South African urban air mobility (UAM) startup Pegasus Universal Aerospace, founded in 2012, has an interesting electric vertical take-off & landing (eVTOL) aircraft that can also operate as an electric conventional take-off & landing (eCTOL) airplane. Its international debut was in May at the EBACE show in Geneva.
The Pegasus One Crosses Fine Line Between eVTOL & eCTOL Aircraft
Pegasus brought onboard Robbie Irons as the company’s CEO, who will be working with founder and chairman Dr. Reza Mia. The hybrid turboshaft/electric-powered Pegasus One VTOL is branded by the company as the “Vertical Business Jet.” While not jet performance yet, the Pegasus One VTOL has a lot to offer.
So far, Pegasus is aiming for a 2,300 hp turboshafts and electric motors. Designed to carry 6 to 8 people, it has a 4,400 km (2,375 nm, 2,733 miles) of range taking off from a runway or 2,124 km (1,146 nm, 1,319 miles) if taking off in VTOL mode. This is enough to cruise at around 800 km/h (430 knots, 500 miles).
The other good news is that the aircraft can access difficult areas where noise ordinances are stricter. In these cases, the Pegasus One VTOL will use its electrical power during takeoff and landing to further lower its noise footprint.
The company is selecting key suppliers for avionics, its retractable landing gear, and motors. So far, GE Aviation is the choice, but Dr. Mia remains open to alternative powerplants.
Dr. Mia told AIN: “In some earlier conceptual design studies, we looked at different ways to achieve the best VTOL performance with a combination of turbofan engines and ducted thrust. But every time you turned 90 degrees [with that design] you lose 5 percent of the available energy and, also, hot gas is a fire risk. This design allows us to land almost anywhere.”
Dr. Mia says Asia is particularly a good market for eVTOL aircraft and UAM. The rising number of high-net-worth individuals and the limited air mobility infrastructure makes an aircraft capable of landing anywhere a helicopter can, but with increased range and speed very appealing.
The eVTOL and eCTOL family is growing and the Pegasus One VTOL forces us to ask where does an eVTOL end and am eCTOL pickup?
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