A Different Kind of VTOL Nails Its First Test Flight, Uses a New Type of Thrust System

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An Austrian-based company is working on a patented propulsion technology for VTOLs (vertical take-off and landing) and has recently shared the first test flight of a prototype aircraft using the unique approach.

CycloTech has been on the market for years now and aims to provide the VTOL market with a flying technology inspired by marine principles. Its CycloRotor propulsion system, made for the aviation industry, uses the Voith Schneider propeller, a vessel propulsion solution that was developed by an Austrian engineer.

As explained by the company, the CycloRotors enable immediate thrust generation 360 degrees around the rotation axis, at a constant rotation speed and direction, within fractions of a second. This means that unlike most multi-copters, the CycloTech uses propulsors that provide omni-directional thrust, not just in one direction.

CycloTech has been working assiduously on its prototype for the last three years, and now the company’s technology has finally been tested. Its technology demonstrator weighs 183 lb (83 kg) and is equipped with four of the company’s CycloRotors. It is based on a de-scaled five-seater Airtaxi configuration. This platform will be used for further tests that can help the company optimize its rotor technology.

In the footage released by CycloTech, the prototype is tethered and tested indoors. Finally, the aircraft is able to successfully take off, hover in the air, and land. While it is not the same as actually testing the technology outside, it is nevertheless a good start in wind conditions.

CycloTech claims its rotor technology brings several advantages. Precision is one notable benefit of the CycloRotor. Being able to steer the magnitude and direction of thrust 360 degrees around the rotation axis of every single rotor offers better maneuverability of the aircraft.

It is also a flexible solution that can be used either as a stand-alone propulsion system or in combination with conventional concepts. While the CycloRotors are fully electric-powered, they can also be used with a hybrid system.