Innovation That Matters

Hybrid-electric flying vehicle can take off and land vertically

Mobility & Transport

A new electric aircraft can take-off and land vertically as well as use short runways

Spotted: In the field of electric aircraft, we have already seen a number of vertical take-off and landing crafts (VTOL) and short take-off and landing crafts (STOL) in development. Now, a Swiss engineering company is working to create a hybrid VTOL/STOL craft that can do both. Manta Aircraft’s new ANN is an electric aircraft that can operate from short airstrips, while also taking off and landing vertically.

The company is developing two prototypes – the ANN1 and the ANN2. The ANN1 is a single-seater designed for sport aviation. It offers high speed and exceptional manoeuvrability in a short (7 meter) fuselage. The ANN2 is a two-seater designed for commuting. It has a length of 8.7 meters, and eight propeller motors. Two of these, mounted on the wings, can alter position to allow vertical take-off and landing.

Both models use a hybrid propulsion system that can operate as fully electric, or switch to traditional fuels for flying longer distances. The plane’s batteries can be charged while it is in the air – lengthening flight time. The plane can travel up to 373 miles (600 km), with a cruising speed of around 186 mph (300 km/h). The aircraft also features a modular design that allows rapid disassembly for easy transport. 

Manta describes the AAN2 as having, “very good all-round visibility, a fly-by-wire system and a human-machine interface that is easy to use. The aircraft is equipped with canards for high efficiency during level flight. Operational costs are expected to be significantly lower than for a helicopter.” But full development may yet be some time away – the company is currently working to complete a 1:3 model of the plane.

A number of companies are working hard to develop electric VTOL and STOL aircraft. In fact, these aircraft may well be the future of aviation. In just the last few months, we have covered an electric aeroplane that uses a STOL system and an all-electric air taxi company that is developing modular mini-airports for its planes.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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