Debuts the SureFly Two-Seater for 2019
With Honda Motor Backing Electric Drive
Workhorse unveiled an eVTOL – hybrid-electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing – aircraft at last week’s Paris Air Show. Flight tests of the two-seat SureFly are planned to begin this year, according to an Aviation Week report at the show, and the company is aiming for U.S. FAA certification of an initial piloted model in 2019. updated with Paris Air Show photos June 28
Workhorse is also developing, with FAA approval, an electric drone dubbed the HorseFly to work with its electric-drive package delivery trucks. It is being tested by UPS (F&F, February 22).
And, early last month at ACT Expo in Long Beach, Calif., the company unveiled a PHEV/plug-in hybrid electric vehicle pickup dubbed the W-15.
Target price of the W-15 is $52,500 MSRP (F&F, May 6). Target price of the SureFly helicopter is “under $200,000,” Workhorse says.
The eight-rotor SureFly builds on Workhorse’s development of the HorseFly delivery drone, notes Aviation Week’s Graham Warwick.
Just in Case, a Parachute
SureFly, says Warwick, has a 200-horsepower Honda aviation engine and a dual-battery backup system, “powering eight independent motors mounted in upper/lower contra-rotating pairs on folding arms above the cabin.”
If ne of the motors fails, the aircraft will land automatically on seven propellers, Workhorse says.
If the Honda engine fails, the battery pack will provide power for landing. If both engine and battery pack fail, a ballistic recovery parachute will automatically or manually deploy to bring the complete aircraft down safely.
Someday, No Pilot
While early models will be piloted, Warwick reports, the company’s goal is an autonomous eVTOL aircraft that can carry two passengers or 400 pounds of cargo up to 50 miles. The maximum altitude would be 3,000 feet and the maximum speed would be 50 mph.
Also according to the Aviation Week report, “Workhorse is targeting the air-taxi market and says charging the battery in flight with the engine eliminates the need for long battery-charging periods between flights.
“Lacking wings, SureFly is designed for short hops, the company predicting an average trip length of less than ten miles.”
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Source: Aviation Week & Workhorse with F&F follow-up