US start-up XTI Aircraft has selected Honeywell’s HTS900 turboshaft to power a two-thirds-scale prototype of its ducted-fan TriFan 600.
The powerplant selection moves the vertical take-off and landing business aircraft a step closer to its certification target of 2023.
Under the terms of the preliminary agreement, announced on 8 August, Honeywell will also supply an additional engine, which will be installed on XTI’s ground propulsion test rig.
The HTS900 – based on a dual-centrifugal compressor architecture – already powers the developmental Marenco SwissHelicopter Skye SH09 light single-engined rotorcraft.
US composites specialist Scion Aviation and sister company Scion UAS have been appointed by XTI to build the sub-scale prototype, which is scheduled to make its first fight in 2018.
XTI says it will initially fly a 1:10 scale model of the TriFan 60 – also supplied by Scion – in six months, after securing $1.2 million in the latest funding round. The programme is being financed by XTI founder and managing director David Brody, crowdfunding stakeholders and private equity investors.
“The 10% model will provide important aerodynamic data and demonstrate how helicopter flight control laws apply to the TriFan configuration,” says Dennis Olcott, chief engineer and board member for the Denver, Colorado-based company. “After flying the scale model, XTI will build an operational propulsion jet stand to house the engine, drivetrain, fans and flight controls,” he adds.
The TriFan 600 is described as “having the speed, range and comfort of a business jet with the ability to take-off and land vertically, like a helicopter”. The six-seat, fly-by-wire aircraft’s two ducted wing fans are designed to tilt to achieve forward flight, with a projected cruise speed of 350kt (650km/h) and range of more than 1,500nm (2,780km), says XTI.