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Anatomy of an eVTOL modular Flying Car

Sep 09, 2017

Lots of text in my previous two blogs to contour the prospect of a flying car that can takeoff and land vertically, with the use of battery power. Time to recap what's essential. 'New iSetta' offers pictural suggestions how an eVTOL modular Flying Car concept might work by taking 'elements' separately (anatomy), instead of claiming that a certain eVTOL design -will- work.

Will the electric car 'really take off' this time? Part 1
Will the electric car 'really take off' this time? Part 2

'New iSetta' does not make claims that cannot be substantiated, or sidestep concerns, like some eVTOL developers seem to be doing to convince investors. Here is an overview of the eVTOL concepts that have been covered in the media - click. If you want a 1-page pdf overview with handy links to more info, send me an email. My "What If?" suggestions are threefold.

1. To begin with, use an airfoil, so no energy is wasted on keeping the craft up in the air, during which only the rear rotor will be used in a push-capacity. This in itself will be beneficial to range. Don't complicate things by having to use a wing that needs unfolding. Also from a maintenance (costs) point of view.
2. The rotors that you see in the picture are primarily used to VTOL. They also replace an aircraft's traditional control surfaces; roll and pitch can either be kept in check or actively induced (climb, turn). Don't complicate things by trying to integrate the thrusters or fans into an aircraft-type design. Reliable performance is a prerequisite for safety.
3. Why not 'dual-use' the traditional fuselage by turning it into a streamlined, lightweight road vehicle, in which you can straightaway drive off upon landing? What the benefits are, have been described in my previous two blogs: cut costs, eliminate pre- and post-flight. Click here for a quick overview.

There is just no way of ignoring the two complicating factors that make or break an eVTOL design: batteries (energy density and weight) and the sheer power that is required to VTOL. To start with the airfoil, what should it be shaped like to maximize lift, to minimize drag and to be able to function as a container for the batteries? Secondly come the rotors. What diameter should they have in order to be able to airlift the whole craft? How should they 'blend in' with the airfoil? Thirdly, the fuselage that constitutes a road vehicle obviously needs tinkering to make it as slippery as possible. Serious attention must be given to the connecting & disconnecting mechanism with which the road vehicle is attached to the airfoil, if only for the passengers' ease of mind. A single pylon may not suffice. Last but certainly not least, what is the maximum takeoff weight? What range will be possible at what cruising speed? It may well be the case that with the present battery technology a decent range is not feasible. Time to sort things out. See the listing of subjects that surround the airfoil.

Ralph Panhuyzen,

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