20.3 D2P2 : Accelerated Development of Hybrid Electric Distributed Propulsion for eVTOL and eSTOL ORBs
Electra is commercially developing a Hybrid electric Short Takeoff and Landing (eSTOL) aircraft with an estimated market of over 20,000 aircraft in the next 15 years. Electra, with significant investor funding, is currently developing a technology demonstrator flight test vehicle for commercial applications that will be flight tested starting in late 2021. This vehicle will serve as a testbed for technologies applicable to eSTOL and eVTOL alike such as distributed hybrid electric propulsion and simplified flight deck and vehicle operations. eSTOL aircraft offer significant performance advantages in payload, range, speed, noise, and cost over eVTOL aircraft. Electra eSTOL aircraft expect to achieve extreme short field capability (100 ft. ground roll) and a 2-3 times greater payload or 10+ times greater range compared to an eVTOL vehicle of the same size and weight. Electra’s eSTOL approach is an important addition to the diversified Agility Prime aircraft and technology portfolio. In this 15-month SBIR , the Air Force will enhance this flight test and conduct engineering work to accelerate the development of an Air Force version of this vehicle.
Key activities include:
- Development of specific Air Force vehicle requirements, sizing, and performance.
- Accelerating the introduction of a lightweight hybrid-electric turbogenerator applicable to both VTOL and STOL aircraft.
- Enhancing Flight Test Instrumentation and conducting flight tests to generate real flight test data for model calibration. The Electra team members have extensive R&D and certification experience, having developed 80+ research vehicles and 6 production vehicles. The Electra team is pleased to bring their experience and enthusiasm to the Air Force and the Agility Prime project through this SBIR .