Pegasus set to showcase VTOL business jet at EBACE

Pegasus Universal Aerospace’s vertical take-off and landing business jet (VBJ) will be showcased this month at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, according to a report on FlightGlobal.

The publication reports the South African start-up will debut a one-eighth-scale model of the all-composite aircraft and open the orderbook for the eight-passenger type.

This will come seven years after Reza Mia, founder and chairman of the Pretoria-based company, said he began exploring the possibility of building a light jet with the take-off and landing performance of a helicopter.

The report says the Pegasus VBJ introduces “a new era of point-to-point travel, with the capability to land in a built-up area, helipad, yacht and on any surface, including grass or gravel”.

The VBJ has a cranked dihedral wing and an x-tail design. It uses two GE Aviation CT7-8 turboshaft engines to drive in-wing lift fans and rear thrust fans through integrated gearboxes, all managed by multiple redundant computer systems.

Weighing just under 5,700kg (12,600lb), the VBJ can be used for single-pilot operations.

A range of markets are being targeted, including air ambulance, charter, corporate, offshore, owner-flyer, police and surveillance. Geographically the largest regions for the VBJ are Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia.

A one-eighth-scale model has undergone testing in Pretoria to demonstrate the aircraft’s flying capabilities – including its transition from horizontal to vertical fligh.

Pegasus will reportedly soon begin assembling a first full-scale prototype, with an aim to start flight testing in mid-2020 and is aiming for certification and service entry between 2024 and 2026.

The VBJ is projected to have a range of around 2,380nm (4,400km) from a standard runway take-off, or 1,150nm when using vertical take-off and landing mode. Cruise speed is expected to be 430kt (800km/h).