PHOTO CAPTION: Artist's concept of Diamond hybrid-electric tiltrotor aircraft.

Hybrid Tiltrotor Aircraft Coming

Diamond Aircraft tells Flying Magazine that it's planning to develop a six-passenger, hybrid-electric tiltrotor aircraft for the general aviation market.

Published: 06-Oct-2015

Austrian general aviation aircraft maker Diamond Aircraft has told Flying Magazine that it is wrapping up its initial feasibility study for a six-passenger tiltrotor airplane that can takeoff and land like a helicopter. The plane could be flying in seven years.

Diamond founder and CEO Christian Dries explains that the next phase of the project is to build a 725 lbs. (328 kg) unmanned prototype. If successful, it then will be followed by a 2,800-pound prototype, followed by the full fly-by-wire production version.

According to Flying, the plane will be "propelled by two high-output Siemens electric motors with power to recharge the batteries in flight supplied by a pair of Austro diesel engines." The description is a bit confusing since the concept illustration shows four propellers mounted at the end of the winds and nose canard, which suggests they are propelled by electric motors. If so, are the oil-burners mounted in the fuselage or on the canards?

Intriguingly, Dries says landings will be computer-controlled using laser scanning technology like that incorporated in self-driving cars, which opens up the possibility of a future, pilotless version of the plane.

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