Horizon Aircraft has upgraded the design of its prototype hybrid eVTOL aircraft and is now targeting the future production of a seven-seat capacity model.
Initially the company had planned to design and produce a five-seat aircraft. However, due to positive flight-testing results of its 50% scale prototype alongside sophisticated aerodynamic, structural, and electrical analysis, the company now believes that it can expand its initial prototype to include room for one pilot and six passengers.
Potential customers in the medevac, business aviation and commercial cargo sectors have advised the company that larger aircraft with lower passenger seat miles costs are better aligned with their needs. The company’s new enlarged prototype design is now called Cavorite X7, replacing the Cavorite X5.
The Cavorite X7 aircraft would have a gross weight of an estimated 5,500lbs with a projected useful load of 1,500lbs. With an estimated maximum speed of 250mph and an average range of over 500 miles with fuel reserves, the company believes that this experimental aircraft, if eventually licensed for commercial use, would be well-positioned to excel in medical evacuation, critical supply delivery, disaster relief, and special military missions. The company believes that the proposed aircraft would also be attractive for Regional Air Mobility – moving people and cargo 50 to 500 miles.
Unlike many in its category, the Cavorite X7 is being designed with a hybrid electric power system. The company is designing the Cavorite X7 such that it could, after its vertical takeoff, re-charge its batteries enroute when it is flying in a configuration like a traditional aircraft. After a vertical landing and completion of a mission, the company is designing the Cavorite X7 to recharge its battery array in under 30 minutes to be ready for its next mission.
Brandon Robinson, CEO of Horizon Aircraft, said; “The shift to a seven-seat aircraft has been discussed since the beginning of our hybrid eVTOL initial concept. It’s a size that just makes sense commercially. We are very confident our unique fan-in-wing technology can support this new and larger platform and our testing results have provided us with confidence that we can potentially scale to an even larger aircraft.”
Horizon believes that its innovative approach and technology will allow the Cavorite X7 to fly 98% of its mission in a very low-drag configuration like a traditional aircraft.
The company also believes that flying most of the time as a normal aircraft is also safer and will make the aircraft easier to certify than other radical new eVTOL designs. The Cavorite X7 will be powered by a hybrid electric system that will recharge the battery array in-flight and post-flight, while also providing significant system redundancy. Horizon is continuing the testing of its 50%-scale aircraft that it believes will reduce technical risk moving forward as it continues to develop its full-scale aircraft.
According to Horizon, its flagship Cavorite X7 design has been attracting significant interest from within the industry and has enabled the company to win several grants and a U.S. Department of Defense research and development contract award.