Based on its manned electric flight experience gained from its VTOL technology demonstrator aerobatic plane aEro 1, Dufuor Aerospace is working on a new model aEro 2, to provide fast air transportation at the same cost per km as a car but more environmentally friendly.
Last year, the startup obtained funds as part of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument to accelerate the development of the aircraft and has now completed the first tests. According to the company, over the course of 550 test flights – expanding the flight envelope incrementally –demonstrated a high degree of stability and control in all conditions, including transitions from hover to cruise and back again. Inspired by Canadair’s pioneering work fifty years ago with the CL-84, research has shown that tilt-wing convertible aircraft offer a high degree of safety and efficiency.
Felix Rubin, Lead Engineer for aerodynamics, said, “At larger scales, slipstream airflows over tilting wings become more turbulent and harder to predict, and care is needed to ensure that the aircraft remains stable during the transition. With this large-scale unmanned aircraft, we have now been able to demonstrate that we can achieve that stability at high Reynolds numbers.”
Jasmine Kent, CTO, added, “From our simulations, we expected that our proprietary tilt-wing control system developed over the last two years in collaboration with ETH Zurich would perform well. Nonetheless, it is encouraging to see that its performance and stability exceeded our expectations.”
Thomas Pfammatter, CEO OF Dufour, commented, “I’m proud that the team has been able to build on the electric propulsion technology and flight test processes we pioneered with aEro 1. We now have solid experience with both manned electric fixed-wing and eVTOL technology. As a helicopter rescue pilot, I’m looking forward to bringing these together.”