- Details of the new Craft diamond aircrafts
Most eVTOL startups are focused on air taxi applications, rocking between two and six seats – but a few are thinking bigger. GKN Aerospace and Kelekona, for example, are working to get 30 to 50-seat monsters into the skies, taking more of a mass transit approach. California’s Craft Aerospace is shooting for something in the middle: nine-seaters, with a focus on inter-city regional flights. And it’s doing so with a VTOL propulsion system the likes of which we’ve never seen before.
The main fuselage of Craft’s aircraft looks a lot like a small traditional airliner. But things start getting weird when you get to the wings. The front wing joins to the bottom of the cabin, sweeping back at a fairly familiar angle. At their tips, though, the wings curve upwards to meet the rear wings, which are joined to the top of the rear of the cabin. Thus is formed a kind of box wing, with a diamond shape when viewed from above or below.
The company says it’s validated this approach in small-scale prototypes, although it’s only released a few frames of footage. We’re fascinated to know what kind of efficiency you can get from this kind of approach; vertical takeoff and hover is an energy-intensive challenge that asks a lot of a powertrain even without trying to redirect thrust after it’s gone through a propeller.