Aircraft

New York to Boston in 36 minutes thanks to VTOL air taxi, says Transcend Air

Transcend Air's Vy 400 VTOL aircraft
Transcend Air's Vy 400 VTOL aircraft
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Transcend Air's Vy 400 VTOL aircraft
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Transcend Air's Vy 400 VTOL aircraft
The Vy would be capable of flying much faster than a helicopter, according to Transcend Air
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The Vy would be capable of flying much faster than a helicopter, according to Transcend Air
Los Angeles to San Francisco in 55 minutes with the Transcend Air Vy 400
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Los Angeles to San Francisco in 55 minutes with the Transcend Air Vy 400

The Transcend Air Corporation has announced the development of the Vy, a tilt-wing vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) six-seater aircraft designed to ferry people in and out of cities. Simultaneously, the company has said it will launch an air taxi-style commuter service to operate the aircraft, which it hopes to have up in the air in 2024.

The Vy pivots from an aircraft capable of helicopter-style take off and landing (albeit with two main overhead rotors rather than one) to one capable of cruising at 405 mph (652 km/h) by virtue of its tilt-wing design. Essentially, by rotating its wings those take off and landing rotors become outsized propellers in "airplane mode."

The company claims this is three times faster than traditional helicopters, though that's only really true if you pick a traditional helicopter of one third the speed. But, multiples aside, 405 mph is much faster than a helicopter. Let's just move on.

The Vy would be capable of flying much faster than a helicopter, according to Transcend Air
The Vy would be capable of flying much faster than a helicopter, according to Transcend Air

The Vy, or the Vy 400 to give its full name, will (should it come to fruition) use fly-by-wire – a navigation system that eschews manual controls in favor of electronic and potentially automated ones. It will also feature a carbon fiber design. Its low weight will apparently afford the use of a whole-aircraft parachute – so no need to bail out in the event of an emergency, unless you're trying to dodge your fare. (Here's a video of a whole-aircraft parachute in action.)

Just how likely this all is to happen remains to be seen. The Transcend Air Corporation has apparently spun out of the now "wound down" Elytron Aircraft, responsible for the similar 2S tilt-rotor concept we saw back in 2015. So far as we can tell, the only instance of one of these taking to the air was accidental.

Confusingly, Elytron has also forked into the VTOL Aerospace company, which has achieved flight with its CVC 96 prototype, albeit at downsized UAV scale. Operating in the VTOL space has its ups and downs, apparently.

Los Angeles to San Francisco in 55 minutes with the Transcend Air Vy 400
Los Angeles to San Francisco in 55 minutes with the Transcend Air Vy 400

The Transcend Air website may have the most audacious button on the entire web. It says "Buy Ticket," and takes you a little bit further down the website to a section that doesn't let you buy a ticket. It does, however, list prices and flight times:

  • New York to Boston, US$283 (36 minutes)
  • Los Angeles to San Francisco $315 (55 minutes)
  • Montreal to Toronto $325 (60 minutes)

The trips will use existing helipads, so at least there are no major infrastructure impediments to the company's plans.
And, if you're feeling brazen, from 2020 you'll be able to order your own Vy for a mere $3.5 million. Whether the company will meet its targets remains to be seen, but you have to admire the pluck.

Source: Transcend Air Corporation

12 comments
guzmanchinky
This is like reading a story about them newfangled car things that are supposed to replace horses. It'll never happen. Too dangerous... :)
paul314
Back in the days before airport security lines, that was about what it took to get from new york to boston. Only 100+ people at a time instead of just a few.
Towerman
"This is like reading a story about them newfangled car things that are supposed to replace horses. It'll never happen. Too dangerous" You must then still be living in the mid century, wake up call: It's already happening ;) Volo is extensively being tested as we speak,Ehang already flown with a passenger, and in a few years time you will awake into the future seeing them fly over your head.
DFrancis
In the event of emergency, could the failsafe position of the wings be vertical to allow the twin props to autorotate?
Towerman
of course it'll happen it already happened, amazes me how ignorant people are at how reliable multirotors is.
S Michael
Is this for the common everyday folk.... I think not.
michael_dowling
Just what we need. A CO2 spewing air taxi for the well heeled. Wish they could do this with ni-cad batteries.
Jim B
I'd rather take the Hyperloop. Same 'flight time' but gets you from City center to city center without needing to go through airport security.
ljaques
What a scam. Buy a ticket now for a potential flight in 2024, from a rehashed airplane company who accidentally got one off the ground once in 2015? (insert swamp land sale boilerplate here) Feels too much like a pyramid scheme to me. Pass.
Deres
Using a complete parachute is a very clever idea. In fact, contrary to popular belief, there is no technological difficulties in such project unless you want to hyper-optimise energy consumption. Many drones have been developped with this type of technology. The real difficulty is to develop a safe plane that could be certifiable by the authority for public transport without any doubts. By using a full parachute, you can cover most if not all of the scenarios of propeller failures. The residual risk would thus be the failure of the chute itself (beware of the propeller ...) and the low altitude failures where there is no time to deploy the chute.
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