The advancement of flying cars and eVTOL aircraft is redefining urban air mobility like never before. Most eVTOL aircraft in the making are touted to run purely on batteries. In more ways than one, the development of flying cars and eVTOL could help to improve the environment with regards to emissions.
Founded in 2020, JETX- an Orlando-based startup has been working on designing a modular propulsion system with vector thrust mechanisms, apparently touted to reduce noise and which allows for “a clean design.”
According to the company, the propulsion system can be configured in multiple ways for eVTOL and eSTOL aircraft. JetX further claims that its vector thrust device can work with electric and non-electric power sources, and features the capability of embedding it in the airframe to create a hidden propulsion system.
Reportedly, the new propulsion system will allow an eVTOL aircraft to remain level while flying vertically and horizontally by using ventral flaps that redirect the thrust from the fans.
How did the idea come about?
Bryan Welcel, one of the founders of JetX, had an idea to create a propulsion system that would vector without rotating in flight. The team started off with EDFs [electric ducted fans] and applied non-rotating vectoring for vertical flight to fluidic thrusters. This culminated in a new airflow propulsion system with an onboard computer that would direct the airflow from a power source, such as a compressor, to thrusters with fluidic nozzles. The computer would direct the airflow to fluidic nozzles for vertical or forward flight, depending on various stages of the flight.
The power sources do not rotate for vertical flight. This option allows us to embed the propulsion inside a fuselage or vehicle body, which makes it a much better option- not only for aircraft design but also for the fuselage or vehicle body to work as an enclosure to reduce noise.JetX co-founder Bryan Welcel said in an interview with eVTOL.com
According to Bryan, the propulsion system is unique in that the wings do not tilt. It is very much similar to the technology on a F35 or Harrier where the propulsion doesn’t rotate, and the thrust vectors.
Reportedly, JetX doesn’t seem to have fixated on a particular method for vectoring the thrust as it is collaborating with other aircraft designers ad hence keeping all options open. From what is known, they are designing and testing systems using ventral flaps, external flaps, “rotating” thrust vectoring, cascade vanes and buckets. Notably, JetX’s ventral flap design is patent-pending.
Currently, the company is focussing on prototyping and testing the vectoring systems and it will be a long way down the road before they actually get to prototyping their own aircraft to prove the system.
Although being very much in the conceptual and experimental stage, Welcel is optimistic that time is likely on their side, as there is still a long road to building the required infrastructure for eVTOL flying taxis.
Apparently, JetX’s propulsions can be fully embedded and can be also used to create eVTOL stealth aircraft for the military.