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Samad Aerospace flies half-scale e-Starling demonstrator

Samad Aerospace has announced successful flight testing of its half-scale e-Starling aircraft in a conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) configuration, paving the way for VTOL testing next year.

Samad Aerospace e-Starling
According to Samad Aerospace, the ability to also take off and land conventionally will be a safety advantage of its e-Starling VTOL aircraft. Samad Aerospace Photo

“CTOL trials are an essential step towards VTOL aircraft development,” Samad’s chief technical officer, Norman Wijker, explained in a press release. “Ticking off the CTOL flight capability is a crucial step towards the validation of all flight modes. With CTOL trials complete, we will begin hovering trials and the flight trials will be concluded by transition between hovering flight and aerodynamic flight in both directions.”

During the CTOL flight testing in November 2020, the remotely piloted electric aircraft took off in a distance of 250 meters (820 feet), then maintained a cruise speed of 90 miles per hour (145 kilometers per hour) for over five minutes, the company said. The demonstrator, which has a wingspan of eight meters (26 feet) performed banking and other maneuvers while the flight test team evaluated aircraft flight dynamics, performance and handling qualities. Also evaluated were brakes, telemetry, redundancy links and the aircraft’s center of gravity.

According to Samad, the aircraft was very stable, and its performance matched the predicted calculations made during preliminary and detailed design stages. The data provided by the flight tests enabled fine-tuning for a subsequent test on autopilot mode.

The company, which has already flown smaller scaled models, plans to complete a half-scale eVTOL version of the e-Starling next year. The company is pursuing both fully electric and hybrid-electric versions of the passenger-carrying aircraft, as well as a two-seat version, the Q-Starling, intended for use as a personal air vehicle.

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