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Trifan 600 long-range, high-speed hybrid VTOL promises takeoff in 2024

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XTI Aircraft is moving toward production of the “fastest and longest-range VTOL in the world,” with certification and the start of full-scale production expected by the end of 2024. The Trifan 600 will fly up to eight passengers helipad to helipad at ranges up to 750 miles (1,200 km) and impressive speeds up to 345 mph (555 km/h).

These dream figures would indeed dominate the electric VTOL space; the range alone is seven times higher than what most urban eVTOLs promise – but then XTI isn’t a pure eVTOL. Instead of a simple battery-electric powertrain, it will run a hybrid system, using high-powered batteries to manage takeoff and landing, but running a GE catalyst turboprop engine as a range-extending generator to deliver its enormous range figure.

So it might be the fastest and longest-range VTOL running on all-electric propulsion, but if we open the field up to include fossil fuels, well, the Soviets had VTOL “Yak” fighters operating 50 years ago flying longer ranges at transonic speeds.

Either way, XTI has just entered a joint venture with new aerospace holding and operating company Xeriant, with a view to getting this thing certified and into production and service.

XTI expects to have the Trifan 600 fully certified and in production by 2024
XTI expects to have the Trifan 600 fully certified and in production by 2024

XTI Aircraft

“We feel like the initiation of this relationship puts us on the road to certification,” said XTI Aircraft CEO Bob LaBelle at a launch event at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum in Denver, Colorado. “We’re very confident we’ll be the first commercial long-range, fixed-wing vertical takeoff and landing plane. The market has been waiting for this for a long time.”

The Trifan 600 looks very much like a traditional fixed-wing design, but it’s capable of vertical takeoff thanks to a pair of huge, tilting ducted fans on the leading edges of its wings, and a third ducted fan in the body of the aircraft behind the cabin, which is covered over during horizontal flight to reduce drag. It’ll be reasonably simple to fly, running on an electronically controlled fly-by-wire system that’ll manage the electric motors, thrust vectoring and control surfaces in response to pilot commands.

Should a runway be available, it’ll make sense to use it; you can nearly double your range to 1,380 miles (2,200 km) if you take off and land conventionally. But even without runways, this could be a killer machine in the business jet market, flying rooftop to rooftop from LA to San Francisco, or London to Berlin without breaking a sweat.

A very comfy cabin in standard trim
A very comfy cabin in standard trim

XTI Aircraft

Starting at US$6.5 million a unit (which would seat one pilot and five passengers), it’s priced super-competitively for a business market in which the Gulfstream G500 series is currently the biggest seller at US$44 million a pop. And while yes, the G500 goes much faster and further, it can’t hold a candle to the inter-city convenience the Trifan will deliver.

XTI can claim US$1.3 billion in sales and a backlog of 202 aircraft to build at this point, with 40 of these being non-refundable purchase orders, 122 being refundable deposits and 40 being purchase options.

But of course before it can start delivering them, it needs to get this thing certified. “One of the big things I’d like to emphasize,” said LaBelle, “is that we don’t need a whole new set of regulations to fly this. We’re gonna certify under currently-available FAA regulations. And we also don’t need charging infrastructure, or new runways, we can operate perfectly within the current national airspace system of this country or any other country.”

A handsome and high-tech looking VTOL business aircraft offering extended range and high speed compared to eVTOLs
A handsome and high-tech looking VTOL business aircraft offering extended range and high speed compared to eVTOLs

XTI Aircraft

We’re not sure how exactly XTI can certify the Trifan under existing regulations, but the current plan is to get a full-scale test aircraft built and flying in 2022, with FAA type certification slated for 2024 and production to begin once that’s squared away. The XTI team boasts a number of highly experienced aviation industry executives, LaBelle being the former Chairman and CEO of AgustaWestland America, and COO Charlie Johnson being the former President and Chief Operating Officer of Cessna, to name two. Between them and other members of the team, they’ve overseen some 35 type certifications, so while this aircraft will definitely be a huge challenge, they know a thing or two about the process.

“The TriFan 600 will transform the light commercial aircraft market, providing eco-friendly, on-demand air travel without compromising safety and performance,” stated Keith Duffy, CEO of Xeriant. “In my view, no other VTOL aircraft comes close. It is an honor to be associated with XTI’s world-class management team which has developed and certified over 30 new aircraft over their careers.”

The Xeriant/XTI joint venture will be called Eco-Aero, alluding to a future in which the Trifan will shift from hybrid propulsion to full battery power or hydrogen fuel-cell use. Ownership will be split 50/50 between the two companies, and Xeriant will invest some US$10 million over the next year to accelerate development.

Check out a short video below.

