The first time we reported on the XTI TriFan 600 aircraft was in 2017. Since then, the vertical take-off & landing (VTOL) aircraft has continued to develop and recently concluded its first hover test.
On May 8, 2019, XTI Aircraft announced it successfully completed the first test flights of its XTI TriFan 600 VTOL aircraft with a 65% scale prototype. The test flights were conducted in Placerville, California. According to the press release:
“The TriFan 600 prototype completed multiple takeoffs, hover, and landings, which tested and validated the electric motors, battery power system, ducted fan propulsion, flight controls, other electrical systems and instrumentation. The aircraft was on a short tether during the tests due to its location at an airport in northern California where it was constructed. Future flights at a certified UAV test facility will be untethered in hover and will also test forward, wing-borne flight, as well as the transition phase between vertical and forward-flight modes.”
The Thursday flights happened at approximately 6:00 pm PST and through to the following day. The XTI TriFan 600 demonstrated multiple controlled takeoffs, hovers, and landings. The company says it conducted “Multiple runs, all stable and with sufficient power.”
According to XTI Chief Executive Officer Robert LaBelle:
“This is the moment the entire XTI team, our investors, customers, and many others have been waiting for and working toward. In one year, we have progressed from conceptual design to a flying prototype. The aircraft proved to be stable in hover and had no problems throughout several runs.”
Inside The XTI TriFan 600
The XTI TriFan 600 is a 6-seat, hybrid-electric, fixed-wing airplane with 3 ducted fans. The fans lift the aircraft from vertical takeoff up to 340 kt (630 km/h) in cruising speed with a range of 650 nm (750 miles, 1,200 kilometers). While these last numbers are only in its VTOL formation, a straight runaway operation pushes the performance up to 1,200 nm (2,200 km, 1,380 miles).
The final XTI TriFan 600 aircraft design will measure 37.7 ft (11.5 m) of wingspan with a length of 38.7 ft (11.8 m). The 6 ft (1.8 m) diameter propellers on the 2 wings will develop 350 hp (260 kW) electric motors (two of them). Two 5 ft (1.5 m) diameter co-axial ducted propellers are in the aft fuselage, with one motor for each propeller.
For all of this to fly, the XTI TriFan 600 will rely on a single 1,000 hp (745 kW) Honeywell HTS900 turboshaft engine powering 3 generators. Interestingly enough, the 65% scale model uses batteries with an in-house-produced battery pack — with the help of partner Trek Aerospace. Trek Aerospace will also help with the manufacturing of the ducts and assembly of the aircraft. The electric motors and controllers are from MGM Compro, according to eVTOL.News.