TCab Tech (时的科技), an eVTOL startup, announced today that the airframe of its E20 model had completed a series of key tests over a period of four months, clearing the way for further review on safety and airworthiness.
The Shanghai-based company said via its official WeChat account that the aircraft was subject to all kinds of tests from system joint debugging and ballast durability to tethered and untethered flight.
In the parlance of civil aviation, airframe is the mechanical structure of an aircraft. This structure typically consists of the fuselage, undercarriage, empennage and wings, and excludes the propulsion system.
TCab Tech said its E20 airframe has the same take-off mass, propulsion configuration and equipment as the full-size prototype.
The success of the recent tests will pave the way for the E20 prototype to undergo procedures to validate its safety.
All photos courtesy of TCab Tech
A group of engineers deployed to an airport in neighboring Zhejiang have overseen more than 320 flights of this airframe, which weighs in at more than 2 tons.
Since the test results were on the whole reliable, the engineers could concentrate on analyzing the test data, improving the simulation model and adjusting specs related to propulsion and control law, said TCab Tech.
As one of the pioneers in China’s tiltrotor eVTOL segment, TCab Tech credited the employees from propulsion, flight control, avionics and other departments for their devotion and sacrifice, as they “worked tirelessly day and night from March to August, swapping down jackets to T-shirts in the summer heat.”
E20 is a 5-seat flying car with a maximum range of 200 km, a cruising speed of 260 kph and a maximum cruising speed of 320 kph, according to TCab Tech, which unveiled the prototype in Hengdian of Zhejiang in mid-June this year.
The test flight of an airframe is one of the first phases leading eventually to airworthiness certification of an aircraft.
This step will speed up iteration of technical issues and effectively reduce the risks associated with tests on a prototype, TCab Tech explained.
All this preparatory work proves essential for the E20 project to press ahead smoothly, pending stricter screening of the whole aircraft, it added.