Doroni opens orders on its H1 Private Elevate and Cruise eVTOL
Florida organization Doroni has opened pre-orders on its H1 private eVTOL, with deliveries predicted in 2024 Doroni
Doroni says it is just months away from a full-scale flying prototype of its H1 two-seat personal eVTOL design. While most in this space build simple and inexpensive multicopter-style airframes, the H1 also offers dedicated horizontal thrust.
The H1 is certainly an odd-looking bird: a two-seat bubble of a cockpit, sandwiched between large front and rear wings. These wings are dominated by enormous ducts submerged in them, each containing a total of eight large, counter-rotating vertical lift props. At the rear of the aircraft, there are two more bases for horizontal thrust.
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It looks like a very mild version of a lift ‘n’ cruise style airframe; In fact, like straight-winged-multicopter-style eVTOLs like the Air One and SkyFly Axe, the H1’s wings are pitched back, so the aircraft is clearly expected to move forward like a multicopter rather than relying entirely on its twin pushers. Props at rear for forward propulsion.
To the layman’s eye, the aerodynamics look pretty weird here. The wings are huge, but then there are the fan ducts, which wreak merry havoc with airflow up and down each wing and add drag. We also wondered about the airflow to the pusher props – and indeed Doroni decided to block half of their swept area with a rear cover, apparently.
Head-on view shows restricted airflow to rear pusher props Doroni
On the other hand, there may be an efficiency price to pay for ducted propulsion, which certainly looks a little less scary and disjointed than an open-prop slicer dicer. While open props aren’t much of a safety issue for conventional aircraft, eVTOLs are expected to eventually operate somewhat closer to urban environments. So perhaps the idea of conduits for pedestrian reassurance has merit.
In terms of performance, Doroni says the H1 flies at 140 mph (225 km/h) — which suggests the company doesn’t think drag will slow it down too much compared to the Air One. A little faster. Cruise speed is about 100 mph (160 km/h) and range is about 60 miles (96 km). Doroni is aiming for a weight of around 930 lb (650 kg), with a payload capacity of 500 lb (200 kg).
In terms of safety, the landing gear is slightly springy and the body is designed to dissipate energy. Emergency airbags will be built in to cushion a really rough landing, propulsion redundancy is ensured by coaxial double lift props at each corner and battery packs offer multiple levels of redundancy. A ballistic parachute is also planned, capable of bringing the entire aircraft down reasonably slowly in the event of a complete failure at high enough altitude.
The wings are set back so they flatten as the aircraft tilts forward for multicopter-style flight.
Doroni says the H1 eVTOL can be owned, flown and parked in their garage by anyone. At the end, it measures 23 x 15 x 5.5 feet (7 x 4.6 x 1.7 m), which is slightly longer than a Ford F350 and almost twice as wide, so you’ll want a decent-sized shed. In a second phase, the company is targeting light sport aircraft certification with the FAA, which would allow owners to fly the thing with just 20-odd hours of training.
The company, which has already flown a couple of small-scale tech demonstrators, says it’s looking to get a full-scale “flying showroom model” in the air in Q4 of this year, then move toward production by 2023, FAA certification in early 2024, and first customer deliveries by Q4 2024.
We are a little unconvinced by this. This seems to add aerodynamic complexity to a standard winged multicopter design, resulting in slower speeds and shorter ranges. Its potential for success rests mainly on whether or not people want to expose their eVTOL propellers. But Doroni seems to be reasonably well on his way, and we’ll keep an open mind and see how things develop as the H1 gets closer to production. Meet the team in the investor presentation video below.
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