X-Hawk - Innovative But Not for Consumption

Unlike a helicopter, the X-Hawk has no exposed rotors, can hover while touching a vertical structure, and uses 50% less fuel and is quieter than a copter.
urban aero xhawk

by John Nyboer

Specs

  • Class: VTOL aircraft configured as a tandem-fan, turbine-powered vehicle.
  • Max speed: 155 mph (248 km/h)
  • Max altitude: 12,000 ft (3,700 m)
  • Endurance: 2 hrs of flight time
  • Price Estimates: Mule (rescue vehicle), $1.5 million; 10-passenger civilian model, $3.5 million; 12 passenger, $6 million

The Manufacturer Says

"Whereas most designs for new, VTOL aircraft offer incremental improvements in the state of the art, the X-Hawk flying platform presents a revolutionary advance in both the mobility and utility of VTOL aircraft."

The Critics Say

The X-Hawk is being developed as a military rescue vehicle; there aren't really any critics looking at this project.

"The reality is that we have not been designing helicopters to operate in urban environments." -- M.E. Rhett Flater, American Helicopter Society

Overview

The X-Hawk is a rescue vehicle designed to approach and hover in urban environments. Like a helicopter, the X-Hawk can take off vertically, hover, fly at high altitude and travel at high speed. Unlike a helicopter, the X-Hawk has no exposed rotors, can hover while touching a vertical structure, and uses 50% less fuel and is quieter than a copter.

The X-Hawk features a patented "vane control system" that allows the craft to move laterally without rolling. This will allow the X-Hawk to remain during rapid load shifts or unexpected bursts of wind.

Dr. Rafi Yoeli, the founder of Urban Aeronautics, has been fascinated by the idea of a VTOL flying car since childhood and started developing his dream after 21 years in the aeronautics industry. Though his ultimate vision is of a consumer/civilian model, his military/urban rescue focus is a quicker development path.

A full-scale model has not yet been tested. In August 2008 Urban Aero began flight tests with the Panda unmanned Fancraft™, a scale model hovercraft.

What We Like

  • This thing is just plain cool. Because it's not a consumer model, I have no problem giving into admiration.
  • The vane control system for lateral movement sounds very innovative and could have future applications.

What We Don't

  • That they don't have one built yet! The company web site does manifest pretty convincing evidence that the project is moving forward.

Conclusion

Dr. Yoeli might have been very wise to channel his dream into military/rescue development. This focus keeps the project on track and if it ever succeeds, he will surely have customers. This is good for flying cars in general because the X-Hawk design, with its revolutionary vane control system, stands apart from other flying cars.

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