Jetcopter first unveiled its concept for a lift fan aircraft in November 2018. The design marks a significant departure from both existing helicopters and the majority of eVTOL models currently in the works. At Germany's Aero Friedrichshafen show in April 2019, the company exhibited a full-scale mockup of the aircraft but it has yet to publish any clear timeline for the development.
Jetcopter's technology differentiator is the use of two six-feet centrifugal air turbines positioned above the fuselage. These are powered by a hybrid combination of a pair of 500-hp automotive piston engines driving electric motors. These will generate 600 mph of airflow through the ducted fans with carbon fiber turbine blades to provide vertical lift and horizontal propulsion via ducts in the aircraft's short wings. According to company founder Donatas Skulskis, electrical power will not be a viable option for aircraft for at least 10 years because current batteries do not deliver sufficient power density relative to their weight. However, the Jetcopter will feature a small battery with sufficient power for up to 15 minutes during takeoff and this will then be recharged during horizontal flight by the piston engines in much the same way as for hybrid cars.
The company intends to pursue type certification rules under the new Special Condition guidelines published in July by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. In September 2019, it said that it is seeking to raise an initial investment of $6 million to kick-start total development costs that are projected at $60 million.
More recently, the Jetcopter team has been working on a variety of alternative designs. These include a SD-500 model with a fixed-wing to support a longer range of up to around 1,000 miles and the SD-1000, which shows ducted fans within the center part of the fuselage.