Lyte Aviation SkyBus: A 40 Seater eVTOL Concept With Huge Potential

It's not often more than an eVTOL concept comes along that really excites us. Mostly because many of them tend to be personalized leisure vehicles rather than utilitarian transport for the masses. That's the kind of tech bound to change our lives before any single-seater personal eVTOL with leather seats ever will.
Lyte Aviation SkyBus 6 photos
Photo: Lyte Aviation
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With that in mind, we'd like to direct your attention to a company called Lyte Aviation. Their new LA-44 SkyBus eVTOL concept might look like a small, narrow-body airliner with its turbofan engines replaced by electrically driven propellers. On the face of it, that would be accurate. But don't be fooled. There's so much more that goes into it.

Based out of the United Kingdom and claiming a breadth of aeronautical talent under its corporate umbrella, Lyte Aviation wants to be an aerospace manufacturer at the forefront of eVTOL development. The LA-44 SkyBus is due to be Lyte Aviation's first magnum opus. A spacious, comfortable, and high-capacity aircraft with far more uses than servicing upper-class aristocrats.

In an interview with Simply Flying, Lytelyf Aviation's CEO, Freshta Farzam, explained the SkyBus program's commitment to mass transit. "We are catering primarily to passengers without luggage. They would travel for work and perhaps live 100 to 200 km away in some rural areas. They could jump on the SkyBus and go to work and come home without having to drive for an hour or two," Farzam told Simply Flying. "It would bring rural and urban areas closer together. It's a similar concept to Hyperloop, so that's going to help passengers hop on and hop off."

With a projected range in the vicinity of 1,000 km (540 Nm) and a projected top speed of 186 mph (300 kph), these figures run more or less in line with that of the earliest traditional passenger airliners of the 1930s and 40s. Not exactly impressive compared to an Airbus A321 NEO, but pretty spiffy compared to a stuffy, disease-filled city bus belching thick exhaust smoke in every direction.

Payloads estimated in the 4.5 tons per flight neighborhood powered by either batteries or hydrogen fuel cells surely tick all the right eco-friendly and utilitarian boxes. But it goes without saying a project this ambitious is sure to be fraught with engineering difficulties. All-electric aircraft have given engineering firms ten times the budget of Lyte Aviation all the hell they can handle.

At present, NASA's X-57 Maxwell, a more traditional EV aircraft with fixed wings, has had its first flight delayed several times. Closer to home for Lyte, Hyundai's own eVTOL, the SA-1 has still yet to make its first flight as well. If all goes to plan, Lyte's new design will be operational sometime soon after this decade is out. But this being an eVTOL project, expect some delays, lest you be thoroughly disappointed.
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