PRESS RELEASE – 29/01/2024
SKYFLY TECHNOLOGIES LTD – skyfly.aero
Adam Landau – Head of Communications
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Archilepago Explorer Yacht ordered with Axe eVTOL
- Skyfly’s Axe eVTOL has been ordered by a customer as a companion for their forthcoming 80 foot yacht from Archipelago
- The A80 is an energy-efficient hybrid diesel-electric catamaran from UK-based manufacturer Archipelago Expedition Yachts with a dedicated landing pad on the top deck
- The Axe can be used for private, comfortable and fast ship-to-shore VIP passenger transfers, for taking deliveries and for scenic pleasure flights
eVTOL manufacturer Skyfly and Superyacht Builder Archipelago Expedition Yachts have announced that together with order of the 80 foot aluminium explorer yacht, the customer – who is an accomplished commercial helicopter pilot – ordered an Axe eVTOL for the yacht’s helicopter landing pad on the top deck of the three decked vessel.
The joint announcement was made at boot Düsseldorf, the largest boat show in Europe.
Compared to the RIBs and tenders traditionally used for ship-to-shore transfers, the Axe eVTOL is considerably more comfortable, more private and faster, with its cruise speed of 100 miles per hour. It is also more versatile, being able to fly directly to inland destinations such as hotels, restaurants and airports.
Crucially, It is also quieter, safer, cheaper to operate, easier to fly and much more environmentally-friendly than a helicopter.
“The Axe electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, with its 8 electric motors, makes very little noise and is easy to fly by both owners and superyacht crews, such that no pilot needs to be accommodated aboard. Guests can get to shore without getting wet or being shaken about and can enjoy beautiful views from above. At only 650kg, the Axe can easily operate from a yacht like the A80, and with its £150,000 base price it is much more cost effective than a helicopter. Our customers also tell us that they want to get from the yacht to a plane transfer quickly and comfortably, without losing time in traffic around the coast in the busiest summer months. The Axe is a natural and useful companion for any superyacht, saving lots of time and adding a special experience for guests – it’s the latest must have in the space.”
– Jaap Rademaker, CCO, Skyfly
The Axe, with its highly efficient four-wing design and eight electric motors with fixed-angle rotors, uses just 30kW in the cruise – half that of a typical electric car.
Similarly, the hybrid-electric Archipelago A80 is also designed with efficiency at its core; its dual hulls mean that it has lower water displacement than a traditional monohull yacht, requiruiring an estimated 40-50% less power and fuel to cruise at the same speed as a similarly-sized monohull. It is also more stable while at anchor, reducing the need for power-hungry stabilisers such as Seakeepers.
The A80 will also be equipped with a 24kW roof-mounted solar panel array and large battery banks which power all needs on board, including air conditioning. This means that the Axe can be charged on board – often using solar energy with zero carbon emissions.
“The A80 is an incredibly versatile boat, sub-24 meters, so anyone can operate it – it doesn’t need a crew – and it can take a large payload, it can do a top speed of 28-29 knots, and it’s going to have 24kW of solar power on the roof, meaning you can use it in hybrid diesel-electric mode, or full electric, or diesel. It’s a really versatile platform and I think it’s going to be great with the Axe on the roof. I just can’t wait to see the two of them together.”
– Dr Stephen Weatherley, CEO, Archipelago Expedition Yachts
The first manned flights of the Axe eVTOL are scheduled for March 2024. Construction of the A80 destined for Skyfly and Archipelago’s common customer will begin in May 2024. The yacht and its eVTOL are expected to star at the Cannes Boat Show in September 2025.
What is the Axe eVTOL?
With a fully-electric range of 100 miles, or 300 miles with an optional hybrid generator, and a cruise speed of 100mph, the Axe by Skyfly is a truly revolutionary two-seat eVTOL aircraft available for USD 180,000. It is designed for personal use and is as easy to fly as a consumer camera drone. Thanks to its small footprint and low noise, the Axe can be kept at home and flown directly to a destination, in complete comfort and with aerial views to enjoy, without traffic jams or bumpy roads.
