Overair, an emerging name in advanced air mobility (AAM) and developer of electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, has completed the assembly of its first full-scale Butterfly eVTOL prototype.
Scheduled to begin in early 2024, initial tests at Overair's headquarters in Santa Ana, California, will concentrate on verifying the Butterfly's propulsion systems, flight control mechanics, safety protocols, and efficiency. These evaluations will also aim to confirm the aircraft's 55-decibel noise target, and assess its performance in various flight and weather conditions.
Ben Tigner, CEO of Overair, emphasized the significance of this milestone, stating,
"Assembling our first full-scale prototype vehicle represents the culmination of years of industry expertise and innovative engineering. Our transition from propulsion testing to a full-scale prototype highlights our commitment to redefining the eVTOL landscape with safer, quieter, and more reliable aircraft."
Originating from Karem Aircraft's wealth of VTOL expertise, Overair is pushing the boundaries in developing, testing, and refining its vehicle, aligning with the Federal Aviation Administration’s Advanced Air Mobility Implementation Plan. The Butterfly will be the inaugural eVTOL aircraft built around Optimum Speed Tilt Rotor (OSTR) and Individual Blade Control (IBC) technologies.
The OSTR technology, which adjusts propeller RPM to enhance efficiency across various flight phases, can reduce power demands during hover by up to 60%. The IBC technology promises reduced vibration, enhanced safety, smoother ride quality, and lower maintenance costs. Combined, these technologies offer an efficient, quiet, and reliable propulsion system adaptable to a wide range of environmental conditions.
Abe Karem, founder of Karem Aircraft and a pioneer in UAV drone technology, expressed his excitement about the prototype, stating, "Butterfly's advanced technologies bring a novel approach to aviation, redefining air transportation."
Butterfly's distinctive design is a product of these advanced propulsion technologies, featuring four oversized rotors, a spacious cabin, high payload capacity, and the quietest operation in its class. These attributes make Overair's Butterfly an ideal fit for passenger, medical, cargo, and military applications.
Valerie Manning, Chief Commercial Officer at Overair, highlighted the company's commitment to broadening efficient air transportation. "Our prototype is where we begin real-world, full-scale validation of these fundamental design principles," she said.
As Overair progresses towards critical development milestones with its full-scale prototype, the company is also preparing for future operations. Overair has already garnered considerable interest from commercial and military sectors globally. The recent SBIR award by the US Navy to advance the IBC system further underscores the company's market relevance.
Overair's partnerships with entities such as Dallas Fort-Worth Airport, the City of Arlington, Texas, and Jeju Island, South Korea, are instrumental in its mission to lead the development of global advanced air mobility infrastructure and eVTOL operations at scale. This foundation of product, infrastructure, and market expertise is pivotal to accelerating the successful adoption of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) globally.