UK-based Skyfly Technologies has developed a 2 seat, side by side compact E-VTOL dubbed the “Axe by Skyfly”.
The aircraft is capable of vertical flight, but has wings, and uniquely its design does not require rotating engines or rotating wings – instead the motors are at a fixed angle saving weight and complexity and improving safety and strength.
According to Skyfly, the two pairs of compact wings give the Axe a longer range than its competitors, allow glide landings for greater safety and even enable an energy saving, standard “fixed wing aircraft” take-off and landing where a conventional runway is available.
Safety is ensured in three ways – firstly the Axe has a quadruple redundant control system which stabilises the aircraft in hover and transition zones using the 8 motors powering 4 propellors; secondly, conventional fixed-wing mechanical controls allow for a glide landing in the event of a power failure and thirdly, a rocket launched ballistic parachute system allows the entire aircraft with its occupants to be brought to safety if need arises.
Michael Thompson CEO and Chief Engineer William Brooks of Skyfly give the Axe a range of 100 miles fully electric and 200 miles using a novel, lightweight rotary generator capable of charging the batteries whilst in the air.
With a base price of £150,000 (ex. VAT) the aircraft is now available to order. Skyfly has chosen to focus on the private market and does not look to enter the Urban Air Mobility sector until later down the line and to this effect will be certifying the aircraft under CAA BCAR Section S which allows for less costly and faster certification route such that customers should be able to fly in under two years from the opening of the order-book.
Skyfly will be working alongside the Light Aircraft Association in liaising with the CAA on certification and pilot licensing of the aircraft. The support has been well received by Steve Slater, the CEO of the LAA who has written a letter in support of Skyfly “…the LAA is in a position to support the Skyfly project, with our engineering team working with you to develop means of engineering verification and compliance with the Civil Aviation Authority regulation, allowing this hugely exciting project to take to the skies.”
Michael explains “The Axe gives customers the ultimate flexibility and opens a whole new market for new and existing pilots that would not have previously been available; With the Axe, you can fly from your garden to your friend’s house, avoiding traffic jams and cutting journey times to a quarter compared to using a car – as well as enjoying stunning views along the way”. Michael further explains “due to the advanced flight control systems, if you can fly a small consumer drone, like any of the DJI drones, I could teach you within 1 hour to controlled hover the Axe”.
Superyacht owners have also expressed interest and reserved build slots, as the Axe comes with removable wings that allow the aircraft to be compactly stored. The Axe also features an advanced autonomous landing system which enables the aircraft to automatically land in emergency situations. The system can also be made compatible for yachts with a local positioning system that is GNSS independent and features deck roll and pitch movement detection and compensation using a ground-based unit that communicates directly to the flight controller in the aircraft.
The Axe has undergone an extensive test programme using a prototype which has shown to perform well, we refer to the video on its website or Youtube.