The World's First Vertical Take-Off Jet

20 September 2015
Read Time: 2.0 mins

The six-seat TriFan 600 aircraft , proposed by the XTI Aircraft Company on the crowdfunding website Start Engine last month, combines a helicopter’s ability to take off from and land on any helipad-sized flat surface with the speed and mileage range of private jets.

The new design would remove the need for runways and ‘airport-to-airport’ travel, potentially saving travellers hundreds of hours a year in flight journey times.

 The TriFan 600 is looking up

Made with three advanced ducted fans which propel its vertical lift, two high performance turbo shaft engines and lightweight carbon fibre materials, the TriFan 600 is said to reach its maximum cruise speed of 645 kilometres per hour in 90 seconds, while reaching its maximum cruise altitude of more than 1o,ooo metres above predominant weather in 11 minutes.

Other high-tech features include advanced safety functions such as an autopilot mode and computerised controls for take-off and landing, and a sleek sliding cover which neatly hides away its central fan during the forward horizontal flight.

 Comfort onboard the TriFan 600

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The aircraft’s “exceptionally spacious interior" with "elegant surfaces and intelligent high-tech features” is said to offer “unparalleled cabin comfort” with enough space to carry overnight bags.

The plane’s unique application of the latest aviation technology and combination of aircraft capabilities is said to offer a more efficient way of travel between any two points than any other traditional jet, helicopter or VTOL (vertical take off and landing) aircraft currently available.

 The TriFan 600's central fan is tucked away beneath a sliding cover during its forward flight

Initially aimed at business travellers, the designers believe the TriFan 600 will have future implications for travellers in various travel sectors, from leisure and personal to medical, looking to travel in shorter periods and access destinations not served by airlines .

The aircraft’s expected preliminary retail price is currently set at US$10-$12 million (A$14-16 million) per TriFan 600.

While the TriFan 600 might become the first small aircraft to offer a vertical take-off, earlier this year Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner displayed a near-vertical ascent in a test flight before the Paris Air Show. Seemingly defying laws of physics, it ascended into the sky in Washington, where the company is based, showing off some stomach-churning maneouvres in the sky.

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The TriFan 600 is just one of several futuristic plane designs that claim to radically change the way we travel.

Earlier this year, KLM’s proposed AHEAD (Advanced Hybrid Engine Aircraft Development) aircraft featuring a “blended wing” seamlessly connected to the plane was said to minimise drag and therefore reduce fuel consumption, while its completely new engine design would provide better efficiency.

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Last year, the Boston-based engineering firm Spike Aerospace unveiled plans to develop Spike S-512, a 12-18 seater supersonic private jet designed for commercial use and supposedly capable of flying from New York to London in under four hours – that’s about half the time taken by current commercial flights.

HyperMach Aerospace Ltd previously proposed the development of SonicStar, a jet it claims would allow travel from London to Sydney in an afternoon or from New York to London in about an hour. The firm estimated it could enter production in the 2020s.

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This article was written by Soo Kim from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Soo Kim

Soo Kim is an editor and reporter for Telegraph Travel. She also commissions the celebrity travel columns Travelling Life and My Kind of Town, as well as travel gear, kit and accessories content. She is also the editor of The Big Picture photography column.