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IPFS News Link • Transportation: Air Travel

JetX tests non-tilting vectored thrust modules for eVTOL aircraft

•, By Loz Blain

The idea of the propulsion vectoring system is to build propulsion units into the vehicle statically, then use one of a few different methods to take the airflow and thrust coming out of them, and vector it downward. JetX is testing with regular ducted fans, as well as fluidic propulsion units similar to the "bladeless fans on steroids" that Jetoptera is using.

JetX doesn't seem to have settled on a particular method for vectoring the thrust. Indeed, it's designing and testing systems using ventral flaps, external flaps, "rotating" thrust vectoring, cascade vanes and buckets to do the job. Since the company plans to work with other aircraft designers, it's keeping options as broad as possible, largely independent of power sources or propulsion systems, other than to say they'll need to be relatively small-diameter fans to fit inside JetX's thrust vectoring system.

There are other aircraft that use thrust vectoring on a non-tilting propulsion system for VTOL purposes. The Lockheed Martin F-35B fighter jet is one example, although it does have the considerable benefit of a Pratt & Whitney F135 afterburning turbofan engine capable of pounding out some 40,000 lbf of thrust.

Closer to the JetX end of town might be the extended-range, nine-seat hybrid-electric eVTOL put forth by Odys Aviation. This design uses 16 medium-diameter propellers, mounted rigidly facing forward along a diamond box wing. There are flaps along the rear of each wing, which extend down to vector thrust somewhere between 75 and 85 degrees downward from the horizontal plane.