Jetoptera was recently awarded two 2021 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) contracts from the USAF to further characterize the noise of its patented Fluidic Propulsive System (FPS™) in an anechoic chamber wind tunnel and to prove that the FPS™ used with an Upper Surface Blown Wing (USB) configuration will produce specific lift force levels similar to those of a rotor-wing aircraft, yet without moving parts.
For the first contract, Jetoptera has partnered with the University of Notre Dame (Professor Scott Morris) to employ the anechoic wind tunnel in their Turbomachinery Labs and characterize the aero performance and acoustics signature of the FPS™ and compare it to similar thrust propulsors currently employed in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) concepts.
“We will compare the FPS™ and three other propulsion technologies that are the legacy propulsors for Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) UAVs and UAM vehicles using a similar power supply for each. Having already established our FPS™ lower noise emissions potential versus a propeller under another program, this time we will be using an anechoic chamber and a different measurement system, with the goal of confirming the advantages of the propulsion technology we have invented” said Dr. Andrei Evulet, CEO of Jetoptera, Inc.
Jetoptera has also partnered with the University of Washington (Professor Alberto Aliseda) to employ the Kirsten Wind Tunnel to demonstrate feasibility of lift and thrust augmentation by a wing-integrated Fluidic Propulsion System via the Boundary Layer Ingestion and Upper Blown Surface Jet Mechanisms. Our goal is to find the maximum vertical lift produced with this combination and demonstrate that by distributing the FPS™ along a wing we can produce a specific lift force (lbf/hp) similar to a low disk load rotor employed by rotary wing aircraft. “We will investigate and find the optimal architecture for the use of the wing for VTOL in conjunction with the FPS™ and how it could match the performance of a rotor, by using the same power, but without the large, noisy, moving parts,” said Dr. Evulet.
“We are on the technological design path to demonstrate that an aircraft using the FPS™ is quieter, faster, simpler, more compact and less expensive than a rotor or propeller driven aircraft. Combined with FPS™’ agnosticism to energy sources – it can be powered by jet fuels, Diesel, SAF, hydrogen or electric – we are confident about the superiority of our propulsion solution as noise, safety and performance continue to be major challenges in unmanned and manned aviation,” added Dr. Evulet.
The period of performance is six months for each contract.
In July 2018, Jetoptera finished propulsion tests, triggering an issuing of $1.5 million in equity. In September 2018, Jetoptera and GE Aviation announced that they were cooperating “to jointly demonstrate a 500-pound-force (lbf) class Fluidic Propulsion System leveraging a gas generator based on GE Aviation’s H-Series turboprop engine. This is the first step towards a fully customized gas generator which will lead to a Jetoptera 500 VTOL full flight demonstrator.”
A 50 kg (110 lbs) subscale propulsion system test rig completed a tethered flight in October of 2018, and the company states that the fluid propulsion system met their standards in the “production of stable, repeatable and reliable thrust”. The company reported that it was awarded a patent for their fluid propulsion system in April 2019, and announced in December that additional patents for “Fluidic Propulsion System“, “Configuration for Vertical Takeoff and Landing System for Aerial Vehicles“, and “Flying Car” had also been issued. In this announcement the company made the updated claim that their fluid propulsion System would allow their high-speed configuration of the aircraft to reach speeds between 200 and 400 mph, a revision to the earlier claim that the craft was only capable of speeds up to 200 mph.
A quarter scale model of the J2000 was reported to have flown in May 2019, and during the initial flight the demonstrator reached a top speed of 90mph. In July 2019, this demonstrator completed a successful cargo-delivery demonstration, and in August Jetoptera claimed that the flight testing campaign that utilized the model had successfully demonstrated several key characteristics of the aircraft, including:
Fully autonomous VTOL to wingborne missions; the missions were fully preprogramed to execute VTOL and high speed flight and they can be customized using simple interfaces such as a tablet.
Hovering and maneuverability in flight, per mission input or manually.
Transitions from and to hovering from speeds exceeding 100 mph.
Dynamic characteristics of aircraft in hover and wingborne modes for further analyses.
This model was fully electric, employing batteries as a source of power and electric fans as the means of propulsion. The company reports plans to use thrusters and a turbo-compressor for later models, but has taken meaningful strides in demonstrating their claim that the J200 is capable of fully electric flight.
In January 2020, Jetoptera reported a partnership with Honeywell aimed at the adoption of fluid propulsion systems in the defense market, and in March of 2021 the company was awarded contracts from the U.S. Air Force to test the noise characteristics of the aircraft and prove that their fluid propulsion system was capable of producing “specific lift force levels similar to those of a rotor-wing aircraft, yet without moving parts”.
Jetoptera’s vision is to create a world where aerial mobility is commonplace for both cargo and people. We have developed a unique propulsion system integrated with a novel airframe. This allows us to create lighter, more efficient, and less complex aircraft. Our technology enables vertical and short takeoff and landing (V/STOL), high speeds, sizable payloads and range, and maneuverability.