SA vertical business jet developers seek more investors

SA vertical business jet developers seek more investors

Africa-PressSouth-Africa. THE developers of the business aircraft Pegasus Vertical Business Jet, which is South African built, are raising funds with an offer of profit sharing for investors.

The investors will be participating in a seven-year note.

In a statement, the developers said the minimum investment was R10 000.

Reza Mia, who conceptualised the aircraft, said the current fundraising is the third of its kind.

“While there is a total of R261 million worth of shares available, the immediate target is R30m to R40m. We have more than delivered on the promises made at our previous fundraising. It is a big responsibility to work with other people’s money, and we make sure we stretch each rand as far as possible,” he said.

Mia said the aircraft was entering its next phase of testing by May 2021. The full-scale unmanned hover model will take place by the end of the year.

The aircraft is set to change business travel globally and free travellers from driving to the airport.

Mia said the aircraft combined characteristics of a helicopter with the luxury, range, and speed of a business jet.

He said an independent review conducted by Abbot Aerospace in 2019 hailed the aircraft as the sixth most likely to succeed globally.

“The review included 100 different projects, including some sponsored and supported by Boeing, Airbus and various governments around the world as well as venture capital companies with billions of dollars in funding,” he said.

“Most of these are of the air taxi type, therefore, more compelling and exciting for us is that we were ranked first in the VTOL airplanes aimed at a business jet type mission profile.”

Mia said he expected the aircraft to turn the market for helicopters, business jets, and short-range electronic vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) craft on its head.

“Feasibility studies have valued the potential market at $2 trillion over 20 years. With a wingspan of 14.8m the Pegasus VBJ can take off and land on any helipad, but thanks to its cool-air fan technology also on grass, wooden decks, and even moving surfaces like a yacht, something that eVTOL craft cannot do,” he said.

He said this meant the aircraft could free busy executives from the time-consuming trip to the airport, even on long-range flights. “It can also provide a solution for dense urban areas where space to build airports are limited,” he added.

According to the statement, the aircraft seats seven people, including the pilot, and has a range of 4400km from a runway take-off and 2124km from vertical take-off. Its endurance is 6.6 hours (runway) or 3.18 hours (VTOL).

“Its flight speed is up to 796km/h. The unique flight control system being developed by Callen Lenz in the UK will ensure enhanced safety and ease of flight from a pilot’s perspective.”

The company is already working with AWS Amazon to develop a smart manufacturing facility with artificial intelligence and robotics.