Overair Unveils Full-Scale Butterfly eVTOL Prototype, Enters AAM Testing Phase

December 20, 2023
1 min read
Butterfly eVTOL Prototype, Photo Source Overair
Butterfly eVTOL Prototype, Photo Source Overair

Overair’s journey in advanced air mobility (AAM) has hit a high point with their full-scale Butterfly eVTOL prototype. This electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft, pieced together at their Santa Ana base, is a big leap in urban air transport.

The tech behind Butterfly is where things get interesting. It’s kitted out with Optimum Speed Tilt Rotor (OSTR) and Individual Blade Control (IBC) tech. OSTR fine-tunes propeller speeds, making flights more efficient and slashing power needs by 60% during hovering. IBC steps in to cut down vibrations, lighten the load on propellers, and amp up safety – all adding up to smoother flights and less upkeep.

Butterfly eVTOL Prototype, Photo Source: Overair

Overair’s CEO Ben Tigner describes this step as a result of “years of industry expertise, meticulous development planning, innovative engineering, and the hard work of the entire Overair team.” The move from testing bits and bobs to a whole aircraft underlines their focus on safer, quieter, and more reliable flying machines.

Testing is set for early 2024. The plan? To make sure the propulsion systems, flight controls, safety stuff, and overall efficiency are up to scratch. They’re aiming for a noise level of just 55 decibels and to check how the Butterfly handles in all sorts of weather.

Overair employees celebrate the completion of their first full-scale prototype, Photo Source: Overair

Butterfly stands out in the eVTOL crowd with its hefty rotors and spacious cabin, making it a fit for passenger, medical, cargo, and military roles.

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The U.S. Navy has taken note, awarding Overair a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) contract to push forward the IBC tech for potential Navy use. This is mainly about safety and the tech’s architecture. NAVAIR’s Aeromechanics Senior Engineer Matt Rhinehart recognizes the hurdles of bringing IBC into production rotorcraft, saying the SBIR is set to drive IBC into future rotorcraft.

Overair isn’t just looking at military horizons. They’ve teamed up with Arlington, Texas, to kickstart eVTOL operations at the Arlington Municipal Airport. This is a first in Texas for a city and eVTOL OEM partnership. Overair’s Chief Commercial Officer Valerie Manning is all for transforming transport in Central Texas and tapping into the region’s talent and tech vibe.

This collaboration plans to link Arlington’s Entertainment District with the wider DFW area, nudging urban mobility forward. Arlington Mayor Jim Ross sees this as a mix of innovative transport and new tech and engineering jobs, shaping a fresh mobility ecosystem with lasting benefits.

Butterfly, aligning with the FAA’s Innovate28 initiative, aims to untangle urban mobility issues. Its propulsion system and big rotors promise safe, quiet, and efficient flights in various weather scenarios.

Overair’s Butterfly prototype is a blend of advanced technology and strategic partnerships, steering the future of advanced air mobility in both commercial and military realms.

Rahul Somvanshi

Rahul, possessing a profound background in the creative industry, illuminates the unspoken, often confronting revelations and unpleasant subjects, navigating their complexities with a discerning eye. He perpetually questions, explores, and unveils the multifaceted impacts of change and transformation in our global landscape. As an experienced filmmaker and writer, he intricately delves into the realms of sustainability, design, flora and fauna, health, science and technology, mobility, and space, ceaselessly investigating the practical applications and transformative potentials of burgeoning developments.

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