Elroy Air flew the world’s first turbogenerator-hybrid electric vertical take-off and landing (hVTOL) aircraft on November 12 at its test-flight facility in Byron, California – the Chaparral C1.
source.image: Elroy Air
The C1 is an autonomous hVTOL aircraft, with distributed electric propulsion and a turbogenerator-battery architecture. The milestone marks a significant step forward in the company’s mission to enable same-day shipping to every person on the planet and agile, low-risk resupply for Defense.
The tandem-wing design employed in the air cargo role has a pusher propeller for forward flight, six propellers under twin booms for vertical lift and a pod to carry 150 lb (68 kg) of cargo under the central fuselage.
The hybrid electric powertrain has variable-pitch rotors with a large diameter to turn more slowly, for redundancy and to reduce noise. Its 150 mile (240 km) operational radius is optimized for express delivery. Ground robots are planned to be employed for ground handling and one pilot would be responsible for an entire aircraft fleet.Capacity: 230 kg.Max takeoff weight: 551 kg.Powerplant: 6 × electric rotors.Powerplant: 1 × pusher propeller.Range: 480 km.