The convenience of a helicopter, the speed and range of a plane. This is Trifan 600, the new VTOL ( Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft designed by XTI Aircraft Company.
The innovative product was presented at Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show by Robert LaBelle, Chief Executive Officer of XTI Aircraft , former Chief Executive Officer of AugustaWestland North America and former President of Tilt-Rotor Co, the AgustaWestland’s society specialized in the manufacture of tiltrotors.
Using three ducted fans – two wing fans and a fuselage-mounted one – the TriFan 600 lifts off vertically. After taking off, the central fan closes up while the wing ones rotate 90 degrees with the central axis parallel to the soil like on a common airplane.
Within just 90 seconds, the TriFan600 reaches 338-knot cruise speed and a altitude of over 10,500 meters. If taking off and landing vertically, the range is about 670 miles, which can even double if initial or final phases of the flight are a plane’s conventional ones.
The chance of a point-to-point air travel – from your home to a yacht helipad, for example – is the revolution introduced by this project that is intended to offer an ultimate flying tender for yachtsmen.
However, its appeal goes beyond practical convenience: according to the figures issued by the manufacturer, its cost is the lowest one in the category of private aircrafts. List price is, in fact, USD 6.5 million, just a little more than the acquisition cost of a luxury helicopter. Saving become even more clear if compared with the acquisition cost of a small private jet or the prestigious AugustaWestland 609, the mother of all tiltrotors. Highly advantageous, direct operating costs are approximatively USD 350 per hour, that is about one third and one quarter the cost of flying on a helicopter and a private jet respectively.
XTI Aircraft Company has already received 58 orders. However, owners have to wait some years before enjoying it since the TriFan600 doesn’t exist yet.
The prototype is still under development and its construction is expected to take no more than 6 years. Maybe, the company is too optimistic in this sense, especially if we consider that the AW 609, whose first flight dates back to 2003, is still waiting for final certifications and expected to be delivery only in 2019.