The South African company Pegasus Universal Aerospace will present for the first time at the European Business Aviation Exhibition EBACE, which will open tomorrow in Geneva (Switzerland), a business jet with the possibility of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). The prototype of the composite aircraft, called VBJ (vertical take-off and landing business jet), will be shown to the public in 1: 8 scale.
In total, the aircraft will be able to carry up to eight passengers over a distance of up to 4.4 thousand km during takeoff from the runway, or 2.1 thousand km at vertical takeoff. Cruising speed will be 796 km / h, flight altitude - 35 thousand feet. VBJ wings will be equipped with fans to create lift, which are driven by two CT7-8 engines manufactured by GE Aviation. In addition, the aircraft will be able to fly with one pilot.
The aircraft will be presented to the public seven years after the head of the company Reza Mia began to study the possibility of designing a light aircraft with the helicopter take-off and landing characteristics. "Traditional business jets are able to quickly transport people through the air, but a lot of time is spent on the land route to / from airports, which are usually located far from financial and residential areas," said Mia.
Combining the capabilities of an aircraft and a helicopter in one aircraft, the Pegasus VBJ introduces "a new era of travel according to the point-to-point scheme [flights between individual pairs of cities], with the possibility of landing on a tightly built piece of land, a helipad, a yacht, and any other , including grass or gravel."
The company is focused on a fairly wide range of markets, including air ambulance, charter and corporate transportation, offshore operations, law enforcement, as well as private flights. The most important regions for Pegasus Universal Aerospace are Europe, North America, the Middle East, and also the "fast-growing countries of Asia."
Note that within EBACE, Pegasus Universal Aerospace also plans to announce the supplier of avionics and automated control systems for its aircraft.
It is reported that the prototype on a scale of 1: 8 was tested in Pretoria (South Africa) to demonstrate the flight characteristics and the possibility of moving from horizontal to vertical flight. Soon Pegasus Universal Aerospace will begin production of the first full-scale prototype, flight tests of which should begin in mid-2020.
"At the moment, we are building a VBJ cabin layout, which this year will be transported to London to start a demonstration tour of Europe," Mia said. The purpose of the tour is also to increase aircraft sales and increase interest in the program from potential investors.
Until today, the project has been fully funded by the head of the company, but according to his forecasts, the project will require another $ 400 million to bring the aircraft to market. Certification and commissioning of VBJ should take place between 2024 and 2026.