There’s a new electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft design in development. And it claims to be bigger, faster, and roomier than designs from Joby Aviation, Archer Aviation, Lilium, or EHang.
Toronto-based manufacturer Horizon Aircraft on Tuesday revealed that it has improved on the design of its flagship five-seater Cavorite X5—so much so that the firm is pivoting to a new model. Horizon will replace the X5 with the Cavorite X7, a larger, seven-seat version for applications in medical evacuation, critical supply delivery, disaster relief, and military missions.
Horizon also believes its new flagship eVTOL will be ideal for regional air taxi services, like those the aforementioned companies are looking to provide in urban and suburban areas. It’s expected to move people or cargo over distances between 50 and 500sm (43 to 434 nm), a bit farther than planned air taxi routes from Joby and Delta, Archer and United, and others.
The Canadian company chose to modify its design for a few reasons. Positive flight-testing results of the firm’s 50 percent-scale prototype, as well as an internal analysis of its aerodynamics, structure, and electronics, revealed the X5 could be expanded to make room for a pilot and six passengers.
And then there’s the customers. Horizon said clients serving the medical evacuation, business aviation, and commercial cargo industries requested a larger aircraft with lower passenger seat mile costs to better align with their needs.
All of that feedback means the X5 will be short-lived: A first prototype was revealed in August 2022, and initial hover testing began in January. However, the X7 will inherit plenty of its predecessor’s components and features.
“The shift to a seven-seat aircraft has been discussed since the beginning of our hybrid eVTOL initial concept,” said Brandon Robinson, CEO of Horizon. “It’s a size that just makes sense commercially. We are very…