Vy 400 is a single-engine vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft being developed by Transcend Air. Designed to deliver fast and cost-effective inter-city transportation, the aircraft offers three times faster and 50% cheaper journeys compared to similar-sized helicopters.

Transcend Air plans to start commuter airline services from major city centres such as Manhattan and downtown Boston in the US, using VTOL-ready landing pads in 2014.

The Vy 400 VTOL aircraft is expected to be launched at a price of approximately $3.5m.

Vy 400 VTOL aircraft development details

Transcend Air’s first VTOL prototype made its flight in 2009 and 15 VTOL prototypes have been built and tested by the company prior to the production of Vy 400.

Of the 15 prototypes, 14 were installed with electric engine propulsion for flight testing, while one was installed with a gasoline engine.

Vy 400 VTOL aircraft design and features

The Vy 400 is a convertiplane VTOL aircraft based on the Elytron Converticopter. The aircraft requires no runway to take-off and land as its wing structure tilts vertically to enable the take-off and landing operations. The wing structure moves into a horizontal position once the aircraft reaches the required altitude.

The VY400 has a retractable landing gear, which reduces drag during the flight. The aircraft features a whole airframe parachute system to land safely in emergency conditions. The airframe parachute system is supplied by BRS Aerospace.

“The aircraft features a whole airframe parachute system to land safely in emergency conditions.”

The Vy 400 is also equipped with health and usage monitoring, flight into known icing (FIKI), and mission protection technologies.

The pilot-friendly aircraft is installed with a dual-channel, triple modular redundant fly-by-wire flight control system and an autopilot system backed by envelop protection.

The geo-fencing and pulse sensor technologies further ensure smooth, safe and targeted flying, while avoiding obstacles in the flight path. The systems allow the aircraft to fly back to the designated area.

Vy 400 VTOL cabin details

The cabin can accommodate six personnel, including a pilot and five passengers. The seating configuration resembles a regular car cabin, with a passenger sitting in the front beside the pilot, while four seats are in pairs facing each other. The spacious cabin also accommodates passenger baggage.

Each passenger is provided with a single window and comfortable positioning. The passenger comfort during the short flight is further enhanced by facilities such as a coffee cup holder and an armrest.

Engine and performance

The Vy 400 VTOL aircraft is powered by a Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6A-67F turboprop engine, which integrates a three-stage axial and a single-stage centrifugal compressor, as well as an annular reverse flow combustor. The engine produces a maximum power of 1,700shp.

The aircraft has an empty weight of 2,177kg, while its maximum gross take-off weight is 3,170kg. It can carry a useful load of approximately 997kg and a maximum fuel load of 435kg.

The Vy 400 can achieve a maximum rate of climb (ROC) of 1,371m/sec, while its maximum rate of descent (ROD) is 1,219.2m/sec. It has a cruise speed of 651km/h and hover speed of 64km/h.