Advanced Air Mobility News

LYTE Aviation Unveils 40-seater SkyBus That Could Travel 1,000 km

LYTE Aviation Unveils 40-seater SkyBus That Could Travel 1,000 km

LYTE Aviation plans to tap the mass transport capability of VTOL aircraft with a 40-seater air bus that can travel distances of 1,000 km at a top speed of 300 kph. Unlike electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, the 17-ton LA-44 SkyBus is powered by a hybrid-electric powertrain that utilizes hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

The UK-based company seeks to have a full-scale prototype of the aircraft complete in the next two years.

“The use of turbine engines will likely remain unavoidable for the foreseeable future, so in order to achieve useful and business-sensitive ranges as well as quicker time to market, we have opted for a hybrid, partly electric VTOL,” LYTE founder and CEO Freshta Farzam said.

She added that the design of the SkyBus was inspired by the Fairey Rotodyne, a British compound gyroplane from the 1950s. The aircraft will be multi-engined and come equipped with four turboprops that are fueled by SAF. Four electric motors powered by hydrogen cells will also be located on the wingtips.

“Conventional, highly reliable turboprops are the best option for our aircraft program for the time being, with the aim to operate and refuel practically anywhere with the current infrastructure. With the constant evolution and expected investment in global infrastructure, including vertiports, energy sources (SAF & green Hydrogen) and electric power plants, the ambition would be to become fully hydrogen-electric in the future,” Farzam said, aiming to displace air transport and land transport modalities such as buses, trains and trucks.

If you refer to Asian Sky Group‘s Asia-Pacific AAM Report H1 2022, you will notice that a significant percentage of eVTOL aircraft are now designed for short-range urban air travel with a maximum range of around 100-300 km.

In March 2023, AutoFlight’s Gen4 Prosperity shattered the world record for the longest eVTOL flight of 250.3 km set by Joby. The four-seater aircraft is designed to fly about 250 km at a cruise speed of 130 kph.

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