Its unique four-winged design (patent pending), developed by renowned aeronautical engineer Dr William Brooks, enables the Axe not just to take off and land vertically like a helicopter, but also to fly, take off and land like a conventional airplane. This globally unique ability to also take off and land on a runway means Skyfly’s Axe is the only personal two-seat eVTOL aircraft that you can fly with any existing airplane pilot’s license. By providing lift, the wings also enable a much larger range compared to “rotors only” eVTOLs, an extra layer of safety due to its good glide performance, and a class-leading 30-50kw energy use in cruise, comparable to a Tesla but not requiring an eco-unfriendly road..
The Axe also offers greatly increased safety compared to a helicopter, thanks to its eight-motor distributed propulsion, each with its own power supply and its glide ability arising from its four wings, which enables power-off landing. Additionally, the Axe is fitted with a ballistic parachute – which a helicopter can never have due to the positioning of its rotors.
Skyfly does not aim to develop an air taxi that shuttles commercial passengers into city centres, nor is it venturing down the onerous commercial certification route, which leads to high development costs. Instead, Skyfly follows existing certification routes for private kit-built aircraft, which greatly reduces costs for the owner and enables the Axe to be sold at a base price of 180,000 USD.
Unlike commercial air taxis, which require as-yet-unbuilt “vertiport” infrastructure, the Axe eVTOL can take off and land in a garden or any agricultural land where the landowner has given permission, without needing modifications or expensive infrastructure. This use is legal and well established, with many light aircraft owners operating in this way worldwide from private “farm strips”.
The Axe is not just an idea or concept, but a fully designed aircraft. Extensive analysis and prototype testing has been carried out and manufacturing is being readied for series production. Our two teams of aircraft engineers have developed the Axe as a versatile personal aircraft with strict focus on low weight and aerodynamic efficiency and performance. Aside from generating lift from its wings, the Axe also differs from other eVTOL designs in that it uses existing technology from proven and certified suppliers to provide key components, including the propulsion system, battery system and flight control system. Furthermore, unlike other winged eVTOLs, it has no rotating motor or wing elements, but instead has fixed angle rotors, saving on weight, cost, complexity and maintenance. For more information about how the Axe stands out from other eVTOLs, watch our full explainer video.
Skyfly’s Chief engineer, Dr William Brooks, has designed the Axe with efficiency at its core, with the four wings giving it the highest energy efficiency in comparison to other two-seat eVTOL aircraft. Compared to many other eVTOL designs, which have no or inadequate wings, the Axe’s wings generate useful lift in forward flight, improving efficiency, range and safety, while also giving it the ability to make conventional wing-borne take-offs and landings if required, saving yet more energy.
Skyfly sees the Axe as a direct competitor to currently-available two seat airplanes or helicopters – one that is much easier to fly, safer, quieter and more affordable to buy, operate and maintain. In addition, whichever bigger airtaxi eVTOL wins the race – these will require pilots, and the two seat, side by side Axe eVTOL is the ideal training vehicle – as the only eVTOL worldwide able to train pilots in fixed wing takeoffs and landings, and emergency glide landings, as well as vertical takeoffs and landings.
Following two years of development, CFD and CAD designing, followed by prototype flight testing, the Axe was officially launched in the summer of 2022. In the months since then, the Axe eVTOL by Skyfly has secured dozens of orders and has attracted the attention of air mobility specialist investors. Their backing allows Skyfly to push forward with its development schedule. The strong and lightweight composite fuselage tooling for series production has meanwhile been manufactured and delivered, and with that, Skyfly is now building its first aircraft, with manned test flights due to begin in Q1 2024. Customer deliveries will follow at the end of 2024, when UK certification is expected.
To find out more about the Axe visit www.skyfly.aero
To watch a video of our prototype flying, visit our YouTube channel.
The Axe EVTOL by Skyfly
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