Aircraft

Krossblade's SkyCruiser merges airplane, quadcopter and car

Krossblade's SkyCruiser merges...
Artist's impression of the Krossblade SkyCruiser over London
Artist's impression of the Krossblade SkyCruiser over London
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The Krossblade SkyProwler is smaller and has H-configuration rotor arms
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The Krossblade SkyProwler is smaller and has H-configuration rotor arms
The Krossblade SkyCruiser design could take advantage of use urban heliports
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The Krossblade SkyCruiser design could take advantage of use urban heliports
Artist's impression of the Krossblade SkyCruiser over London
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Artist's impression of the Krossblade SkyCruiser over London
The Krossblade SkyCruiser is designed for door to door service
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The Krossblade SkyCruiser is designed for door to door service
Artist's impression of the Krossblade SkyCruiser over San Francisco
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Artist's impression of the Krossblade SkyCruiser over San Francisco
The Krossblade SkyCruiser uses switchblade rotor arms
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The Krossblade SkyCruiser uses switchblade rotor arms
The Krossblade SkyCruiser in "road mode" with gull-wing doors open
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The Krossblade SkyCruiser in "road mode" with gull-wing doors open

Can’t decide if you want an airplane, a helicopter, or a flying car? Then why not all three at once? Arizona-based start-up Krossblade seems to think the same way with its SkyCruiser concept – an electric hybrid aircraft that not only switches between being an airplane and a quadcopter, but can be driven on the road as well.

Ever since the Wright brothers took off from Kitty Hawk in 1903, aviation has been a question of trade offs. Airplanes are fast, fuel efficient, can cover long ranges, and carry heavy cargoes, but they can’t hover and they need runways to takeoff and land. Helicopters can hover and land on a dime, but they’re relatively slow, gulp fuel, aren’t exactly long distance champs, and aren't in the same cargo league as airplanes. And to make either machine into something that can drive on the road usually ends up as something that’s both a poor aircraft and a poor car.

The tricky bit of squaring the circle of the airplane and the helicopter has been a dream of aeronautical engineers for decades, resulting in everything from a flying truck to the V-20 Osprey. The Krossblade SkyCruiser’s takes the convertiplane approach. In normal flight, the SkyCruiser is pushed along by two 150 bhp electric motors in the tail, but when switching from horizontal to vertical flight, a set of four "switchblade" rotor arms fold out from the fuselage to take the load.

The Krossblade SkyCruiser uses switchblade rotor arms
The Krossblade SkyCruiser uses switchblade rotor arms

It’s not a new idea. Concepts of these sort of convertiplanes go back to the early 1950s, but the five-passenger SkyCruiser design combines the fold out rotors with a hybrid electric drive. There are four 80 bhp electric motors running the four main rotors, plus another four 10 bhp rotors to providing stability in crosswinds. According to Krossblade, the smaller rotors can accelerate faster than the larger ones, so they can respond faster to sudden gusts.

The switchblade rotor arrangement is designed to provide the Vertical TakeOff and Landing (VTOL) SkyCruiser with the ability to hover and land in small areas while maintaining the aerodynamics of a conventional airplane, and the electric motors – backed up by a 400 bhp internal combustion engine hooked to a 360 bhp generator feeding into 12 kW battery – provide for greater range and reliability. In addition, the rotor arms are designed to fold backwards to maximize passenger space, and the multiple motor arrangement provides redundancy and greater safety.

On the ground, the 9.5 m (31 ft) wing span can be stowed away, and electric motors mounted in the wheels drive the craft along at 75 mph (112 kph), turning the SkyCruiser into a roadworthy car for short trips – albeit a stretchy one at 8.4 m (27.5 ft) long.

The Krossblade SkyCruiser is designed for door to door service
The Krossblade SkyCruiser is designed for door to door service

But this all together and the vision for the SkyCruiser becomes a point-to-point vehicle that can take passengers door to door without needing a conventional airfield. The company says that the SkyCruiser would have a cruising speed of 314 mph (505 km/h), a stall speed of 100 mph (160 km/h) in fixed-wing mode, be able to carry 1,003 lb (455 kg) of payload, and have a range of 1,006 mi (1,620 km) with five passengers.

Though the SkyCruiser is still very much in the concept phase, the company is already working on its smaller SkyProwler, which has the same VTOL capability, but uses a H configuration for the rotors for easier transformation into quadcopter mode, and has a cruising speed of 55 mph (90 km/h).

No price or delivery date for either variant has been announced.

The video below introduces the SkyCruiser

Source: Krossblade

Krossblade SkyCruiser and SkyProwler

26 comments
Derek Howe
Too many moving parts for me. It seems it would have a lot of issues, and cost a fortune to keep maintained. I think the best looking and most practical "flying car" is the Terrafugia TF-X. Which is roughly a decade away...which I believe this flying car is going to take at least as much time, if not more.
Tom Lee Mullins
I think that is really cool. It seems like something Q would make for James Bond.
Jimjam
So they've built a model RC quadcopter with some pusher propellers... any evidence that this will actually scale up to a full sized vehicle? I'm sensing that a lot of things are being glossed over here.
Michael Crumpton
WHEEE, It looks like someone got some 3d modeling software for their birthday.
David Rochlin
Think about all the weight of the generator, electric motors, batteries, liquid fuel, heavy wheels, having to meet any kind of vehicular safety standards. Consider the inefficiency of the generator converting the fuel to electricity. I don't buy it. The useful load/payload will be too small if it can be built. Less ambitious projects of this nature never panned out.
Esi 1976
Statistics are defining a dream vehicle, the only realistic approach is that it's a hybrid one, not all electric! It's a good 3d work! But the designation has some dark sides like the material of those tiny and slim levers that folds in and out of the body, holding the rotors that carry all the weights and how are the mechanisms? Plus the idea of energy traveling through an ICE to a generator to batteries to electric motors is not reliable.
Quad copterHQ
I have a feeling that this is going to be terrible at each of the individual functions....
Vince Pack
I'm usually not a vocal skeptic of these "flying multi contraption" things, but all I see here is a safe last ditch shelter from an impending zombie horde. Get in, fire up the blades, and watch the carnage. The specs are far too ambitious (that ice? that sort of power will carry a big weight and space penalty). Those rotor arms? Has someone discovered alien materials technology? All those folding parts? Um, I'm as big a flying fan as anyone, but all those interconnected electrical and (presumably) hydraulic moving bits are simply too complicated to keep operating safely (as in safe enough for flight) to be even remotely practical. This looks like a fun design excercise if no practicality or safety issues are considered. But hey, prove me wrong and I'll consider a second mortgage!
worf2
YASR yet another student rendering. tell my when you are on kickstarter.
Jason JH S
Cool. This could work, I think. Airplanes have been successfully retracting landing gears since 50 years, or even longer and have all sorts of other moving parts in their wings and tails. Sikorsky just introduced the Raider helicopter, also with a pusher propeller at the back, but it is all gas based. Lots of moving parts in a helicopter to control the blades, I am guessing this one on the other hand is all fixed pitch, which is simpler. Hope to see one fly soon...