South Africa-based aerospace startup, Pegasus Universal Aerospace is preparing to debut a Vertical-Business-Jet (VBJ) at EBACE 2019 in Geneva next week. Named Pegasus One, the six to eight-seater jet is intended to combine the convenience of helicopters with the benefits of jet travel. It sounds like an exciting project, but don’t expect any demonstrations at the show, as the company is only bringing a 2m by 2m model of the aircraft. However, the company’s founder, Dr Reza Mia is confident that the all-composite airframe will be ready for certification and deliveries in five to seven years’ time from its Pretoria facility, where it has engaged an engineering partner which will provide the engineers and designers.
Pegasus One is intended as a new, convenient option for travellers looking for transportation between areas such as busy urban airports, small and unpaved landing areas, yachts and regular helipads. The jet would have the possibility of landing and taking off vertically in the same locations as a helicopter, but it can travel further, propelled like a jet. Pegasus is targeting a 4,400km range from runway take-off or 2,124km in VTOL, with a planned cruise speed of 796km/h, powered by two 2,300shp (specific horsepower) turboshaft engines. That range should equate to three and a half to six hours of travel time.
Demo tour planned next year
“We are working hard to build a full-scale cabin mock-up of Pegasus One which we plan to bring to London to start a demonstration tour of Europe in 2020 to drum up interest,” said Dr Reza, whose day job is being a top cosmetic surgeon. “We look forward to meeting forward thinking investors and of course potential operators during the tour.”
Pegasus is targeting a customer base that spans the civil and executive aerospace sectors, with Europe, India and China as key markets. The company states that operational costs would be competitive when compared with jets of similar range, but with lower fuel burn and CO2 emissions as well as noise levels lower than comparable helicopters.
To date, the business has been predominantly self-funded, together with angel investment. Pegasus is now seeking new investment and looking for interest from industry. Pegasus estimates its needs around US$400 million to bring the aircraft to market.