July 23, 2024

Ballistic System Saves eVTOL Aircraft in Low-Altitude Fall

AeroHT, a Chinese aerospace company, has recently released a video showcasing its innovative low-altitude multi-parachute system, which successfully saved an eVTOL aircraft in the event of a catastrophic propulsion system failure. The video demonstrates the system in action as it deploys from an X2 manned multicopter prototype at a height of just 50 meters (164 feet) above the ground.

For years, eVTOL aircraft manufacturers have discussed the potential use of ballistic parachutes as a last-resort safety measure. However, there has been skepticism regarding the effectiveness of such systems at altitudes below 100 meters (328 feet), where there is limited time for deployment. AeroHT’s video addresses this concern by showcasing the successful deployment of its multi-parachute system within a second and a half of being released from the aircraft.

The chutes quickly catch air and fully deploy shortly after, preventing the X2 multicopter from flipping over and significantly reducing its descent speed to a manageable 5.2 meters per second (18.7 kilometers per hour, 11.6 miles per hour) before reaching the ground. It is important to note that the video has been edited to remove the potentially violent swing caused by the propeller bringing the aircraft’s nose back to level, as well as the moment of impact with the ground. AeroHT assures that the aircraft was not damaged during the landing.

While the safe landing at such a low altitude is impressive, it is worth noting that the speed at which the aircraft hits the ground is equivalent to landing from a 1.4-meter (4.6-foot) high jump, without any visible suspension to absorb the impact. Although the landing may not be comfortable for passengers, it appears to be survivable.

Using Omni’s Free Fall Calculator, it can be determined that an object dropped from a height of 50 meters would typically hit the ground 3.2 seconds later at a speed of approximately 31.3 meters per second (113 kilometers per hour, 70 miles per hour). Therefore, the use of a parachute in the case of a catastrophic failure significantly reduces the impact speed and increases the chances of survival.

While the video cuts have raised suspicion among viewers, it is plausible that AeroHT chose to omit certain parts to present a more favorable image to potential buyers. Despite this, the successful demonstration of the multi-parachute system gives AeroHT credibility in their claims. Although aspects of the landing may be discomforting, the system ultimately provides a safer alternative to an uncontrolled descent.

An uncut version of the video would have provided a more comprehensive understanding of the entire landing sequence. However, based on the available footage, AeroHT has demonstrated the effectiveness of its innovative multi-parachute system in saving an eVTOL aircraft from a potential disaster. This development is a significant step forward in ensuring the safety of passengers and the viability of eVTOL technology.

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  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
  2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it