Aircraft

Doroni opens orders on its H1 personal lift & cruise eVTOL

Doroni opens orders on its H1 personal lift & cruise eVTOL
Florida company Doroni has opened pre-orders on its H1 personal eVTOL, with deliveries expected in 2024
Florida company Doroni has opened pre-orders on its H1 personal eVTOL, with deliveries expected in 2024
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Florida company Doroni has opened pre-orders on its H1 personal eVTOL, with deliveries expected in 2024
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Florida company Doroni has opened pre-orders on its H1 personal eVTOL, with deliveries expected in 2024
Doroni's second flying prototype
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Doroni's second flying prototype
The first flying prototype: very ducted
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The first flying prototype: very ducted
Head-on view appears to show a restricted airflow to the rear pusher props
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Head-on view appears to show a restricted airflow to the rear pusher props
An intelligent, largely automted flight control system will make most eVTOLs very easy and intuitive to fly
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An intelligent, largely automted flight control system will make most eVTOLs very easy and intuitive to fly
The wings are pitched back, so they level out as the aircraft tilts forward for multicopter-style flight
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The wings are pitched back, so they level out as the aircraft tilts forward for multicopter-style flight
A pair of pusher props on the back give this a mild lift & cruise style configuration
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A pair of pusher props on the back give this a mild lift & cruise style configuration
The H1's props are all shielded with ducting
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The H1's props are all shielded with ducting
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Doroni says it's just months away from a full-scale, flying prototype of its H1 two-seat personal eVTOL design. Where most in this space build the simplest and cheapest multicopter-style airframes possible, the H1 offers dedicated horizontal thrust, too.

The H1 is certainly a peculiar looking bird: a two-seat bubble of a cockpit, sandwiched between large front and rear wings. These wings are dominated by enormous ducts sunk into them, each housing a pair of large, contra-rotating vertical lift props, for a total of eight. At the back of the aircraft, there's a further two props for horizontal thrust.

This looks like an extremely mild version of the lift 'n' cruise style airframe; indeed, as with straight winged-multicopter style eVTOLs like the Air One and SkyFly Axe, the H1's wings are pitched backward, so the aircraft is clearly expected to pitch forward to move forward, like a multicopter, rather than relying entirely on its twin pusher props at the back for forward propulsion.

To the layman's eye, the aerodynamics look pretty awkward here. The wings are large, but then so are the fan ducts, which will cause merry havoc with the air flow both over and under each wing, while also adding drag. We also wonder about the airflow to the pusher props – and indeed why Doroni decided to apparently block nearly half of their swept area with a swoopy rear cover.

Head-on view appears to show a restricted airflow to the rear pusher props
Head-on view appears to show a restricted airflow to the rear pusher props

On the other hand, while there might be an efficiency price to pay for ducted propulsion, it certainly looks a little less scary and amputative than an open-prop slicer dicer. And while open props haven't been much of a safety issue for conventional planes, eVTOLs are expected to eventually operate a fair bit closer to the urban environment. So maybe the idea of ducts just for pedestrian reassurance might have merit.

In performance terms, Doroni says the H1 will fly at a top speed of 140 mph (225 km/h) – which suggests that the company doesn't think drag is going to slow it down too much as compared to the Air One, which is a bit faster. Cruise speed will be more like 100 mph (160 km/h), and the range will be around 60 miles (96 km). Doroni is targeting a weight around 930 lb (650 kg), with a payload capacity of 500 lb (200 kg).

Safety-wise, the landing gear is a bit springy and the body is apparently designed to dissipate energy. Emergency airbags will be built in to cushion a really rough landing, propulsion redundancy is assured through the coaxial double lift props at each corner, and the battery packs will offer multiple levels of redundancy, too. There's also a ballistic parachute planned, capable of bringing the whole aircraft down reasonably gently in case of a total failure at sufficient altitude.

The wings are pitched back, so they level out as the aircraft tilts forward for multicopter-style flight
The wings are pitched back, so they level out as the aircraft tilts forward for multicopter-style flight

Doroni says the H1 is an eVTOL anyone can own, fly and park in their garage. On the last point, it measures 23 x 15 x 5.5 ft (7 x 4.6 x 1.7 m), making it a little longer and nearly twice as wide as a Ford F350, so you'll want a decent sized shed. On the second point, the company is targeting a Light Sport Aircraft certification with the FAA, which would allow owners to fly the thing with just 20-odd hours of training.

Having already flown a couple of smaller-scale tech demonstrators, the company says it's looking to get a full-scale "flying showroom model" in the air sometime in Q4 this year, then ramp up toward production through 2023, FAA certification in early 2024, and the first customer deliveries by Q4 2024.

We're a little unconvinced with this one. It appears to add aerodynamic complexity to a standard winged multicopter design, resulting in slower speeds and reduced range. Its potential for success would appear to rest chiefly on whether people want their eVTOL propellers exposed or not. But Doroni seems reasonably advanced down its path, and we'll keep an open mind and see how things develop as the H1 gets closer to production. Meet the team in the investor presentation video below.

Doroni exclusive Welcome Back Webinar July 2022

Source: Doroni via Robb Report

View gallery - 8 images
8 comments
8 comments
PhilippeHolthuizen
I really doubt the Doroni H1 will ever take off. Way too many vaporware red flags for my taste.
Towerman
@phillip, i really doubt you understand the success multicopters have had so far, i don't see any vaporware lol... they multiply by the dozens each year and most all of them are able to fly very well ;)
PeterFonseca
A nice design but, for now and assuming actual manufacture of the vehicle, it will be a dream only realizable to those wealthy few with a sense of adventure and daring.
Nelson Hyde Chick
The notion of individual flying machines is just a stupid idea that won't die!!!
1stClassOPP
Why not have those huge ducted props gimballed to effect forward motion?
Towerman
@NHC
No its the most brilliant concept of the century and yes it will not die just become reality ;)
ljaques
Beautiful, the Edsel of the air! (snort)
Aermaco
In the comments, only Towerman and 1stClastOPP can see the reality here. Yes tilting ducts would help but also it adds cost and failure potential. So to economically increase efficiency in cruise it would be to enable a cleaner air flow path on wings with greater ducts axis into wind for similar travel axis less downwash wasted energy for lift. The BlackFly solves that but needs the DoroniH1 wheels.