The Light Aircraft Association (LAA) has announced that it is collaborating with a British company called Skyfly on a radical new design. Dubbed the “Axe”, the aircraft is a two-seat, side-by-side compact eVTOL aimed at private owners. It will be available in kit-built form, supported by a factory build centre, and should be flying within two years. The LAA, specifically, is working with Skyfly in liaising with the CAA on certification and pilot licensing of the aircraft.
While initial flights will be made under the “e-Conditions” experimental programme, it is expected that the aircraft will be accepted under BCAR Section S approvals, and the LAA and Skyfly are working with the CAA to propose pilot training to NPPL requirements or similar, with appropriate differences training. The aircraft is capable of vertical flight, but has wings, and uniquely its design does not require swivelling engines or rotating wings – instead the motors are at a fixed angle, saving weight and complexity while improving safety and strength. The two pairs of compact wings allow glide landings for greater safety and allow the aircraft to save energy by taking off conventionally when a runway is available.
LAA CEO Steve Slater said, “the Axe has been developed by an experienced engineering team led by LAA member Dr William Brooks, with proven capability in designing and certifying sport aircraft. The aircraft uses established market leaders to supply control systems, batteries and electric motor technology, combining them in a cutting-edge package with the potential to revolutionise affordable sport aviation in a few years’ time. It’s just the sort of innovation that the LAA is proud to be a part of.”
Michael Thompson, CEO of Skyfly, predicts the Axe will have a range of one hundred miles fully electric, or two hundred miles in a hybrid version (using a lightweight rotary generator capable of charging the batteries whilst in the air). A remotely piloted scale prototype has already flown and has been performing well across the different modes of operation.