Transforming Tennis Courts into Airports: How Skyworks Global’s VertiJet™ is Poised to Transform Private Business Travel
John Michel and Don Woodbury
In a recently released ten-year industry forecast by Honeywell Aerospace of the business jet industry, anticipated sales for business jets could reach almost 9,000 aircraft deliveries, representing over $271bn in total dollar value. Of this demand, over 25% of sales will be very light business jets.
Very light jets are increasingly popular because of their affordability (prices for new aircraft usually range between $3M-$8M) and because of their inherent agility in allowing access to smaller airports with shorter runways. In the U.S. alone, that opens up over 5,000 airports for business travel. What’s more, in addition to being very cost efficient to support and fly, very light business jets still deliver speed (over 400 mph) and travel flexibility (range of 1,000+ miles for 4–6 passengers).
In an age where time is the most valued commodity, every minute saved for business executives, industry consultants, lawyers, doctors, and scores of other highly compensated professionals, matters.
Now imagine if the aviation industry were introduced to a very light business jet that could achieve all the above, while eliminating airports and runways all-together. Imagine the score of possibilities if you could take off from a tennis court. Well, thanks to Skyworks Global’s innovative new VertiJet™, everything from parking lots, to yacht decks, to backyards can be transformed into launch pads to get busy people moving smartly, safely, and conveniently.
The VertiJet is a runway independent business jet that will take-off and land vertically like a helicopter. Leveraging technology from the British Rotodyne and the DARPA Heliplane programs, VertiJet has an estimated top speed of 400 mph and a range of at least 1000 nm, while elegantly blending the cabin configuration and comforts of a modern bizjet with the ability to operate from helipad-sized improved or unimproved surfaces. All with the fundamentally safe flight of a gyroplane and the simplicity, stability, and low operating cost of a fixed wing aircraft.
A derivative of the highly touted DARPA Heliplane, the VertiJet adapts the Heliplane technology for the civil bizjet market. Employing new approaches to noise reduction to enable vertical operations in noise-sensitive areas, VertiJet’s unique design elements reduces the complexity normally associated with rotary wing aircraft while offering the extraordinary performance potential of both the Rotodyne and the Heliplane.
In technological terms, VertiJet is a slowed rotor compound aircraft that can fly as a fixed wing aircraft, a gyroplane, a helicopter, or a combination of the three configurations. In cruise, VertiJet uses a conventional fixed-wing for lift and turbofan or turboprop engines for propulsion and is controlled in flight with traditional fixed-wing aircraft controls and pilot skills. When a runway is available, VertiJet can take-off and land like a conventional aircraft. In the absence of a runway, VertiJet can take-off and land like a gyroplane — with an unpowered rotor, or like a helicopter — with a rotor powered by tipjets that operate for very short periods during vertical operations. VertiJet can hover like a helicopter in or out of ground effect. All without the complexity of a helicopter’s transmission or anti-torque system. In sum, VertiJet’s versatility creates an unmatched range of operating conditions for private or commercial operators with an aircraft that can morph into multiple configurations and at a cost point that is a fraction of a similarly sized helicopters. Faster, safer, and less expensive to operate than a helicopter — VertiJet is poised to disrupt the bizjet and helicopter markets.
VertiJet’s performance is possible through a portfolio of Skyworks Global’s patented technologies developed to integrate a rotor into a bizjet and to provide control of a rotor during high-speed flight. Skyworks has assembled a world-class team of technical experts to leverage these technologies to realize the VertiJet’s one-of-a-kind capabilities.
VertiJet™, also known as the Verti-Jet™, is part of a portfolio of aircraft for sale or in development at Skyworks that includes the SparrowHawk two-seat kit gyroplane for the aviation enthusiast, the Hawk 5 four-passenger gyroplane for commercial transport of people and materiel at very low operating cost, the eGyro electric gyroplane that offers a combination of performance and safety that is not matched by other rotorcraft configurations, and the VertiJet’s potential to become the world’s fastest rotorcraft and only runway independent bizjet.
Safe, simple, sustainable — Skyworks brings new ideas and capabilities to the aerospace industry that can make the transformative potential of aviation more affordable, accessible, and sustainable to people everywhere.