Driven by positive results from flight-testing of its large-scale prototype and feedback from key potential customers, Horizon Aircraft has upgraded its eVTOL specification to a more commercially viable 7‑seat capacity.
The company had initially planned to produce a five-seat aircraft, but due to positive flight-testing results of its 50%-scale prototype alongside sophisticated aerodynamic, structural, and electrical analysis, it now believes that it can expand its initial prototype to include room for one pilot and six passengers.
Potential customers in the medical evacuation (medevac), business aviation and commercial cargo sectors have advised the Company that larger aircraft with lower passenger seat per mile costs are better aligned with their needs.
The new enlarged prototype design is now called the Cavorite X7, with a gross weight estimated at 5,500 lbs with a projected useful load of 1,500 lbs. With an estimated maximum speed of 250 miles per hour and an average range of over 500 miles with fuel reserves, the experimental aircraft, if eventually licensed for commercial use, would excel in medevac, critical supply delivery, disaster relief, and special military missions.
The proposed aircraft would also be attractive for regional air mobility, moving people and cargo up to 500 miles. The Cavorite X7 can recharge its batteries enroute when it is flying like a traditional aircraft after its vertical takeoff. After a vertical landing the Cavorite X7 can recharge its battery array in under 30 minutes, ready for its next mission.
Brandon Robinson, CEO of Horizon Aircraft, said: “The shift to a seven-seat aircraft has been discussed since the beginning of our hybrid eVTOL initial concept. It’s a size that just makes sense commercially.
“We are very confident our unique fan-in-wing technology can support this new and larger platform and our testing results have provided us with confidence that we can potentially scale to an even larger aircraft.”
The Cavorite X7 is planned to fly 98% of its mission in a low-drag configuration like a traditional aircraft, making it safer and easier to certify than radical new eVTOL designs.
The hybrid electric system will recharge the battery array in-flight and post-flight, while also providing significant system redundancy. Cavorite X7’s design has attracted interest from within the industry, won several grants and a US Department of Defense research and development contract award.