JETcopter’s driving/flying vehicle design confirmed

While it may not have quite as much charm as our fine four-fendered friend, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, one India-based aviation technology company could be bringing the long-promised but still fictional “flying-car” concept to reality with its startup, JETcopter – a rotorcraft-based vehicle that is designed to both drive and fly. There’s even a plan for a flying delivery van that could change the way we look at last-mile delivery.

The startup has finished its primary air turbine tests, meaning it can now move forward with the design concept’s feasibility confirmed. The first version to come will be for cargo delivery, to be followed later by a passenger version that can seat seven people – one pilot/driver seat in the front and six passenger seats in the back.

The automotive engine compartment will sit on top of the aircraft’s fuselage, with two 400-horsepower motors to power its two counter-rotating fans, the airflow of which will be channeled to four vectoring nozzles. The amount of power supplied to each output point will allow manipulation for hovering and maneuvering. The company said that, once the JETcopter is in the air, “its fixed nozzles tilt for horizontal flight, and from there it operates much like a jet,” but does not have wings.

The JETcopter’s range is 1,000 kilometers, which is about the distance between  Portland, Ore., and San Francisco, but depending on the weight of the cargo loaded inside, that range would potentially shrink. A full-scale mock-up of the JETcopter will be presented at the AERO 2019 aviation exhibition in Friedrichshafen, Germany, in April of next year.

At present, the company said its purchase price will be US$350,000, so those interested in fulfilling Dick Van Dyke-centered childhood fantasies should start stuffing their piggy banks now.

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