Orlando-based eVTOL startup JetX is developing a configurable flying car chassis and a modular, quiet propulsion system that vectors thrust without tilting the aircraft, a report from New Atlas reveals.
The new propulsion system allows an eVTOL aircraft to remain level while flying vertically and horizontally by using ventral flaps that redirect the thrust from the fans, and the company says it can also be used on other types of aircraft.
JetX's ventral flap design is patent-pending and the company is experimenting with ducted fans as well as fluidic propulsion units for thrust vectoring with its non-tilting propulsion system.
So far, the eVTOL firm has built prototypes for its vectoring systems and is yet to build a prototype for an aircraft. The company says it will work with other aircraft designers to bring the system into the eVTOL market.
A patent-pending eVTOL technology
In an interview with eVTOL.com, JetX co-founder Bryan Welcel said JetX's propulsion system is unique because "the power sources do not rotate for vertical flight. This option allows us to embed the propulsion inside a fuselage or vehicle body, which makes it a much better option — not only for aircraft design but also for the fuselage or vehicle body to work as an enclosure to reduce noise."
"The wings do not tilt," he continued. "It is similar technology to the F35 or Harrier where the propulsion doesn't rotate, and the thrust vectors. We keep the thruster flat and smooth allowing it to have a clean design."
Welcel also explained that JetX is very much "in the concept and experimental stage." Time is likely on their side, as there is still a long road to building the required infrastructure for eVTOL flying taxis. Experts recently warned that only three percent of investment in the eVTOL industry has gone into building the necessary infrastructure — this, despite the fact that companies like Volocopter claim they will start their flying taxi services by about 2024.
JetX is also developing a modular, scalable platform for building aircraft in different configurations. The firm is currently self-funded though it was recently chosen as one of 36 companies by AFWERX to participate in its High-Speed VTOL showcase, alongside big names like Rolls-Royce. The company has also applied for a Small Business Innovation Research program through NASA, and is in the process of seeking funding.