Electra.aero gets US Army contract to test blown-wing ESTOL concept 

Photo: JP Stewart/Electra

Electra.aero, a Virginia-based developer of hybrid-electric short take-off and landing (eSTOL) aircraft, has received $1.9 million from the US Army in the form of a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract. 

The startup, which is also already testing a small-scale demonstrator called ‘Goldfinch’, will use these funds to perform wind-tunnel testing and aerodynamic analysis of its blown-wing technology. 

The blown-wing design is key to providing Electra.aero’s aircraft with its ultra-short takeoff and landing capabilities. By accelerating the air that goes over the wing, the aircraft is able to generate lift at slower speeds than conventional aircraft. As a result, the aircraft currently being developed by Electra.aero will be able to operate from runways as short as 150 feet (45 meters). 

This type of performance has attracted the interest of the military, as it is often necessary to fly in and out of locations with very limited space for conventional take-offs and landings. 

According to Ben Marchionna, Electra’s Director of Technology and Innovation at Electra.aero, “Many of the most commonly deployed military logistics solutions in use today are flown well below their intended payload capacity. Our eSTOL aircraft can fulfill these missions while using dramatically less fuel, providing much more range, operating at significantly reduced noise levels, and utilizing the same constrained operational ground footprints.”  

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