US-based startup claims its VTOL will have Mach 0.66 cruise speed and over 11,000 miles of range
The five-seater VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) Ranger, developed by Aura Aerospace, claims to fly farther than any typical airliner and boasts roof-to-roof vertical takeoff and landing capability.
Aura's plan for doing this is quite straightforward. An octocopter system with eight 70-inch (178-cm) two-blade props hanging fore and aft of the enormous main wing is used to achieve vertical takeoff and landing. A pair of turbofan jet engines start-up to give forward power once the vehicle is in the air and the wing has folded out to its full 75-ft (23-meter) width. This system brings you onto and off of the landing pad.
When the aircraft is in cruise flight, and the wings are fully extended, the propellers come to a stop, align with their support strut, and small retractable pontoons extend to cover them for the least amount of drag. The Ranger can now accelerate to its incredible Mach 0.66 cruise speed (510 mph/820 kph), which is a little slower than most airliners since it cruises in the thicker air at 10,000 ft (3,050 m) rather than 30,000 ft (9,150 m).
According to Aura, the Ranger can fly for an arduous 22 hours non-stop or 11,185 miles (18,000 kilometers) on a full tank of sustainable aviation fuel. For comparison, a normal Airbus A380 travels with passengers a maximum distance of approximately 9,200 miles (14,800 kilometers). The Ranger guarantees to deliver you with enough fuel from the top of a New York City building all the way to Adelaide, Australia. According to Aura, even if the battery runs out, the device will continue to glide and will joyfully land or take off from any runway that is convenient.
Fortunately, there will be a small galley and a bathroom in the five-seat cabin to accommodate the hollow tubes of people it wants to transport over such great distances. It will probably also have a way to enter and exit, but from these very early drawings, it's unclear exactly where on the airframe.
Despite using eVTOL technology, the Ranger is conceptually much more like an ultra-long-range business jet than an air taxi. And given that situation, perhaps that makes sense. The ultra-rich could be glad to pay for a Darth Vader shuttle to take them on a private, international rooftop jaunt, as five seats are likely sufficient for many business visits. Even if the time saved traveling to the airport and back might be eaten up by the Ranger's slightly slower pace, it would undoubtedly keep them far away from the common folk.
The Ranger is an intriguing concept that might add a little more convenience to the lives of a select group of extremely wealthy people. However, because of its dependency on aviation fuel, whether sustainable or not, it will die before it can lower a wing, and the road from these renders to FAA-certified (Federal Aviation Administration) commercial manufacture is torturously long and exorbitantly expensive. However, we don't think our odds are good. We'd love to see one fly at full scale.
Dr. Shah explained how he and his team made significant advances in translational cell therapy, successfully developing cellular treatments for cancer.