LYTE Aviation Reveals 40-seat Hybrid eVTOL
LYTE Aviation, the world’s newest advanced air-mobility innovator addressing advanced urban mobility and connectivity, reveals its 40-seat (hybrid) eVTOL SkyBus and SkyTruck program. LYTE Aviation’s LA-44 design is powered by four conventional turbine engines running on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) complemented with four electric motors at the wingtips powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The SkyBus and complementary SkyTruck cargo variant, designed around a 4.5 tonne payload, is the accumulation of three years’ R&D. The result is a game-changing vertical take-off and landing vehicle designed to be five times more fuel-efficient than current helicopters.
The LA-44 is a hybrid electric tandem tilt-wing design, disrupting other futuristic-looking next-gen designs. The SkyBus will offer a range of 1,000 kilometers with a max speed of 300 kilometers/hour, mainly using technology available today. A full-scale prototype is being planned within 24 months.
Freshta Farzam, founder and CEO, explains the design: “The use of turbine engines will likely remain unavoidable for the foreseeable future, so in order to achieve useful and business-sensible ranges, as well as quicker time to market, we have opted for a hybrid, partly electric VTOL.
“My personal inspiration with this operating concept stems from the Rotodyne aircraft of the 1950s. Imagine 70 years later, after accomplishing those 350 successful test flights, what can be achieved thanks to the advances in technology that we have seen — and continue to see.
“Conventional, highly reliable turboprops are the best option for our aircraft program for the time being, with the aim to operate and refuel practically anywhere with the current infrastructure. With the constant evolution and expected investment in global infrastructure — including vertiports, energy sources (SAF and green hydrogen) and electric powerplants — the ambition would be to become fully hydrogen-electric in the future,” she adds.
“We are focusing on facilitating the easy movement of passenger and cargo air-transportation in a fast, safe, cost-effective and sustainable way. SkyTruck will be designed to deliver time-sensitive cargo faster from point to point, without reliance on runways, designed for the time critical demands of the onshore, and especially offshore, industry,” she continues.
Furthermore, the LA-44 would be honed for operation in other rugged operational conditions and, in the absence of ground infrastructure, in remote areas. It will feature underslung load capability: a 4.5 tonne payload and 17 tonnes’ gross weight.
“The LA-44’s unique design will enable us to tap mass-transport capabilities, displacing air-transport and land-transport modalities, such as buses, trains and trucks,” Farzam says. “LYTE Aviation’s vision is to significantly enhance speed and frequency of passenger mass-transit and cargo deliveries."
Speaking at Helicopter Investor 2023 in London, Farzam introduced two newly disclosed early believers who are joining LYTE Aviation in the collaboration: Inmarsat, one of the largest recognized suppliers of satellite communication services worldwide, and Inflight Canada. Both companies share the same vision for an exponentially growing aviation market.
Anthony Spouncer, senior director of ITM at Inmarsat, says, “Inmarsat is excited to team with LYTE Aviation and be a key partner in delivering a safety information service to and from the LA-44 platform, as part of a line-fit delivery program for its hybrid electric vehicle. Inmarsat has been a trusted provider of critical safety communications for aviation for over 30 years. Its systems are assured, proven and available line-fit with major OEMs globally.“
Inflight Canada, a Transport Canada-, FAA- and EASA-approved aerospace design organization and inflight specialist will partner with LYTE for the ‘reversible’ cargo modification. The company supports aerospace projects from conception, engineering and integration through to maintenance and manufacturing.
George Smallhorn, general manager of Inflight Canada, says, "IFC is very excited and keenly interested in participating with the development of a SkyTruck version of the LA-44. With a range of 1000 kilometers and the flexibility of vertical operations, the sheer usefulness of this aircraft is well beyond the current technology in use today."
LYTE Aviation, based in London, UK, and Hamburg, Germany, is looking forward to announcing other key partners later this year.
For more information, visit www.lyteaviation.com.