It’s 2021, and I still wonder each day what happened to those flying cars that were promised to us growing up. I fully expected to be commuting to work Jetson‘s style by now, but that seems but a pipe dream right now. Or does it?
Swiss manufacturer Manta Aircraft has created the closest thing yet to George Jetson’s flying car, a hybrid eV/STOL aircraft that’s capable of vertical and short take-offs and landings, like a helicopter and plane in one, designed for personal mobility with wide regional range. Yeah, it doesn’t fold into a briefcase, but other than that, it’s pretty cool.
Manta is developing two models: The single-seat ANN1 is designed for extreme performance, featuring high speed and climb performance, with exceptional maneuverability. The two-seat ANN2 is designed for personal air mobility with wide regional range at high speed, like an air taxi or possibly even for emergency services.
While eVTOL aircrafts that take off and land vertically are nothing new, Manta’s design allows for take offs and landings on runways like a normal plane, which is a huge benefit if you’ve got a heavy payload, since it will consume less battery power in those scenarios vs going vertical. And their airplane-like airframe allows for higher speed and climb performance in safer flying conditions.
Their hybrid propulsion means that they’re free from ground services for recharging batteries, because the electric energy is continuously fed by the generator run by a gas turbine, and this energy abundance is exploited in terms of flight safety, speed and long range performances.
Right now, Manta is in the early stages of development, having recently done testing on a 1:3 scale model that measured 10-feet long. Using this, they project that the aircraft will have a 186-mph cruising speed, with a maximum range of 373 miles.
You can visit Manta’s website to stay up-to-date on the progress of the ANN1 and ANN2.
Photos courtesy of Manta