SureFly is an advanced electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft designed and manufactured by Workhorse Group.
Designed to offer safe, secure and superior flight experience to the passengers, the aircraft can be used as both a personal air vehicle or for defence and commercial applications.
The SureFly aircraft was officially unveiled at the Paris Air Show held in France in June 2017. It was also exhibited at the EAA Airventure 2017 international air show in Wisconsin, US, and at CES 2018 held in Nevada, US, in January 2018.
The aircraft successfully completed its maiden flight at the Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio, in April 2018. Multiple flight tests of the aircraft were conducted in August 2018.
A co-operative research and development agreement (CRADA) was signed between the US Army and Workhorse Group in November 2018. The agreement allows Workhorse to collaborate with the armed forces for carrying out a research and development (R&D) programme intended to explore the potential military applications of the aerial vehicle.
The electric aircraft can also be used for precision agriculture, emergency responder, and city and commuter applications.
It is expected to receive FAA type certification by the end of 2019.
SureFly design and features
SureFly features a double cab structure made of carbon fibre. Its small footprint enables landing on unprepared strips and runways.
Propellers mounted on the extended rotor arms on top of the hull provide the required lift for the flight. The egg-shaped fuselage section of the aircraft is installed with carbon fibre skids.
The cabin has the capacity to accommodate two personnel including a pilot and a passenger. It is fitted with two hydraulic doors for ingress and egress of the onboard crew. The aircraft also features a ballistic parachute to ensure safe landing during emergency situations.
The electric vehicle has a curb weight of 1,850lb (839.1kg) and maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of approximately 2,400lb (1,088.6kg). It can fly at a maximum altitude of 5,000ft (1,524m).
Modifications available for the vehicle based on the mission requirements. The all-passenger configuration is designed to carry a pilot and passenger, while the cargo configuration can house a pilot and cargo.
VTOL aircraft is currently available in the piloted version, while a fully-automated version of the vehicle will be rolled out in near future.
Avionics and communication systems aboard SureFly
The crew cabin is integrated with a heated pitot tube and static ports for airspeed and altitude measurement.
Navigational requirements of the aircraft are served by an onboard GPS navigation system. The cockpit also features flight control devices, displays, and detect-and-avoid sensors.
Performance of SureFly
SureFly is equipped with eight fixed-pitch propellers driven by electric motors. Each rotor arm features two contra-rotating carbon fibre propellers. The motors are powered by the fuel piston engine driving dual generators.
The emergency power requirements of the aerial vehicle are fulfilled by the onboard dual lithium battery packs. Each battery pack offers a rated power capacity of 7.5kWh and supplies power in the event of generator failure, for an emergency landing.
The power plant ensures the air vehicle to fly at a maximum speed of 70mi/h (112km/h). The maximum flight endurance of the aircraft is approximately 2.5 hours.