A New 'Fan-In-Wing' Design Can Substantially Enhance Hybrid-Electric Air Taxis
Ascendance Flight Technologies, based in Toulouse, France, has unveiled the striking design of its new hybrid-electric VTOL aircraft, ATEA, according to a press release.
The ATEA is a five-seat hybrid-electric aircraft that can perform vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL). The concept stands out from the rest since it has a tandem wing configuration with rotors incorporated into them, giving it a strikingly unusual appearance.
The concept is the result of three years of research and development, and it's called the "tomorrow's aircraft" since it reflects the company’s goal of assisting in the decarbonization of aviation: The aircraft aims to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent compared to traditional helicopter designs.
Ascending to the future with a ‘fan-in-wing’ design
With a range of 250 miles (400 km), ATEA is designed to operate in peri-urban areas and within regions, and its "fan-in-wing" structure is vital to enabling its VTOL capabilities. The propellers make up one of the aircraft’s two propulsion systems, while the other propellers are situated on ATEA’s nose and tail. This combination of the technology is referred to as "Lift+Cruise" system by the company.
ATEA is powered by hybrid-electric technology and is fitted with modular hybrid engines developed by Ascendance Flight Technologies. It also offers environmental advantages, since it promises an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions when compared to conventional helicopter designs. And it accomplishes all this while generating four times less noise than traditional aircraft.
The aircraft will be able to carry up to five people, so it's more suited to urban mobility and air taxi services than to full-fledged airline operations. Its planned range will enable it to travel further and faster than land-based taxi services that we are accustomed to.
"The aircraft we are presenting to you today is the result of huge efforts by our R&D department, tests, and trials on 4 prototypes and a great deal of thought on costs and the ease of flying such an aircraft," says Jean-Christophe Lambert, co-founder and CEO. "Its characteristics provide all the performances expected by a sector that the ongoing transition has made more demanding”.
When talking about such concepts, it's normal to think you won't be them in the skies soon. However, Ascendance Flight Technologies has lofty short-term objectives that it wants to achieve in the coming years.
“ATEA will soon exist in the form of a full-scale prototype, and will go into testing in 2023," Lambert says. "With help from our financial partners, we are now experiencing vigorous development. We are actively recruiting, running test and trial programs, and we are steadily moving towards our 2025 certification objective.”