Article Image

IPFS News Link • Transportation: Air Travel

Ultra-short takeoff and landing plane rakes in $8 billion in pre-orders

•, By Loz Blain

Electra's hybrid-electric STOL (short takeoff and landing) aircraft is one such plane. When it hits the market, it'll carry nine passengers, and a pilot, plus luggage, up to 500 miles (805 km) at a cruise speed around 200 mph (322 km/h). It'll run eight electric props along the leading edge of the wings, as well as large flaps hanging from the trailing edges. This allows a "blown lift" aerodynamic effect powerful enough that it'll lift off at a speed of just 35 mph (56 km/h).

And it'll accelerate to that speed quickly – meaning that you can use a runway smaller than a soccer pitch. Electra says it'll operate from airfields as small as 300 x 100 ft (92 x 31 m), and in the video above, seems to imply that'll fit on the top of some buildings. Either way, it's one-tenth the size of a standard runway, so even if these things won't open up as many spaces as eVTOLs, they'll still be extremely flexible.

Plus, as investors are no doubt pleased to note, it functions more or less as a regular plane, so the path to certification and commercial deployment should be much smoother and easier to navigate, with plenty of precedents and fewer unknowns than the eVTOL teams face.