Four years of preparation, various patent applications, several strategic partnerships and the founding of e.SAT GmbH have paved the way for an invention that could be tomorrow’s environmentally friendly mode of transportation: electro-hybrid airplanes. Now, e.SAT, RWTH Aachen University, RWTH Aachen Campus and Aachen University of Applied Sciences have introduced their Silent Air Taxi, or rather a futuristic model of a small plane.
According to the presenters, the unique electro-hybrid drive system and the optimized airflow mechanics of the boxwing concept will allow this air taxi to offer affordable strain relief on traditional passenger transport carriers, and reduce individual travel times significantly. The objective is to ensure that Silent Air Taxi operations will be as affordable as first class rail tickets.
With the financial support of the state government, a former airport close to Aachen will be transformed into a research airfield where the Silent Air Taxi will be developed to manufacturing maturity and production. The strong partner network will drive its technical development until its official commissioning in 2024, and is preparing for its maiden flight in 2022.
The small aircraft will fly with four passengers and a pilot for a range of up to 1000 km and a cruising speed of over 300 km/h. For takeoff and landing, the craft will need an airstrip of max. 400 m length, which will allow it to fly to 95% of all German airports and airfields. 80% of the German population lives within a 25 km radius of an airfield. At takeoff, the Silent Air Taxi is so quiet that its sound becomes indiscernible at a distance of just 100 meters.
“Our understanding of innovative air mobility is consistently aligned with the needs of customers. These are shorter travel times, punctuality, and flexibility with regards to individual requirements”, explain the two e.SAT CEOs Prof. Peter Jeschke and Prof. Frank Janser.
More than 50 experts are currently developing and building the low-noise Silent Air Taxi in collaboration with renowned industry players of the German aviation sector, such as MTU Aero Engines. “For MTU Aero Engines, the Silent Air Taxi is a courageous and convincing future concept with very high chances of realization. This is why we not only participate as a technology partner, but also in e.SAT Powertrain GmbH,“ says Lars Wagner, Chief Technology Officer, MTU Aero Engines. e.SAT Powertrain GmbH, a subsidiary of e.SAT GmbH, is a manufacturer of electro-hybrid drives.
“The ability to develop systemic innovations that benefit society is a strategic goal of RWTH Aachen, which we pursue in collaboration with technology partners on RWTH Aachen Campus. The Silent Air Taxi is another milestone for us, now that the delivery of the first e.GO Life electric cars commenced a few weeks ago. It shows that Aachen is a prime location for interdisciplinary research and development, and that we utilize the option of interlinking academia and industry to its full potential”, explains Ulrich Rüdiger, Rector of RWTH Aachen University and Chairman of the Supervisory Board at RWTH Aachen Campus GmbH.