The prototype of the 22-rotor air taxi, which existed only on paper last year, has taken to the air

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Pantuo Aviation recently launched a half-size demonstrator of its air taxi, with plans to have the full-size version flying by 2027. Last year, the Chinese eVTOL developer Pantuo Aviation unveiled its Pantala Concept II, then only a concept. A year later, the company has flown the first prototype of the aircraft, which is currently still a half-scale demonstrator, but has already started work on a full-scale test aircraft, Interesting Engineering reported.

The Pantala Concept II is very similar in appearance and operation to Lilium’s air taxi already under development, but Pantuo’s eVTOL has more and larger rotors, and the entire rotor-equipped wing structure is able to rotate from vertical to horizontal flight. The Pantala Concept II will be equipped with a total of 22 rotors, which will be housed in a large nacelle that will also function as a wing. According to the designers, the aircraft will be capable of reaching speeds of 300 km/h and a range of 250 km. The 22 rotors will be powered by lithium-ion batteries, which will also spin the same number of electric motors.

Over the past year, Pantuo Aviation has built a half-size demonstrator, the T1, which will be used to further test the viability of the concept. The company hopes to have all the permits for its vehicle in place by 2027 at the latest, and to launch its air taxi service in that year. This will put them some way behind Lilium and Volocopter, which have similar plans for 2024. This does not mean, however, that Pantuo Aviation will be completely excluded from the market, as some estimates suggest that eVTOL production and air taxi services will grow into a $6.63 billion industry by 2030.

Source: interestingengineering.com

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