The two-speed aircraft is intended to operate much more economically than the models developed so far, as it would not have to take its rotors with it on the road. The Navy is already interested in the plans. Talyn Air was founded in 2019 by two engineers who previously worked on SpaceX Falcon 9 missiles, as well as Dragon and Crew Dragon, Jamie Gull and Evan Mucasey.
The main profile of the Los Angeles-based company is the development of technology that enables environmentally friendly, sustainable aviation, which, breaking with tradition, is envisioned in a completely new form. The eVTOL (electric Vertical Take-off and Landing) they designed is not similar to drones made by other companies, such as Lilium, Joby, Hyundai or EHang, as it is not one but it consists of two separable parts.
The idea came from the operation of the missiles: the vehicles launching into space also consist of several stages, which, when their work is done, detach from the other modules, so they do not represent an unnecessary additional burden throughout the journey. The first half of the Talyn’s vehicle, the Lift, is a ten-rotor eVTOL, eight of which allow for vertical take-off, ie like helicopters, from one place (these are located at the top of the vehicle), and two are located at the tail, these, with ten electric motors. together they provide the drive. EVTOL does not carry passengers, so it could be designed to be quite flat. Although a horizontal stabilizer is not designed for the prototype, it is not much needed, as the main unit in which the passengers sit detaches from it and continues its journey alone.
One of the most promising air taxis exploded from almost nothing. For the first time, Joby Aviation has released a video of how their electric aircraft takes to the air, and based on that, it seems perfectly plausible that by 2024, they will be operating an air taxi service. The cruise plane takes off and reaches the right speed with the help of eVTOL, then after separation it transports the passengers to the destination on its own. The small aircraft is also electric, but has only one engine and one rear propeller, however, this is also enough to keep its initial speed on the road, which can be up to 330 km / h. With one charge, it can carry five passengers or a maximum of 454 kilograms of cargo over a distance of 563 kilometers. And what makes the landing really spectacular is that it will not be solved by the plane alone, but will be connected to another eVTOL, which will be waiting near the station and helping you land.
The “second stage” can land on the runway independently if necessary, as it has three wheels, but this is a method that can only be used in an emergency, as drone descent is much more practical in a crowded metropolitan environment and in virtually any small station.
At first glance, the two-stage solution does not make drone transport easier, not least because it means that the vehicle must travel a predetermined route, but it has one big advantage: more cost-effective flight. Engineers say separate units are needed because the progress of conventional drones is slowed down by many rotors, which are carried with them only as an unnecessary load some of the time, increasing air resistance and consumption. The structure of the passenger unit, which has not yet been determined to be an automated or driver-driven vehicle, can be better optimized for its own task.
“Both parts of the vehicle can be optimized specifically for that flight phase (which is their job), rather than just working pretty well on the entire phase,” Gull told Flight Global. The company launched its website in February and the prototypes aren’t ready yet, so the two-piece drone only exists in the form of concepts and visual designs for now, but engineers say they could make the most of their efficiency if they were part of a larger fleet.
The company is using the machine for commercial purposes, but the technology is also being negotiated with the United States Air Force (USAF) and Navy (USB). This would be a particularly useful tool for military action, which would allow aircraft to land vertically, as aircraft are most vulnerable in a hostile environment during take-off and landing. Talyn is therefore, under its contract with the Navy, not developing the entire two-stage drone, but primarily the first rotor unit, which would be made compatible with existing aircraft.
As Flight Global mentions, DARPA has already planned something similar under the Gremlins program, although that project does not focus on passenger transport, but also uses a two-step method that also uses drones. Gremlins are small UAS (Unmanned Air Systems) vehicles that are transported high in the stomach by a larger carrier unit and then released at a safe distance from enemy territory, and the real work is done by these automated small devices. They later return to a means of transport, such as a C-130 cargo plane, which collects vehicles.
According to DARPA, the same UAS could be used up to twenty times. The only problem with Gremlins is that it has not been achieved so far. The last time an air test was held in Utah on October 28, but the collection failed, the X-61A semi-automatic devices, dubbed GAV (Gremlins Air Vehicle), eventually parachuted to the ground. However, the agency will continue to work on the technology, so Talyn Air’s main task will be to prove that drones can be transported and docked, even in flight.