Astro Aerospace, a developer of eVTOL aerial vehicles and drones based in Lewisville, Texas, and recently acquired subsidiary Horizon Aircraft, a Canadian developer of advanced eVTOLs, have completed a 1:6 scale eVTOL prototype testing programme, culminating in hundreds of test flights over multiple aircraft. The company is now shifting focus to production of its 1:2 scale prototype that is already under development and is targeting Q1 2022 to begin test flying. This milestone positions the company to launch its next phase of scale prototype production, with Astro on schedule to complete its first full-sized aircraft by Q1 2024.
The primary objective for the 1:2 scale eVTOL prototype's test flights will be to verify aerodynamics, control systems and transitional flight. Key among those systems is the Cavorite X5's patented wing system that allows it to fly a portion of its route like a normal aircraft. This innovative system rotates to reveal a series ducted fans allowing the aircraft to takeoff and land vertically. The wings close upon minimum forward speed, maximising the aircraft's aerodynamic efficiency, safety and operational flexibility.
The full-scale Cavorite X5, which is expected to travel up to an estimated 450 km/h with a 500 km range, is designed for reduced hydrocarbon emissions, poor weather, traffic avoidance and operational flexibility. The aircraft targets urban air mobility in addition to the long range, regional air mobility sector, which is underserved by eVTOL competitors and a market in which Astro expects the first revenue generating operations to occur. Additionally, with eVTOL capability combined with high forward speed, the Cavorite X5 will be ideally suited for medevac, disaster relief, cargo delivery and other special missions.
Astro's existing Alta and Elroy programmes, combined with Horizon's newly added Cavorite X5 is expected to better position the company to pursue its commercialisation approach through a horizontally integrated product offering that span from short range pure electric urban air mobility (UAM) to longer range hybrid electric regional air mobility (RAM) missions.