There’s a new player on the vibrant eVTOL scene.
UK-based LYTE Aviation is the brainchild of German national Freshta Farzam, who on March 23, 2023, presented the concept she has been working on for the last three years: a 40-seat Hybrid eVTOL, which she calls LA-44 SkyBus (and SkyTruck in its cargo variant).
The SkyBus is projected to carry a 4.5-ton payload over distances of up to 1,000 km. Its top speed? 300km/h. In addition to being considerably larger than other all-electric eVTOL concepts currently under development, Farzam has opted for a hybrid propulsion system combining hydrogen-powered fuel cells with a conventional turbine powered by either jet fuel or sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
More specifically, the SkyBus will feature four conventional turbine engines and four electric motors at the wingtips. The latter, which will be powered by a hydrogen-fed fuel cell, will provide control and stability. The aircraft will use tiltrotor technology to take-off and land vertically in places where no runway is available.
The rationale for this hybrid configuration is to be able to use existing infrastructure and technology in the short term. The idea is to transition to 100% hydrogen-electric propulsion at a later date. further into the future.
When presenting the concept at industry conference Helicopter Investor 2023 in London on March 2023, Farzam explained that she had been inspired by the Fairey Rotodyne, a rotorcraft developed by Britain in the 1950s.
According to Britain’s Companies House records, LYTE Aviation appears to have been founded earlier this month. However, it has the backing of two well consolidated players in the aerospace sector, satellite communications operator Inmarsat, and Inflight Canada, an aerospace design organisation with 40 years of experience working with major aviation authorities such as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
LYTE Aviation said it is expecting to be able to publicly announce more partners later this year.