The Future of Advanced Air Mobility

Electra Set to Complete Preliminary Design for eSTOL Technology Demonstrator

Electra is on track to complete the preliminary design phase of its eSTOL aircraft technology demonstrator this month with most of the vendors and suppliers having been selected, including Blue Force Technologies, which will be the lead designer and manufacturer for the airframe.

Program manager James "JP" Stewart noted that Raleigh, North Carolina-based Blue Force has a well-deserved reputation for production and prototyping programs. “We are excited to be working with this high-energy team to get the technology demonstrator safely and quickly in the air and start collecting flight test data,” Steward added.

About the size of a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, Electra’s two-seat technology demonstrator will weigh 3,000 pounds and be powered by eight electric motors with an installed power of 260 kW. A custom turbogenerator will serve as its hybrid-electric powerplant.

Electra is aiming for first flight in 2021 and planning to demonstrate takeoff and landing performance in as little as 100 feet. The production aircraft will carry up to six people and is intended for a variety of missions once it achieves type certification in 2026.

Separately, the company has teamed with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) project with a contract win to join the U.S. Air Force’s Agility Prime program for “Innovative Control and Configurations for ORBs with Distributed Electric Propulsion.”

ORB is a term used by Agility Prime to describe UAM/AAM aircraft that revolutionize mobility for logistic and humanitarian missions. The project will begin in January, and Electra is tasked with developing models and techniques for the precision control of vehicles with distributed propulsion as well as engaging with military and government customers.