Czech hybrid VTOL aircraft developer Zuri is seeking fresh funding for a push to create a next generation large scale prototype.

Speaking at the Sustainable Skies World Summit 2023 event this month, founder and CEO Michal Illich said his team had come “pretty far” in the programme, but now needed new capital to progress.

He told FINN: “We have raised 3 million euros so far. And here at Sustainable Skies, we announced opening a new investment round so hopefully we will raise enough to allow us to build a next generation large scale prototype.”

Design of the aircraft

Zuri started as a visual sketch drawn by Illich with some crayons borrowed from his children. Later, it was redrawn by a professional aerospace designer to the form under development today. The latest iteration, unveiled at the end of 2022, revealed the Zuri 2.0 concept. The seating configuration changed to 1+2+2 – one pilot and two rows of two passengers each. The aircraft now also has a V-tail instead of the traditional tail.

Commenting on the aircraft, Illich said it would be powered by sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

“This will allow us to fly 700 kilometres even with a 30 minute reserve It’s four passengers and a single pilot,” he said.

Pilot-controlled versus autonomous flight

“We would actually prefer to be fully autonomous but the legislation is not ready for that yet. So we believe there will be a phase where the pilot will be required on board. Then there will be another phase where the pilot will be on the ground, controlling the aircraft remotely and then the future will be fully autonomous.”

“We focus on three business uses. The main one is, of course, essential transport. The second one is cargo delivery. It’s the same aircraft, just a different interior configuration with single pilot and a large space behind him. We have large doors to cover even standardised pallets, and the third one is medivac or search and rescue version.”
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