Phractyl Macrobat, the bizarre African birdplane with vertical take-off

Phractyl Macrobat, the bizarre African birdplane with vertical take-off

Phractyl Macrobat

According to electric aircraft startup Phractyl, Africa is in a rather unique situation as the fashion for vertical take-off aircraft takes off, as it lacks ground transportation infrastructure. So planes that can take off and land vertically, without the need for runways or helipads, or that carry the high cost of helicopters, could make an absolute difference. So a small team got together to create an African solution to an African problem, and they came up with the Macrobat, an NVTOL aircraft with bird legs, tracked feet and a few more oddities to the wings, which appear to be able to partially tilt. br>
The crawler legs give this machine some multi-terrain capability - the wheels could do better on rough terrain, but then it would take more than two to balance it all out. The bird's legs can also raise, lower, balance and tilt the plane's body. The two characteristics together therefore allow the aircraft to take off and land even in the absence of runways or equipped fields. Once up, the legs fold upwards minimizing drag.

This initial design appears to be a single-seater with a range of 150km, the ability to carry a maximum payload of 150 kg and a maximum speed of 180 km / h. Phractyl says it could be flown in person or remotely, carrying a passenger or cargo as needed.

This bird-style ‘personal flying vehicle’ is the future we’re here for

The Macrobat is an all-electric aircraft that squats back on bird-like legs. (Credits: Phractyl / SWNS)

These images show designs for a brand new a new personal flying vehicle – that squats on bird-like legs, tilts its wings and performs a ‘near vertical’ takeoff and landing.

The Macrobat is an all-electric aircraft with a uniquely avian design – and it’s already begun the prototype building and testing stage.

South African startup Phractyl (PHRontier for Agile Complex Technology sYstem evoLution) says it’s serious about the concept.

The firm says: ‘With the growing light sports aircraft market, the Macrobat offers an exhilarating flight experience to aviation enthusiasts.

‘A larger, scaled variant is envisioned in the longer term, which can operate as an air taxi.’

The one-seater craft will be able to hit a top speed of 180km/h (Credits: Phractyl / SWNS)The Macrobat is being developed in South Africa (Credits: Phractyl / SWNS)The one-seater plane could be the future of individual transport (Credits: Phractyl / SWNS)

Phractyl also suggest uses for transport of medical supplies, agricultural uses such as fertilising fields, infrastructure inspection, and movement of high-valued goods.

Currently configured as a one-seater, the Macrobat will have a 150km maximum range, be able to fly at 180km/h and carry 150kg payload.

Phractyl says: ‘We started by running some simulations to predict the aerodynamic performance of the wing. Next, a scaled prototype of the wing was built and experimentally tested, which confirmed the results obtained in the simulation environment.

‘With the testing of the wing and propulsion concepts on-going, we are currently working towards building a scale model prototype of the Macrobat to demonstrate the flight performance. Successful execution of this, will allow us to commence with the full-scale engineering development.’

It can take off almost vertically (Credits: Phractyl / SWNS)The aircraft will have a 150km maximum range (Credits: Phractyl / SWNS)When completed it will be able to carry up to 150kg of cargo (Credits: Phractyl / SWNS)

The firm is asking for investment in the project to progress it to through to further design and manufacturer stages.

It adds: ‘The primary focus of the aircraft is to address Africa’s most critical transportation challenges. In particular, this refers to the mobility of people and stuff, to areas that are not easily accessible by land-based transport infrastructure.

‘Most aircraft wings are only able to lift after showing some gains in speed. The innovative Macrobat wing is able to generate lift at low speeds, thus ensuring safe, controlled landings, regardless of the state of the propulsion system.

‘As a result of the pivotal (pun intended) wing design, the suitably named Electric Near-Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eNVTOL) delivers envious performance, even from uneven terrain.’

South African startup Phractyl (PHRontier for Agile Complex Technology sYstem evoLution) says it is serious about the concept. (Credits: Phractyl / SWNS)It could be Africa’s first air taxi (Credits: Phractyl / SWNS)It can be operated as an aircraft or flown remotely as a drone (Credits: Phractyl / SWNS)

The Macrobat can operate as an aircraft, or as a drone. It can be piloted by a person, remotely piloted with a passenger, or remotely piloted with cargo only.

MORE : Liquid hydrogen-powered plane could cross the Atlantic with zero emissions

MORE : For the first time, a planet is spotted orbiting a two-star system

Get your need-to-know latest news, feel-good stories, analysis and more