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Whisper Aero is taking a pragmatic path with its Whisper Drone and Whisper Jet platforms, according to CEO Mark Moore, based on technology that operates without the need for new infrastructure or business models.
The company is “focused on conventional take-off and landing aircraft that can achieve breakthrough capabilities, without requiring billions of dollars of investment in vertiports in expensive downtown locations,” Moore told eVTOL.com. The company is therefore deploying its technology through a drone design, as well as a nine-passenger commercial aircraft that can utilize existing aviation infrastructure.
Whisper Aero’s aircraft are built around next-generation propulsors, designed to be ultra-quiet and efficient. In an interview with eVTOL.com, Moore said the system does not require fly-by-wire technology or complex, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration-approved software, though he declined to provide further technical details, citing confidentiality.
According to Moore, its Whisper Jet “can be built now with existing batteries. It can achieve really low total operating costs and compete extremely well with existing products … In fact, we’re confident that our performance and our acoustics are transformative in this nine-passenger market segment, that no aircraft can be as fast, efficient, or achieve the total operating costs that the Whisper Jet is able to achieve.”
The company has set out to reinvent how propulsor technology works, Moore said. This technology is flying already in the drone. “Essentially, we wanted to show how versatile it was. So, we chose a very low-speed drone that can be the quietest thing that has ever flown, as well as a very high-speed nine passenger commercial aircraft, to show the breadth of opportunities for this new technology and how it can integrate in new ways, rather than just slapping a propeller onto an electric model.”
Whisper Aero was recently selected as one of 11 companies that will move onto the next phase of the AFWERX HSVTOL Concept Challenge, a joint effort between the U.S. Special Operations Command and the U.S. Air Force. Whisper Aero’s chief operating officer, Ian Villa, said the company would “look at scaling up the thrust of the propulsors for these high-speed VTOL applications” as part of its HSVTOL work. “How can our technology be leveraged on the higher-speed VTOL aircraft that will be needed for the Air Force and the special operations community in the coming decade?”
The defense market is a significant interest for the company, with the drone having particular potential in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance applications, Villa said.
“It made sense for us to try and build something that would be product aligned for [needs] that we knew existed, and then leverage that as a testbed for both our hardware and our software capabilities,” Villa said. “As we validated the hardware and software stack that we’ve been building in-house, that naturally allowed us to develop an airframe, which is really relevant to users out in the field.”
Development of the drone will support the development of the jet, Moore added. That is why the company opted for the two product streams. He said the Whisper Drone is essentially a quarter-scale version of the jet, in terms of configuration, stability and control. “It gives us a step forward to quickly get into flight experiments that are highly relevant to the Whisper Jet.”