TCab Tech (时的科技), a Chinese eVTOL startup, announced yesterday that it had completed the first of a string of test flights for its E20 aircraft, marking a huge step toward becoming the first firm to secure a type certificate for a tiltrotor eVTOL device.
In an official WeChat post, TCab Tech revealed that the test flight took place recently at a general aviation airport in Hengdian, a town likened to China’s Hollywood thanks to its prosperous film studio industry.
After the 5-seat aircraft got its wheels off the ground, it transitioned into a vertical mode of propulsion and hovered in mid-air for a while.
Afterward, the aerial vehicle shifted into forward flight.
According to TCab Tech, the first flight signals the completion of a series of steps for E20, now still a prototype, namely, from design to development, to manufacturing and eventually actual operation.
It took the firm four months to go from assembling the E20 model to completing the first test flight.
Commercializing eVTOL technologies
“The first test is just a new development and starting point. our technical team will conduct regular flights from now on,” said Yon Wui Ng, founder and CEO of TCab Tech. “Our company will continue to increase R&D spending to go full speed ahead on the development and certification of E20 eVTOL.”
He also credited the team for its efficiency. They not just validated the reliability of E20’s powertrain, but also acquired a large quantity of test data over the course of a four-month test on an airframe.
These efforts enhanced the levels of simulation for the E20 prototype.
Engineers from the Shanghai startup’s flight control unit also conducted numerous tests with simulated and real aircrafts to optimize their performance, ensure safety and verify the airworthiness.
Like many peers building flying cars, TCab Tech was founded with the vision of commercializing eVTOL technologies to innovate the urban air mobility solutions.
Tie-up with Safran
For this purpose, it partners with a few leading suppliers, among them Safran, a world leader in aircraft electrical systems.
E20 comes with six ENGINeUS™ smart motors from Safran, which provide a steady and stable stream of power.
Besides, the power cables and wire harnesses manufactured by Safran help to weave a network enabling power and signal transmission between in-aircraft equipment.
The successful first flight of E20 is a milestone in China’s urban air mobility sector, said Thierry Sieg, Sales and Marketing Vice President at Safran Electrical & Power.
Safran is happy to be part of the project and believes this will further consolidate the group’s market position in China’s eVTOL market, he added.