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Mon, Oct 02, 2023

FAA to Recognize Axe eVTOL as LSA

… So States Skyfly

The Federal Aviation Administration is set to recognize the Axe eVTOL as a Light Sports Aircraft (LSA) under the agency’s newly-proposed MOSAIC certification scheme.

An acronym denoting Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certificates, MOSAIC proposes to “enable enhancements in safety and performance and increase privileges under a number of sport-pilot and light-sport aircraft rules.” Ostensible enhancements under the inchoate rule include: increasing suitability for flight training, limited aerial work, and personal travel. The proposed rule seeks to expand the number and types of aircraft sport pilots may operate.

Moreover, MOSAIC proposes to amend special purpose operations for restricted category aircraft; amend the duration, eligible purposes, and operating limitations for experimental aircraft; and add operating limitations applicable to experimental aircraft engaged in space support vehicle flights.

Under the FAA’s extant certification model, only single-engine aircraft may be classified as LSAs. It is expected, however, that the agency’s cognizance of the high-probability of a near-future proliferation of electric aircraft will compel the FAA to reform regulations in a manner commensurate with the LSA category being broadened to include multi-engine aircraft.

Produced by U.K.-based Skyfly Technologies, the Axe is a carbon-fiber, fixed-tricycle undercarriage, two-passenger eVTOL personal aircraft available in all-electric and hybrid-electric propulsion architectures. The Axe’s all-electric iteration manages a cruise speed of 86-knots and a range of 86-nautical-miles. The hybrid-electric version, while maintaining the same maximum forward speed, boasts an advertised range of 173-nautical-miles. The Axe’s 1,323-pound maximum takeoff weight comprises the craft’s 401-pound empty-weight and 379-pound maximum payload. The remaining 543 remain unaccounted for in the manufacturer’s literature.

By way of powertrain, the Axe features eight electric motors and four rotors situated bilaterally at the distal ends of forward and aft canard wings. Subject rotors are mounted at fixed-angles to the fixed canards, thereby reducing the machine’s complexity and manufacturing and maintenance costs. The Axe’s occupant compartment is covered by a canopy providing excellent visibility.

Skyfly expects its Axe eVTOL to attain certification by 2025.

Axe is likely to qualify as an LSA under MOSAIC insomuch as the contraption’s four canards, which develop aerodynamic left, and fixed, 45-degree-angled rotors enable it to operate after the fashion of a normal airplane.

Skyfly CCO Jaap Rademaker stated: “It is meaningful to see the world’s leading aviation regulator, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration encouraging and supporting sustainability and innovation for eco-friendly electric aircraft like the Axe personal eVTOL by Skyfly.”

Mr. Rademaker added: “The FAA’s lead will spur on other regulators across the world to make new things happen too. The Axe eVTOL is both a helicopter as well as an airplane, but much easier to fly than either of these, and with a lower environmental impact, less noise, and significantly greater safety. By creating a regulatory environment in which the Axe can operate to its full potential, the FAA is taking concrete steps towards making the skies cleaner, quieter, safer and more affordable to all. Our customers cannot wait to cut their travel times to a quarter or less while enjoying more comfort and freedom in the skies instead of being stuck in traffic on Earth.”

The Axe 2-seat personal eVTOL is not intended to function as a commercial air-taxi. Rather, the machine is designed to accommodate private owners flying themselves within the planned Urban Air Mobility (UAM) structure. The Axe can be hovered via controls approximating those of a consumer camera-drone, and features an autopilot and moving-map display.

Skyfly’s engineering team anticipates flight-testing of the Axe platform will commence in December 2023.

The aircraft is priced from $180,000.

FMI: https://skyflytech.com


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