A new contender is emerging in the race towards efficient and feasible air taxi solutions: the eCopter, developed by Austrian startup FlyNow Aviation. While many companies are delving into the realm of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles resembling oversized consumer drones, the eCopter takes a simpler yet promising approach.
What sets the eCopter apart is its innovative coaxial electric drivetrain, featuring two counter-rotating rotor propellers stacked one above the other. This configuration earns it the classification of an electric helicopter by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. By fitting into this existing category, FlyNow anticipates a smoother and swifter certification process compared to the more complex drone-like counterparts.
The beauty of the eCopter lies in its simplicity. With fewer moving parts and reduced hardware, it sheds weight, cuts material costs, and minimizes complexity. This translates to a more affordable aircraft in terms of construction, acquisition, and operation, with improved battery range as a bonus. FlyNow intends to offer one- and two-passenger versions, as well as a cargo model, all based on a single adaptable airframe, streamlining production and keeping expenses in check.
While the eCopter is yet to take to the skies, successful ground tests on a fully equipped full-scale proof-of-concept model signify progress. FlyNow envisions a flight range of up to 50 km, a cruising speed of 130 km/h, and a payload capacity of 200 kg for all versions. Commercial production is slated to commence in 2026, with the cargo variant leading the charge followed by passenger versions.
Excitement is brewing as FlyNow engages in discussions with potential commercial partners eager to integrate the eCopter into their air taxi or air cargo operations. With its pragmatic design and promising performance metrics, the eCopter could revolutionize urban air mobility, offering a compelling alternative for swift and sustainable transportation. Watch the concept unfold in the accompanying video, and brace for the future of air travel with the eCopter.