Skyworks Global collaborates with Scaled Composites to develop VertiJet demonstrator

Skyworks Global Press Release | July 9, 2019

Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 4 seconds.

Skyworks Global and Scaled Composites (Scaled) have announced a strategic partnership to collaborate on the design, build, and test of a prototype of the Skyworks VertiJet.

VertiJet will achieve an estimated top speed of 400 miles per hour and a range of 1,000 nautical miles. Skyworks Photo

The VertiJet is a runway independent aircraft that can take-off and land vertically and hover like a helicopter. Leveraging technology from the British Rotodyne and the DARPA Heliplane program, VertiJet will incorporate technologies that were successfully designed and developed by Skyworks in the Heliplane program to achieve an estimated top speed of 400 miles per hour and a range of 1,000 nautical miles. Past DARPA-funded design and risk reduction experiments from the Heliplane program will be leveraged to reduce risk and to accelerate the VertiJet prototype design.

The VertiJet adapts Skyworks’ proprietary Heliplane technology for the civil aviation, defense, and homeland security markets. Skyworks envisions VertiJet to be a replacement for helicopter and tiltrotor aircraft configurations in markets where speed, range, and cost-efficiency are important. VertiJet’s unique, patented design elements reduce the complexity, as well as the high operating costs, normally associated with rotary wing aircraft while offering extraordinary performance with a safe platform. The specific size of the initial demonstrator is not yet fixed, but Skyworks and Scaled are considering a demonstrator that ranges in size from a light aircraft for four passengers to a utility aircraft that can carry eight to 12 passengers.

“VertiJet is a disruptive aircraft configuration,” said Skyworks Global’s chief technology advisor Don Woodbury. “An aircraft that can take-off and land vertically, hover when needed, and cruise with the speed, range, and efficiency of a fixed wing aircraft would be quite compelling. But even more exciting from my perspective is the potential to provide this unique performance without the complexity or cost of today’s military and civil rotorcraft.”

“VertiJet is one of the most exciting opportunities in aviation,” said Skyworks Global executive director retired Brigadier General John Michel. “It’s a proven aircraft configuration that brings an unparalleled level of performance and game changing set of new capabilities to meet the overwhelming demand for cost effective vertical lift solutions. Add in the inherent scalability of this technology to larger configurations and the Skyworks and Scaled team have a rare opportunity to introduce the world to a platform that can transform the vertical lift market.”

“Scaled excels at the rapid prototyping of proof-of-concept vehicles. The VertiJet demonstrator will build on our legacy of innovation and proving what is possible in aerospace. We look forward to collaborating with Skyworks to realize the potential of this unique aircraft configuration,” said Scaled president, Cory Bird.

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  1. Annoying – You give a One View perspective
    on your envisioned ‘Game Changing’ concept,
    yet you don’t even hint at , much less mention
    the unique tail boom , the rear lower aft. boom
    element looks quite large in diameter- is that because you’re planning on Coanda effect for
    anti-torque in the vertical mode ? ( because I
    don’t see much of tail rotor ) You revealed a picture of the concept so the aircraft itself is
    not really a secret- why don’t you at least address some of the most basic elements
    of how this new ‘Game Changer ‘ accomplishes
    it’s ‘Phenomenality’ ???? Frankly , the article was mostly a disappointment.
    a disappointment

  2. I, too, am baffled by the immense diameter of the tail booms. The original Heliplane design did not have anything near this. Your concern about “anti-torque” is unwarranted. Unless they changed something else, too, sustained autorotative flight aircraft rotor-systems impart no torque into the airframe and therefore, no anti-torque is needed. Yaw control would be managed other ways quite effectively. And, the 400 mph and 1,000nm range is accurate, not a typo. There is nothing in the world like it. The only thing that ever existed like this was the Fairey Rotodyne which first flew in 1957 and could cruise at 200mph when most helicopters couldn’t fly at half this speed, all the while caring up to 48 pax which could not be done by any helicopter at that time or for years to come. If the VertiJet really is the DARPA Heliplane, created by Groen Brothers Aviation, Inc. at least 4 years before Skyworks Global existed, it will truly revolutionize vertical takeoff runway independent aircraft and very likely transportation itself. Everyone I know that is familiar with this design, is very happy to see it finally moving forward including the Groen that led the program. It should have long ago. Whether or not GBA exists any more, it is who created the Heliplane as the prime contractor under the DARPA program. Skyworks acquired all of that, but it is not who created it and Skyworks Global, Inc. and Groen Brothers Aviation, Inc. are not the same company according to Skyworks Global itself. I believe Mr. Groen should get some credit here in that he is who assembled and led the team of incredible geniuses that accomplished it. Though not a genius myself, I was on that team and am blown away by what was accomplished by it now eleven years ago.

  3. I am with Jeff here. The article is a lot of hot air and zero information around a CGI picture.

    “Yaw control would be managed other ways quite effectively”
    Yeah, how? TLD, pls elaborate.

    1. The predecessor Farey Rotodyne didn’t sell because it was too noisy and passenger transportation by helicopter was not then a market. If they can soften the noise, this thing has a chance.

  4. Tim, “Unless they changed something else, too, sustained autorotative flight aircraft rotor-systems impart no torque into the airframe and therefore, no anti-torque is needed.” Even though no torque, yaw control in sustained autorotative flight aircraft certainly has to be well understood to get right, but never does it require “moving parts.” As defined in helicopters: moving parts are those parts that rotate 360 degrees in use. So, things like rudders are not “moving parts” even though they move back and forth. Most are simply yaw controlled by a rudder of some type.

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