Carter Aviation gives more details on its VTOL concept


Carter Aviation has released pictures of its electric air-taxi concept for the Uber Air flying-taxi service.

The new clean-sheet design is reminiscent of Carter’s ‘Carter Copter’ prototype which was first registered as N121CC in 1998.

The aircraft is designed in-line with Uber’s air-taxi design specifications. In Uber’s VTOL white paper released last year, it revealed that aircraft on its service should be capable of 130kt to 174kt (150mp/h to 200mp/h) top speed, a cruising altitude of between 1,000ft to 2,000ft, a battery range of 97km and a recharge time of 5 minutes.

Carter’s new aircraft is an all-electric aircraft as compared to the hybrid-electric propulsion in the original Carter Copter, with 175 mph cruise, a five-passenger capacity, full hover operations and an inertia rotor to act as a built-in parachute.

The manufacturer notes that a hybrid gas turbine variant could be possible to extend the aircraft’s range for additional markets.

Carter has shown off the concept across the country with a 1/9th scale model at Uber’s second annual Elevate Summit.

In April last year, Carter Aviation partnered with Chinese-owned aircraft manufacturer Mooney International Corporation to develop the aircraft. Back when they partnered, both companies said that the electric VTOL would feature:

·         Four to Six passengers

·         3,200lbs of empty weight with batteries

·         4,000lbs max gross weight

·         800lbs max payload.


Uber Air

Uber Air has been one of the biggest projects in the air-taxi space – being one of the few companies that has the means to open a full air-transport service over the next few years.

The service hopes to start running test flights in 2020 in Dallas, Los Angeles and a third unannounced international city either in Japan, India, Australia, France or Brazil.

So far, Uber has partnered with aircraft manufacturers to design aircraft for its service, including: Airbus, Aurora Flight Sciences, Bell, Pipistrel, Karem, Embraer and Carter.

Uber is by no means the only company looking to launch an air-taxi service. Volocopter is in talks with cities across the world to build an infrastructure for its new electric aircraft. Airbus is developing its own VTOL separate from the Uber project and has an existing urban air-transport infrastructure with its Voom helicopter service running in Brazil and Mexico City which Airbus’s aircraft could operate on.

Alex Baldwin