise to the destination as a highly efficient business aircraft.”

XTI Aircraft Company (XTI) began looking for investors last year and this month have announced that they have entered into an agreement with Bye Aerospace to develop a hybrid/electric prototype.

“We’re continuing with our plan,” said Robert J. LaBelle, XTI’s Chief Executive Officer, “but we’ve made two important changes. First, with the engineering expertise of the team at Bye Aerospace, this first prototype will be powered by a state-of-the-art hybrid-electric propulsion system. Second, because we’re now able to significantly reduce the weight and cost of producing the TriFan, our first prototype will be a full-size TriFan 600 instead of the 65% subscale version.”

“We’re replacing the transmission, gears, two large heavier engines and other components,” LaBelle continued, “with electric motors, batteries, generators, and a single smaller turboshaft engine.”

“Advanced electric power for aircraft makes the hybrid-electric configuration compelling for the TriFan,” added George Bye, founder, Chairman and CEO of Bye Aerospace. “We can now bring together into one extraordinary airplane, battery power, electric motors, and a light efficient engine in a vertical takeoff and landing platform. The TriFan will achieve unprecedented performance and operating economy while being safer, lighter, quieter and cleaner.”

XTI concept plane on the ground by a lighthouse

So, as a traveller, do you think this could be a ‘game changer’?

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