Californian Air Taxi With a Unique Propulsion System to Sport a High-Strength Airframe

Overair's Butterfly will boast a high-strength airframe and unique propulsion system 7 photos
Photo: Overair
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The Orange County-based Overair is closer than ever to officially launching the Butterfly air taxi on the market. After completing full-scale testing of its proprietary propulsion system earlier this year, the eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) developer is now collaborating with a composite material expert.
Despite its delicate name, the Butterfly was described as being closer to a “down-sized military transport, not an up-sized drone.” Created by the legendary Abe Karem, known as one of the drone pioneers in the ‘80s, this electric aircraft claims to have a unique propulsion system.

Unlike other eVTOLs that have smaller propellers distributed on the wings and tail, this one is equipped with four bigger propellers, which spin slowly. The direct result is that less power is required for hover flight, but this system also makes Butterfly very quiet. Its top speed is said to reach 200 mph (322 kph), and it can cover 100 miles (161 km).

According to Overair, this unique propulsion system requires an airframe with high stiffness and high strength while also being lightweight. To achieve that, the manufacturer has started working with Toray Composite Materials America. This company will provide its T1100/3960 prepreg system for Butterfly’s airframe and propulsion units.

Toray describes this as a highly-toughened epoxy resin with a glass transition temperature (Tg) of 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius). The 3960 resin is meant to function synergistically with the company’s TORAYCA T1100 carbon fiber, claiming to be “the highest tensile strength fiber available today.

Toray’s innovative materials will be used to build the Butterfly prototype with a high-strength airframe.

In the meantime, the eVTOL’s propeller will be showcased at the Farnborough International Air Show from July 18 to July 22. Those who are intrigued by this system and who happen to be in England at that time will get the chance to take a closer look at it.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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