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Tue, Apr 04, 2023

Lyte Aviation Unveils 40-Seat Hybrid eVTOL

SkyBus, SkyTruck Aim for Best of Both Worlds with Hydrogen/Electric Hybrid and Traditional Turbine Engines

LYTE Aviation showed off a pair of brand new, sustainable aircraft in the 40-seater SkyBus and cargo-hauling SkyTruck. 

The hybrid, electric VTOL aircraft sport a 4.5 tonne payload, 1,000-km range, and 300 km/hr top speed with largely conventional technology. The SkyBus, or LA-44, is about "5 times more efficient than traditional rotary wing aircraft", according to Lyte. The powertrain includes 2 separate propulsion systems, with one hydrogen/electric, and the other a traditional petroleum-burning turbine. The tilt-wing aircraft's first full-scale prototype should be operational in the next 2 years.

“The use of turbine engines will likely remain unavoidable for the foreseeable future, so in order to achieve useful and business-sensible ranges as well as quicker time to market, we have opted for a hybrid, partly electric VTOL," said CEO Freshta Farzam. “My personal inspiration with this operating concept stems from the Rotodyne aircraft of the 1950’s. Imagine 70 years later after accomplishing those 350 successful test flights, what can be achieved thanks to the advances in technology that we have seen, and continue to see.”

The LA-44 will be equipped with 4 standard turbine engines, able to run on JetA or SAF, with 4 electric motors at the wingtips for added thrust and control. The blend of tried and true engine tech with next-gen hydrogen fuel cells should allow the SkyBus to straddle the eras, providing the best of both worlds. As designed, the LA-44 combines the best of reliable old tech with all the cleanliness and efficiency of sustainable development - if it works, that is.

FMI: www.lyteaviation.com

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