21st Century : Technology : SoloTrek XFV
A Silicon Valley aerospace company has announced that it has achieved an important milestone while testing its paradigm-shifting new product, SoloTrek XFV. The full-scale SoloTrek proof-of-concept prototype aircraft produced over 100 percent take-off power and thrust for the first time in its development program, thereby validating earlier predicted performance. "This sets the stage for tethered-hover testing to begin in the mid-to-late summer timeframe," said Michael Moshier, chief executive and chief technical officer.
SoloTrek is an open-air VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft that will transport a person in an upright and standing position for up to two hours. Using readily available fuel, SoloTrek is predicted to attain speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour and is designed to operate easily in and out of extremely confined areas.
High-power system testing is currently underway at Millennium Jet's Sunnyvale headquarters. "We instrumented the aircraft with strain gauges and secured it to the ground," said Moshier, "then we were able to bring the engine, drivetrain and ducted fans up to about 105 percent take-off power and thrust without exceeding 75 percent throttle. Achieving this critical milestone demonstrates that SoloTrek can generate sufficient take-off thrust while maintaining an adequate power reserve. It also proves the capability of the vehicle's gear boxes and drive shafts to perform well under high load without overheating or noticeable vibration."
DoD / NASA Support
DARPA (a Department of Defense research agency) recently granted the company over $5 million in funding for a thirty-six month period, beginning last December. "DARPA's willingness to get behind the SoloTrek program," said Harry Falk, chief financial officer of Millennium Jet, "shows a great deal of confidence in our technology and engineering. With its continued assistance, we expect to complete the remaining development and testing work sooner than we otherwise could." The agreement with DARPA calls for a SoloTrek first-article prototype to be delivered to the USSCOM (United States Special Operations Command) in late 2003 for rigorous field evaluation.
Millennium Jet also maintains an ongoing non-reimbursable Space Act agreement with the NASA-Ames research facility in Mountain View, California. Under this agreement, the company recently tested SoloTrek's ducted fans in NASA's 7' x 10' wind tunnel. These tests, which included over 560 discrete data collections, helped validate the performance of SoloTrek's ducted fans during hover flight, and at speeds up to, and including, 80 mph.
About Millennium Jet, Inc.
Millennium Jet is a privately held company that designs, develops and manufactures small manned and unmanned VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft. The company is seeking industry sponsorship, and additional funding from accredited and strategic investors. It is also beginning discussions with potential joint-venture partners for manufacturing and future development.