French startup company Ascendance Flight Technologies has unveiled the design of its ATEA 5-seater vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

The aircraft will operated over urban areas and has a range of 400km and is set to reduce carbon emissions reduced by 80 per cent.ATEA’s design, which has taken three years to evolve, uses “fan-in-wing” technology and optimised engine configuration. Production is scheduled for 2025. The aircraft is equipped with modular hybrid engines developed by Ascendance Flight Technologies.

The technological innovations integrated in ATEA will create an optimised, easy-to-use and agile operation required for a variety of uses, whether for passenger transport, emergency services, logistical tasks or for surveillance flights.

Separate propulsion systems for horizonal and vertical flight

The ATEA features a “Lift + Cruise” configuration with two separate propulsion systems for vertical and horizontal flight, eight rotors integrated into two fixed wings, two horizontal propellers
Skyview cabin and easy access for passengers.

The ATEA configuration has integrated a hybrid system patented by Ascendance named STERNA. This is devised on an electric engine powered by the merging of two energy sources: combustion and electric (battery). Over time, the company is planning to phase out the combustion energy source and replace it with new sources of cleaner energy such as hydrogen or Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

Eight new generation rotors are now featured on a tandem wing configuration according to the “fan-in-wing” principle. Patented by Ascendance, shrouded rotor technology allows increased power during the take-off and landing phases in addition to significant noise reduction. The number of rotors guarantee manoeuvrability of the aircraft in case of failure, with resilience being compliant with regulatory requirements.

The Lift and Cruise system of the aircraft provides separation of vertical and horizontal flight which are ensured by the rotors for the former and by propellers located in the nose and tailfin for the latter. The resulting absence of pivoting mechanisms reduces risk of failure, which also simplifies the aircraft’s certification while improving overall aircraft safety.

Aircraft will soon exist as full scale prototype

Jean-Christophe Lambert, co-founder and CEO explained:“We set-up Ascendance Flight Technologies with a very clear vision of what we wanted to achieve: to accelerate transition towards green aviation thanks to hybrid technology. The design of ATEA is the concrete reflection of our values, our experience and of our know-how. The aircraft we are presenting to you today is the result of huge efforts by our R&D department, tests and trials on four prototypes and a great deal of thought on costs and the ease of flying such an aircraft. Its characteristics provide all the performances expected by a sector that the ongoing transition has made more demanding.”

He added: “ATEA will soon exist in the form of a full scale prototype and will go into testing phase in 2023. With help from our financial partners we are now experiencing vigorous development. We
are actively recruiting, running test and trial programmes and we are steadily moving towards our 2025 certification objective.”

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