The TriFan 600, a six-seat plane, will have the speed and range of a business jet with the ability to take off and land vertically like a helicopter. It will have a top speed of more than 300 miles per hour with a range of 1,200 miles, XTI and Bye claim. The plane uses three 72-inch ducted fans to lift off vertically. Its two wing fans rotate forward for a transition to cruise speed and its initial climb, with the potential to reach 35,000 feet in 10 minutes.
The TriFan has been under development for some time now, but XTI’s chief executive officer Robert LaBelle says some changes are being made with the introduction of Bye Aerospace to the project.
“We’re continuing with our plan, but we’ve made two important changes,” LaBelle says. “First, with the engineering expertise of the team at Bye Aerospace, this first prototype will be powered by a state-of-the-art hybrid-electric propulsion system. Second, because we’re now able to significantly reduce the weight and cost of producing the TriFan, our first prototype will be a full-size TriFan 600, instead of the 65 percent subscale version.”
LaBelle goes on to say that the TriFan’s transmission, gears, two heavier engines, and other components will be replaced with electric motors, batteries, generators, and a single turboshaft engine.
“Advanced electric power for aircraft makes the hybrid-electric configuration compelling for the TriFan,” says George Bye, founder and CEO of Bye Aerospace. “We can now bring together into one extraordinary airplane, battery power, electric motors, and a light, efficient engine in a vertical takeoff and landing platform. The TriFan will achieve unprecedented performance and operating economy while being safer, lighter, quieter, and cleaner. We’re very excited to team with XTI on this game-changing VTOL project.”
XTI, based in Denver, is a privately owned aviation company. Bye Aerospace, based in Englewood, Colo., develops electric- and solar-powered aircraft.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense