Electric/Hybrid Air Taxi
The Carter Air Taxi is a clean sheet design for the Uber Elevate air taxi project. It’s an ultra-quiet, electrically-driven air taxi for the intra-city market, with 175 mph cruise, carrying up to 5 passengers, capable of full hover VTOL operations. A hybrid gas turbine option could extend the aircraft’s range for additional markets.
The drivetrain includes quad propellers and a variable speed rotor. The wing mounted propellers counter rotor torque through differential thrust for hover takeoffs and landings. Slowed rotor compound technology utilizing a high aspect ratio wing and slowing the rotor to 100 rpm in cruise enables efficient high speed flight to meet Uber's range requirements at 175 mph.
The slowly turning rotor and propellers are much quieter than conventional helicopters. The main rotor has a 600 ft/s tip speed at takeoff, which begins slowing as the aircraft accelerates. The propellers spin at 450 ft/s tip speed. Carter commissioned an independent rotor noise expert, a noted expert in the field, to analyze the noise signature, and he predicted that the aircraft will meet Uber's stringent noise requirements. People in cities will barely hear the aircraft over the normal background noise.
Safety is paramount. The high inertia rotor, which is almost always in autorotation, acts like a built-in parachute in case of emergencies, but better since it works at any altitude or airspeed and is controllable all the way down to a soft, safe, zero-roll landing. Along with redundant mechanical flight control linkages to the pilot in conjunction with an autopilot, and Carter's extreme energy absorbing landing gear, the aircraft offers unparalleled safety.