The next project of the Aachen electric car pioneer Günther Schuh has a title: e.SAT. The company has presented the hybrid-electric small aircraft Silent Air Taxi together with the RWTH Aachen University and the Aachen University of Applied Sciences.
Small, light and quiet: By 2024, the developers from Aachen intend to put the hybrid small aircraft into operation and officially approve it. The five-seater Silent Air Taxi will serve as a feeder to major airports and thus relieve traffic between cities. The aim is for the Silent Air Taxi to be as inexpensive as a first-class train ticket with Deutsche Bahn.
In contrast to other electric flight projects such as Lilium, Volocopter or Ehang, the aircraft from Aachen is not designed as a VTOL that can take off and land like a helicopter in the smallest places. The Silent Air Taxi is as a small aircraft and, according to the developers, requires a maximum runway length of 400 metres. This means it can fly to almost any airport in its native Germany. According to the company, 80 per cent of Germans live within a radius of 25 kilometres of a (small) commercial airport.
The novelty of the Silent Air Taxi is apparent in the name: It is designed to be extremely quiet. Since take-off and landing are done in electric mode, the aircraft can no longer be heard at a distance of 100 meters, according to the developers. In flight, the combustion engines then take over and should enable a maximum speed of 300 km/h and a range of up to 1000 kilometres.
The unusual wing concept known as the Boxwing, which resembles a double-decker, is intended to contribute to the low volume and high efficiency. It ensures “superior aerodynamic efficiency, compactness and compactness,” mused Frank Janser, Professor of Fluid Mechanics at Aachen University of Applied Sciences.
The maiden flight is scheduled for 2022 and type certification for 2024. In e.SAT GmbH, developers from the RWTH and the Aachen University of Applied Sciences work together. Günther Schuh, professor at Aachen University and head of e.GO-Mobile, acts as e-SAT’s CFO. In addition to companies such as MTU Aero Engines, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the surrounding communities also support the project. The Aachen-Merzbrück airfield is to be converted into a research airfield with an adjacent industrial park at a cost of 12.7 million euros.