South Korean startup, Plana Aero, has joined “the eVTOL race to market” with a unique-looking 7-seat hybrid e-powertrain flying taxi, reports newatlas.com. The company is founded by Braden J. Kim who led the original Hyundai Urban Air Mobility development program until early 2020 that later led to the Supernal eVTOL.

Kim’s Plana has started work on a new long-range, hybrid-electric VTOL air taxi designed to carry seven people up to 350 miles at speeds of over 210 mph.

Braden J. Kim

Plana has recently raised further investment of USD8.3 million bringing the total close to USD10 million, easily sufficient to construct a half-scale prototype. The concept aircraft has a different look to other air taxis.

newatlas.com writes, “Its long, thin fuselage sweeps out into an upper main wing, and a knife-thin pair of canards extend from lower down the main tube up front. The propulsion system is a full vectored thrust design, using large, tilting five-blade electric props.”

And continues, “Two are mounted to the canards, two at the outer front edges of the main wing, and the third pair sit closer to the fuselage on the trailing edge of the main wing, making the overall layout in hover mode something akin to a hexacopter.”

The website further states, “The rear two props tilt downward for VTOL operations, while the rest tilt upward. That’s because they’re configured as pusher props for cruise mode; if they tilt upwards like the others, they’d have to reverse their rotation during the transition to cruise flight.”

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newatlas points out the dangers of such a positioned rotor system explaining, “It places these large props right at a person-mincing height on the ground. Plana doesn’t seem too concerned; the front canard props will be chest-high slicer-dicers as well by the looks of things. So I guess we’d best budget for some nice stripey yellow lines on the vertipad.”

As a large hybrid-powered, long-range, high-speed design, the Plana aircraft could become a strong regional aircraft contender, although a little behind its competitors given a demonstrator is only planned for 2024 and a fully certified craft by 2028.

At least, Plana is off to a solid start with a 40-person team, but a lot more investment is required to bring this aircraft to full certification and the eVTOL market.

For more information

http://plana.aero/

(News Source: https://newatlas.com/)

(Pics: Plana)