eVTOL Hybrid Blown Wing Aircraft Development Funded By Odys

eVTOL Hybrid Blown Wing Aircraft Development Funded By Odys
Courtesy by Odys Aviation

A hybrid-electric eVTOL aircraft for nine passengers will be brought to market by Odyssey Aviation in 2026 after raising $12.4 million in seed funding. Giant Ventures, Soma Capital, 11.2 Capital, Countdown Capital, Uber Elevate co-founder Nikhil Goel, and Cruise Automation founder Kyle Vogt have supported the California-based start-up, which has raised $13.7 million in total since graduating from the Y Combinator S 21 seed program.

A scaled-down technology demonstrator of the planned nine-passenger Odys aircraft is expected to be demonstrated later this year. A patented flap-based lifting technology will enable the aircraft to generate vectored thrust from 16 wing-mounted propellers for both vertical and cruise flight by extending flaps up to an 85-degree angle from the wings. As part of the blown-wing concept, the company has tested a three-foot wing and is building a larger demonstrator unit.

As of now, the design of the production aircraft has not been frozen, but is expected to have a range of 1,000 miles at speeds of 345 mph and cruise at an altitude of 30,000 feet. A co-founder and CEO of Odyssey told FutureFlight that, given the size of its cabin, most flights will be between 100 and 500 miles, which will result in significantly lower operating costs compared to turboprops like the Pilatus PC-12 and Textron's King Airs. Based on its relatively high cruise speed, the fixed-wing model will set itself apart from other eVTOLs. Possible military applications could benefit from the additional range.

The flexibility [hybrid-electric] VTOL aircraft provide in terms of network operation makes it possible to access remote or unserviced areas, which is very interesting, especially with a longer range and no need for refueling," Dorris said. Through sub-regional services like these, people will be able to access much closer to where they are starting and ending their journeys with better door-to-door economics."

No details have been disclosed about Odys' planned powertrain or how the load will be divided between the turbine engine and the electric motors. According to Dorris, this will likely depend on where the aircraft operates, with battery power likely to be an option where noise restrictions are strict. A decision on the gas turbine may be announced in 2022, according to the company's talks with an undisclosed large aircraft engine manufacturer. Fuel for the turbine will be sustainable.

As part of its efforts to define performance requirements and specifications, the company has also been speaking with multiple Part 135 commercial operators for the past 12 months. The letter of intent was signed by JSX in April 2021 and covers provisional orders for 200 of the Odys aircraft, plus options for up to 400 more.

Aircraft such as the Embraer 135 and 145 regional airliners are used by Dallas-based public charter provider JSX, part of the JetSuite group. "Hop on" point-to-point flights will be offered in the northeastern U.S.

A new funding round will help Odys establish a new headquarters in Long Beach and grow its engineering and leadership teams, according to the company. Odys was previously known as Craft Aerospace. Axel Radermacher has been promoted to head of product from co-founder.

As an advisor to Archer Aviation and Whisper Aero, Nikhil Goel said he was excited about Odys Aviation's concept, which focuses on regional transportation between cities, not just within them. In December 2020, Uber sold Elevate to Joby, the company he co-founded for eVTOL air taxi services.

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