XTI and Xeriant – Advancing Aerospace Innovation

Source: Xeriant and XTI Aircraft

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Source: https://newatlas.com/aircraft/xti-xerient-merger-trifan-vtol/

NEWATLAS

2021 Monterey Auction Preview: The $5-million-plus cars

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This 1998 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLK GTR Strassenversion will go to auction during Monterey Car Week with Gooding & Co (Lot 50) on Saturday, 14 August 2021 with an official estimate of $8,500,000 - $10,000,000

When we first started keeping our listings of the most valuable cars and motorcycles sold at auction, a $3 million sale would land a spot in the top 100 most valuable cars ever sold at auction. Nowadays, a $5-million sale won’t get you into the top 100, but it still puts you into the top 150 most valuable cars of all time, so that’s where we’ve drawn the line in our preview of the coming Monterey Car Week Auction cluster.

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Category: Automotive, Transport

Tags: Ferrari, Bonhams, RM-Sothebys, Gooding & Co, Mecum, Jaguar, Aston Martin

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Source: https://newatlas.com/automotive/2021-monterey-auction-preview-5-million-dollar-cars/

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NEWATLAS

Joby sets new record with 154.6-mile eVTOL flight

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Joby's eVTOL, like others in the class, burns a lot of battery power in hover mode, and can only realize its impressive range figures once in horizontal flight supported by wings

Joby has flown a new record distance for a full-sized eVTOL aircraft on a single battery charge, covering 154.6 miles (249 km) in a single 77-minute flight, complete with energy-gobbling vertical takeoff and landing phases.

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Category: Aircraft, Transport

Tags: Joby Aviation, Air Taxis, Electric Aircraft, eVTOL

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Source: https://newatlas.com/aircraft/joby-record-evtol-distance/

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NEWATLAS

Volocopter performs its first crewed public eVTOL flight in the US

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The Voloctoper takes to the skies at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021

As it aggressively pursues a future where flying taxis carry people and cargo between busy urban centers, German aviation startup Volocopter has ticked off an important milestone. At the Oshkosh air show in Wisconsin on Tuesday, the company sent its all-electric Volocopter 2X into the sky for a four-minute flight, successfully completing its first public crewed test flight of an eVTOL in the US.

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Category: Aircraft, Transport

Tags: Volocopter, eVTOL, Electric Aircraft

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Source: https://newatlas.com/aircraft/volocopter-first-crewed-public-evtol-flight-us-eaa-oshkosh/

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NEWATLAS

New CAR-NK cell immunotherapy safely tackles breast cancers in lab tests

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Immunotherapy is a promising avenue for cancer treatment, but it has trouble against solid tumors without triggering major side effects. Now, researchers at McMaster University have developed a new form of the treatment that supercharges a different type of immune cell.

The human immune system is our most effective defense against disease, but it’s not infallible. Cancer is particularly crafty, using a range of tricks to avoid detection and fight off immune cells that come knocking.

Immunotherapy aims to swing the odds back in our favor. The most common form of the treatment is called chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T cell) therapy, where doctors extract T cells from the patient, engineer them to target cancer proteins, then return them to the body. Once there, they can launch a more effective attack.

So far, the technique has worked well on some forms of leukemia, but not so great against solid tumors. That’s because those cancers produce a strong environment around themselves that exhausts T cells quickly, or make it difficult for them to target the cancer. Other times the souped-up T cells can proliferate out of control, leading to a potentially fatal immune condition called a cytokine storm.

So for the new study, the McMaster scientists investigated alternatives to CAR T cell therapy. Rather than removing and editing T cells, they used a different type of immune cell called natural killer (NK) cells, which the team says should be more selective in targeting only cancer.

“These CAR-NK cells are a little bit smarter, in a way, in that they only kill the enemy cells and not good cells that happen to have the same marker,” says Ali Ashkar, corresponding author of the study. “These cells have a sober second thought that says, ‘I recognize this target, but is this target part of a healthy cell or a cancer cell?’ They are able to leave the healthy cells alone and kill the cancer cells.”

To test it out, the researchers took NK cells from patients with breast cancer, engineered them to target receptors found on cancer cells, and introduced them to tumor cells derived from the patients. They found that CAR-NK cells were able to kill more cancer cells than CAR T cells tested in the same way, even in the presence of the suppressive environment that solid tumors build around themselves.

But perhaps most importantly, the CAR-NK cells did not kill healthy cells in the samples – even those that expressed the same protein that the therapy was targeting on the cancer cells. Altogether, the study could open up new therapy options for hard-to-treat solid cancers.

“We want to be able to attack these malignancies that have been so resistant to other treatments,” says Ana Portillo, lead author of the study. “The efficacy we see with CAR-NK cells in the laboratory is very promising and seeing that this technology is feasible is very important. Now, we have much better and safer options for solid tumors.”

Of course, it is very early days for this work – so far it’s only been tested in the lab – and animal tests will need to be conducted before we even think about humans.

The research was published in the journal iScience.

Source: McMaster University

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Source: https://newatlas.com/medical/car-nk-cell-cancer-immunotherapy/

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