Electra.aero plans to complete the preliminary design review for its hybrid-electric short take-off and landing (eSTOL) demonstrator aircraft this month, with plans to fly the full-scale prototype next year.
Founded by John S. Langford III, known for founding and leading Aurora Flight Sciences for 30 years, Electra.aero is premised on delivering on-demand regional mobility through hybrid-electric eSTOL aircraft.
Electra’s two-seat, 3,000-pound (1,360-kilogram) demonstrator uses eight electric motors with an installed power of about 260 kW and a custom turbo-generator for its powerplant, through which it hopes to demonstrate ability to take off and land using about 100 feet (30 meters) of runway.
The startup also announced via the December issue of its company newsletter the selection of Raleigh, North Carolina-based Blue Force Technologies as its lead partner in the design and fabrication of Electra’s technology demonstrator.
“We are excited to be working with this high-energy team to get the technology demonstrator safely and quickly in the air and start collecting flight test data,” said Scott Bledsoe, Blue Force founder and president.
In partnership with MIT, Electra was also awarded a small business technology transfer (STTR) contract by the U.S. Air Force’s Agility Prime, under which the company will “produce models and techniques for precision control of vehicles with distributed propulsion as well as engage with potential military and government customers,” according to the company. Most recipients of Agility Prime phase one STTR contracts were granted the maximum amount of $150,000.
Unlike fellow eSTOL startup Airflow, Electra intends to focus solely on hybrid-electric powertrains for its aircraft, which the company told eVTOL.com it views as a safer option than battery operation with more range and endurance capabilities.
Electra is the newest corporate member of the National Aeronautic Association and welcomed two new members to its team: Alejandra Uranga, professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of Southern California, as technical advisor; and JP Stewart, previously program manager for the Aurora-Porsche eVTOL development project, as program manager for Electra’s technology demonstrator aircraft project.