Science and Technology

Flexcraft, the future multipurpose aircraft

A team of Técnico researchers collaborated in the project 'FLEXCRAFT – Flexible Aircraft', which was presented this Tuesday, 28th February.

Flexcraft results from a consortium between Técnico, Almadesign, INEGI, SETsa and Embraer Portugal. The aircraft was presented this Tuesday, 28th January, at Técnico.

Flexcraft is an aircraft that combines the idea of modularity – allowing a reconfiguration of the cabin for different missions. This versatile aircraft is only 13 meters long and has a capacity for nine passengers. Easy to operate, agile and with low consumption levels, Flexcraft has everything to be successful. “Flexcraft modularity is its most distinctive characteristic, combined with the possibility of the flight operation be delivered to a certified entity, thus allowing users to operate it without the necessary aircraft qualifications”, stresses Fernando Lau, Técnico professor and one of the researchers involved in this project. The Técnico professor also highlights: “the technology applied in the aircraft wing allows the development of fuselages with a less need of aircraft certifications, which allows its construction and commercialization within the reach of national industry”.

The project started in late 2016 and involved a multidisciplinary team. The Técnico team “led the aircraft concept development, exploring the various hypotheses that have been studied at the conceptual level ”, explains professor Fernando Lau. “Later, the team was responsible for developing the aircraft’s conceptual design at full scale, as well as the preliminary and detailed design, followed by the development of the 1:10 scale demonstrator”. The Técnico researchers were responsible for the demonstrator structural and flight tests.

According to the president of Técnico, professor Rogério Colaço, “Técnico researchers have great skills in this field, so we are very interested in collaborating with this consortium and to be part of this innovative project”. “I hope that this collaboration will continue to bear good fruit”, said professor Rogério Colaço.

José Rui Marcelino, CEO of Almadesign, presented the project, explained the different stages and highlighted the disruptive character of the project, which allowed the consortium “to participate in new urban and suburban mobility solutions”. “Unmanned aerial vehicles with flexible transport solutions and lower operating costs will revolutionize the regional air mobility”, he stressed.

According to professor Fernando Lau, “these projects that involve the development of new concepts are crucial. It enables a truly contribution of Academy and allows that researchers participate in the state of the art development process, thus facilitating the contact between students and industry”.