Transcend Air announces “affordable” city-to-city VTOL aircraft

Transcend Air Corporation has announced the development of the Vy 400 (Vy), a six-seat, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, as well as the proposed launch of a new airline service that will deliver business travelers directly to and from major city centers.

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The Vy 400 features a tilt-wing, fly-by-wire design that flies at 405 miles per hour with a range of 450 miles. Transcend Air Photo
The Vy 400 features a tilt-wing, fly-by-wire design that flies at 405 miles per hour with a range of 450 miles. Transcend Air Photo

The Vy will provide faster, more affordable door-to-door service than either helicopters or conventional airplanes, without the need for airports. Transcend will deliver service right from major city centers, such as Manhattan and downtown Boston, using VTOL-ready landing pads.

The Vy features a tilt-wing, fly-by-wire design that flies at 405 miles per hour – three times faster than traditional helicopters – with a range of 450 miles.

Transcend plans to launch commuter airline service in early 2024.

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The lightweight, carbon-fiber Vy is the ultimate evolution of a 50-year-old proven concept. The modern Vy will come with low operating costs and enhanced safety, by featuring novel advanced avionics and a whole-aircraft parachute that has already been in use for nearly 20 years.

“This is a necessary and transformative addition to city-to-city transportation options,” said Greg Bruell, co-founder and CEO of Transcend. “It solves multiple problems at once: we’ll take cars off congested roads, reduce pollution around airports, and lower the cost of air transportation while drastically reducing travel times.”

14 thoughts on “Transcend Air announces “affordable” city-to-city VTOL aircraft

  1. HA! Not Boston. There is no public use “VTOL-ready landing pad” (or helipad) in Boston.
    Right now, helicopters can only land at Boston’s Logan Airport; across the bay from downtown ($300+ per landing Massport Fees). Dream on …

  2. Peter, Do not underestimate the political hurdles you will encounter. Interested parties have been trying to get a public use downtown heliport in Boston for the last 15 years (there used to be at least two). There have been several attempts and the scenario always plays out the same: Locations are identified, environmental impact and noise studies are completed & neighborhood meetings conducted … with a dead end result. As a Charter Helicopter Operator & NEHC Director (nehc.org) I have been personally involved in this process. Start now, my friend, and I wish you every success.

    1. Good advice, and I’d be glad to get your input in more detail. We’ve been working with a consultant for the past year who was an urban planner for the Commonwealth for 20 years, and have also spoken with the gentleman who got the latest private helipad through the approval process in Boston, so we have made a decent start, we think.

  3. Forgetting the rest of it (which could be reasonable in time) the fastest piston engine propeller driven aircraft are roughly 500 mph – you’re dreaming if you think you’re going to get your design speed OR range even if you were building a dedicated electric fixed wing.

    Sincerely, an Aeronautical Engineer specialising in eVTOL systems.

  4. Don’t kid yourself. You have KOWD, KBED and and KBVY. While not right downtown, when traveling from the NYC area, those locations are far superior to driving, taking Amtrak or the hassle of going to one of the major airports in the NYC area.

    Ive flown a Cessna 172 to KOWD (from KISP) many times for day meetings in Boston. I could easily see servic from the many NYC heliports to KBED. Easy. No brainer. If the price point for electric VTOL ends up matching the hype, that kind of service will explode.

    I don’t recall for KBED but there is a train station within a short cab ride from KOWD. Fly to KOWD. Take a cab on local, mainly traffic free roads (provided you stay off of US 1) to the train. Then head downtown. Granted not as convienent as a downtown heliport but I’d do that commute in a heartbeat.

    Same for the DC area. In fact, there is a metro station within walking distance at KCGS. You wouldn’t even need a taxi.

    1. Hey Ken, as it happens I ran a 135 operation that used all those airports with Cirruses and Eclipse jets. It works for some people, those who happen to be closer to the reliever than to BOS or LGA, say. But there are a *lot* more people in the hearts of the cities, and VTOL makes it convenient for all of them.

      1. No I agree. KISP worked for me only because it’s close and easy. Wouldn’t be as good for someone in NYC. It also helps that, anyday I can fly myself to a meeting, is a good day.

        But for a New Yorker to go to the 30th st heliport then fly to (say) KOWD that would be huge. Especially at 250 kts (assuming you don’t break 10k ft). 400 kts even better.

        My point is, yes there isn’t a downtown helipad in Boston. Yes it would be nice to have one and yes it might or might not happen, but just flying to a local airport would be a vast improvement.

        There is always the possibility that high speed transit would be brought to these airports down the road in place of a traditional downtown helipad.

        It’s even possible that SoCal and Chicago would regret closing their loca airports once this technology is in wide spread use.

  5. You will not fly at 405 knots below 10,000 feet. Above 10,000 you will need to be pressurized or the pax will have to be on oxygen. Which is it? Will the a/c be all-weather capable? How so? Single power source (one PT6) IFR with pax for hire? I don’t think so? The hurdles here are enormous. Sounds pie-in-the-sky to me. But as W.C. Fields said…

  6. Pressurized to 8,000 feet cabin altitude, and FIKI certified using electric anti-icing. Plus, single-engine turboprop charter operations in weather are routinely and safely accomplished in Cessna Caravans, Pilatus PC-12s, and TBMs. All using PT6A engines, the outstanding MTBF of which was instrumental in the EASA CAT SET-IMC regulation of 2-March-2017: “The European Commission published today a new regulation amending the Air Operations regulation which will allow the conduct of commercial air transport operations with single-engined turbine aeroplanes in IMC or at night (CAT SET-IMC) in Europe.”

    As for Fields’ quotes, I like this one: “If there’s a will, prosperity can’t be far behind.”

    (Sorry if this is a duplicate comment)

  7. Another day another VTOL aircraft with an unrealistic timeline. There aren’t even certification standards for these type of aircraft and pilots.

    The timeline is a few orders of magnitude short of being realistic. Sure the PT6 is an amazing powerplant but the rest of the aircraft…. What precedence is there for tilt wing aircraft let?

    And they think they can scale operations in the middle of the city with someone that loud? VTOL aircraft only become viable in urban areas if they are quiet.

    Regarding the recovery system… How effective is is it at low altitude (below 500′) in the most critical phase of flight, transition and hover? Existing BRS are not reliable or designed for low altitude recovery.

    1. Hi CT, actually the revised Part 23 covers almost all of our certification basis, with the rest coming from Part 27. The powered lift category rating for pilots has been around since the first Osprey pilots were awarded it in 1997.

      If the timeline were really a few orders of magnitude unrealistic, you’d be suggesting it’ll take 5,000 years. I think 5 or so from now is a bit more plausible than that… Much of the certification ground has already been laid by the Leonardo 609 program, and we have fellow tilt-wing travelers in VerdeGo, Vahana, and others. We’re all working with the FAA on getting this done.

      As for scalable operations, since we are NOT an eVTOL, within-city play, we don’t need to fly low and loud right over people, apartments, or offices. Our operation model for the airline is to use vertipads with big setbacks from where people live or work, so we never need to be loud down low over people. The heliports around Manhattan are good examples. We won’t be landing on building rooftops, unless it’s something as large as a parking garage with a vertiport built on top.

      The existing BRS Aerospace chutes give us an H-V (height-velocity) diagram very similar to turbine helicopters. It’s a bit better, actually, since at max gross they typically need more like 800′ to autorotate successfully, so 500′ for the BRS is 1/3 better. And, BRS has a new generation of chutes under development that should bring that down further.

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