The kit helicopter maker Rotor X (previously known as RotorWay) is teaming up with Advanced Tactics Inc. on a new eVTOL design called the eTransporter.
The companies unveiled their Transporter concept in a blog post on June 29. They envision both gas/diesel-powered and fully electric versions of the six-seat, quadrotor aircraft, which they’re pitching for both passenger-carrying and cargo applications.
California-based Advanced Tactics is the developer of the Black Knight Transformer, a multi-rotor flying/driving technology demonstrator that made its first hovering flight in 2014. The company has received two Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer contracts under the U.S. Air Force’s Agility Prime program and will take the lead on design and rapid prototyping of the Transporter, according to the blog post. Rotor X, which is headquartered in Chandler, Arizona, will serve as prime manufacturer.
Both the conventionally powered and fully electric versions of the Transporter are targeting a maximum take-off weight of 8,000 pounds (3,630 kilograms), cruise speed of 140 miles per hour (225 kilometers per hour), and the ability to hover out of ground effect at over 20,000 feet (6,090 meters). Target range for the fuel-powered version is over 300 nautical miles (555 km) with 2,500 lb. (1,135 kg) of payload, while the electric version is targeting a range of over 200 nm (370 km) with 1,600 lb. (725 kg) of payload.
Rotor X and Advanced Tactics said they plan to conduct their first flight this fall, then begin testing an experimental aircraft in Alaska during the summer of 2022. The companies said a pilot-optional version of their Transporter could be an ideal cargo aircraft for mining companies in Alaska, including Rotor X shareholder Nova Minerals, which is developing the Korbel Main gold deposit there.
Rotor X also plans to develop a commercial air taxi version of the aircraft, which it said it aims to certify with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in 2024 — the same ambitious timeline as some leading eVTOL makers that are much further along in development.