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Business Air News Bulletin
Business Air News Bulletin
The monthly news publication for aviation professionals.
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Supernal debuts eVTOL concept at CES 2024
The S-A2 is designed to take full advantage of emerging electric powertrain advancements as the company optimises the vehicle for certification, mass production and many use cases.
The S-A2 is a V-tail aircraft designed to cruise at 120 miles per hour at 1,500ft to meet typical city operation needs of 25 to 40 mile trips.

Supernal has unveiled its S-A2 eVTOL vehicle product concept at CES 2024 in Las Vegas. It builds on the company's vision concept, the S-A1, which it debuted at CES 2020. Supernal will achieve commercial aviation safety levels and enable affordable manufacturing of its vehicles as it prepares to enter the market in 2028.

"From the beginning, Supernal has been on a mission to create the right product and the right market at the right time," says Jaiwon Shin, president of Hyundai Motor Group and CEO of Supernal. "The unveiling of S-A2 demonstrates our unwavering commitment to deliver on that mission with a safe, efficient vehicle design that provides a clear path to market entry. By leveraging our talented 600 person team, the vast technical and business capabilities of Hyundai Motor Group and trusted aviation suppliers around the world, Supernal is ready to deliver a new era of flight."

The S-A2 is a V-tail aircraft designed to cruise at 120 miles per hour at an altitude of 1,500ft to meet typical city operation needs of 25 to 40 mile trips. It features a distributed electric propulsion architecture and has eight all-tilting rotors. At entry into service, it will operate as quietly as a dishwasher: 65 dB in vertical take off and landing phases and 45 dB while cruising horizontally.

The vehicle is designed with a priority on safety and a focus on sustainability and passenger comfort. Engineered to achieve the global commercial aviation standard of safety, it has a robust airframe structure including redundant components in critical systems such as powertrain, flight controls and avionics. The all-tilting rotor configuration will power the vehicle through both the vertical lift and horizontal cruise phases of flight with efficiency. To maintain superior quality while also being cost-effective, the vehicle will be manufactured leveraging Hyundai's mass production capability.

"Supernal's product concept vehicle is the result of the creativity and hard work of our world-class team. S-A2 is designed to take full advantage of emerging electric powertrain advancements that will define the next generation of aviation," says chief technology officer Ben Diachun. "From here, we will develop this concept into a revolutionary commercial product."

As Supernal continues to optimise its vehicle for certification, mass production and expanded use cases, the company is also focused on interior modularity and battery upgradability. This includes the ability to replace the battery module as technology advances.

Supernal's engineering teams partnered with Hyundai Motor Group's automotive designers on the S-A2's aesthetics, blending design with functionality. Different colour palettes and materials delineate distinct pilot and passenger sections of the vehicle. Aviation-grade, energy-absorbing components are integrated into the seat frames and contribute to the overall clean, minimalist design. Lighting transitions throughout phases of flight allow the cabin to feel larger and to provide visual cues, such as where to enter and exit the vehicle.

"S-A2 is a true representation of 'auto meets aero', drawing on the competence of Supernal's top aerospace engineers and Hyundai Motor Group's automotive designers to create human-centric design that maximises passenger experience and safety," says Luc Donckerwolke, president, chief design officer and chief creative officer, Hyundai Motor Group.

Drawing on experience from designing 'smart cars' with similar efficient footprints, Hyundai's designers also incorporated the latest in passenger experience and automotive design best-practices into the four passenger vehicle.

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