Skyworks, July 10, 2019 - Skyworks Global and Scaled Composites (Scaled) have announced a strategic partnership to collaborate on the design, build, and test of a prototype of the Skyworks VertiJet.
The VertiJet is a runway independent aircraft that can take-off and land vertically and hover like a helicopter.
Leveraging technology from the British Rotodyne and the DARPA Heliplane program, VertiJet will incorporate technologies that were successfully designed and developed by Skyworks in the Heliplane program to achieve an estimated top speed of 400 miles per hour and a range of 1,000 nautical miles.
Past DARPA-funded design and risk reduction experiments from the Heliplane program will be leveraged to reduce risk and to accelerate the VertiJet prototype design.
The VertiJet adapts Skyworks’ proprietary Heliplane technology for the civil aviation, defense, and homeland security markets. Skyworks envisions VertiJet to be a replacement for helicopter and tiltrotor aircraft configurations in markets where speed, range, and cost-efficiency are important. VertiJet’s unique, patented design elements reduce the complexity, as well as the high operating costs, normally associated with rotary wing aircraft while offering extraordinary performance with a safe platform.
The specific size of the initial demonstrator is not yet fixed, but Skyworks and Scaled are considering a demonstrator that ranges in size from a light aircraft for four passengers to a utility aircraft that can carry eight to 12 passengers.
“VertiJet is a disruptive aircraft configuration,” said Skyworks Global’s chief technology advisor Don Woodbury. “An aircraft that can take-off and land vertically, hover when needed, and cruise with the speed, range, and efficiency of a fixed wing aircraft would be quite compelling. But even more exciting from my perspective is the potential to provide this unique performance without the complexity or cost of today’s military and civil rotorcraft.”
“VertiJet is one of the most exciting opportunities in aviation,” said Skyworks Global executive director retired Brigadier General John Michel. “It’s a proven aircraft configuration that brings an unparalleled level of performance and game changing set of new capabilities to meet the overwhelming demand for cost effective vertical lift solutions. Add in the inherent scalability of this technology to larger configurations and the Skyworks and Scaled team have a rare opportunity to introduce the world to a platform that can transform the vertical lift market.”
“Scaled excels at the rapid prototyping of proof-of-concept vehicles. The VertiJet demonstrator will build on our legacy of innovation and proving what is possible in aerospace. We look forward to collaborating with Skyworks to realize the potential of this unique aircraft configuration,” said Scaled president, Cory Bird.
GBA / DARPA Heliplane
The Groen Brothers Aviation (GBA) / Darpa Heliplane (HELIcopter-airPLANE) was funded by DARPA in 2005 to develop a long-range VTOL aircraft intended to cruise at twice the speed of conventional helicopters. Also participating Georgia Tech, Adams Aircraft Industries and Williams International, the program was terminated in 2008 after technical problems with the tipjets used at the tip of the rotor blades.
The program was relaunched by GBA Successor, Skyworks, as a means to provide an aircraft capable for Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions with a 400 mph cruise speed, a 1,000 lb payload, and an unrefueled range of 1,000 miles.