Czech company Zuni started testing vertical takeoff air taxi

(ORDO NEWS) — The Czech company Zuni has begun testing a hybrid prototype of the aircraft, made almost life-size. The model can be used as an air taxi, supports vertical take-off and landing and is equipped with a hybrid power plant that provides a cruising range of up to 720 km at a speed of up to 320 km / h.

The batteries are still quite heavy, and hydrogen technology has yet to break into the mainstream. At the same time, there are already companies aiming to achieve a long range of air taxi using engines running on conventional types of fuel. We are talking about the Russian Cyclecar, French Ascendance, Swiss Manta, British Samad Aerospace and Canadian Horizon Aircraft, now part of Astro Aerospace, all of which are developing hybrid air taxis.

Prague’s Zuni is focused on the ‚Äúregional air transportation‚ÄĚ market. The model has large wings with rods fixed to them with eight engines for vertical takeoff. The two middle rods are united by a common tail unit, and a pushing propeller is located at the back, providing a relatively high flight speed, during which the blades responsible for vertical take-off are reliably fixed so as not to interfere with movement.

Batteries are used for takeoff and landing, and a relatively small pusher propeller with an internal combustion engine is responsible for forward movement.

In 2018, Zuni began testing prototypes with 2m and 5m wingspan, and has now raised funds to fund a demonstration model with an 11m wingspan – the size of this model is 90% of a future working drone.

The first phase of the demonstration flights has already begun. As soon as testing is over, the company plans to complete the model, turning it into a single-seat aircraft for further experiments.

The developers received about $ 2.7 million from “business angels”, Zuni claims that this is enough for “the current development phase.” But the most difficult thing awaits the company in the future – commercial certification can cost literally hundreds of millions of dollars even before the first order is received. Therefore, Zuni will need to come up with a unique proposal for a highly competitive market.

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