Aircraft

XTI reconfigures its TriFan eVTOL as a diesel-hybrid cargo drone

XTI reconfigures its TriFan eV...
The Trifan 200: a transitioning hybrid diesel eVTOL with a pop-up cabin for cargo
The Trifan 200: a transitioning hybrid diesel eVTOL with a pop-up cabin for cargo
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The Trifan 200: a transitioning hybrid diesel eVTOL with a pop-up cabin for cargo
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The Trifan 200: a transitioning hybrid diesel eVTOL with a pop-up cabin for cargo
Two tilting fans on the wing and a third fixed fan at the rear provide vertical lift and horizontal cruise capabilities
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Two tilting fans on the wing and a third fixed fan at the rear provide vertical lift and horizontal cruise capabilities
The TriFan 200 is based on XTI's previous TriFan 600 passenger drone
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The TriFan 200 is based on XTI's previous TriFan 600 passenger drone
A new diesel hybrid system bumps up range and endurance significantly
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A new diesel hybrid system bumps up range and endurance significantly
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Florida's XTI Aircraft has ben working on its TriFan eVTOL concept for at least five years now, and while a passenger version is still the key focus, the company has now put forward a long-range, autonomous diesel-hybrid cargo variant.

Partnering with Verdego Aero, XTI says it'll be able to build in a 180 kW generator running on Jet-A to feed the TriFan's high-power battery pack, giving it the ability to carry a 500 lb (227 kg) payload over a distance of 230 miles (370 km). While no max cruise speed is listed for the cargo plane, XTI says the TriFan 600 six-seater is rated for 345 mph (555 km/h), or about twice the speed of a conventional helicopter.

One advantage of this design is its ability to save energy by taking off and landing on a runway where there's one available, or switching to VTOL to land in a field, on a yacht or a helipad where the mission calls for it.

A new diesel hybrid system bumps up range and endurance significantly
A new diesel hybrid system bumps up range and endurance significantly

Disadvantages would include the fact that although it's cleaner and more efficient than a turbine powertrain by some 35 percent, it's still not a zero-emissions electric. And the fact that the airframe runs only three fans, which not only severely compromises its control authority in a hover – it also means there's no redundancy to fall back on if you lose a motor.

That's going to make the TriFan 600 very tough to certify as a commercial passenger aircraft, so perhaps using the platform as an unmanned cargo drone might provide a more realistic way for this design to get airborne in a useful way.

Check out a video on the TriFan 600 passenger aircraft below.

XTI Aircraft Company Video

Source: XTI Aircraft

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6 comments
6 comments
David
Is it worth testing the design with and without doors for the rear fan to determine whether any degradation of aerodynamics without doors is worth the reduction of overall mass.
Laszlo KRUPPA
Both hybrid energy supply and tiltrotor configuration hold great potential.

It is important to notice however, all existing limitations of the aircraft's flight envelope (vertical lift performance, top cruising speed) come from one source: the rotors & blades. Use of composites and hi-tech manufacturing shall not cover up the actual level of rotor-sophistication, which is exactly that of the Wright brothers’ propellers.

The company that advances first in that direction (i.e. manages to exceed present level of fan-sophistication) most probably will win the eVTOL race.

FB36
Our world already always have countless people keep burning to death alive (after traffic accidents), because of using gasoline (which easily starts fires) as fuel! (Diesel, for example, does NOT easily starts fires!)

Hydrogen, on the other hand, does NOT start fires but EXPLODES like a bomb!!!
If there are hydrogen vehicles around, do you seriously think their tanks would never leak or rapture, because of a traffic accident, for example???

IMHO, any land/sea/air vehicle which battery does not provide enough power/range should/must use bio-diesel as (range extender) fuel!!!
(Bio-diesel can be produced from many kinds of crops/biomass & can be used by any regular land/sea/air diesel vehicles too!!!)
paul314
What the market for this? Unless you're doing some kind of resupply for expeditions in mountains or deserts, delivering 200kg within a few hundred kilometers is pretty much a solved problem. Doing it in a couple of hours is certainly nice, but most of the time when you need to do something that fast it's really a sign of poor planning.
buzzclick
It's a slick design. The 3 rotor layout has its stability problems. The thing that bugs me most is the two big ones. The mounting on the wings seems not stable enough to handle the forces necessary in all kinds of conditions. When it's flying about, it's basically a propeller plane without ailerons. Because those rotors have to rotate to vertical (with a full payload), their placement has got to be more secure than what I see here.
jocco
Should have a split tail so that the rear prop could rotate like the front ones. Would the wing props work better on the backside of the wings?