Crowdfunding is usually associated with consumer goods like smartwatches and drones, but XTI Aircraft Company of Denver, Colorado is hoping to score a double first with its TriFan 600. Pitched as the first commercially certified high-speed, long-range Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) airplane that combines the vertical lift capability of a helicopter with the speed of an airplane, it’s also the first major aviation project to launch an equity crowdfunding campaign in the wake of new rules approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Under development for two years, the TriFan 600 is designed as a six-seat, fixed-wing, composite-construction, fly-by-wire airplane with both VTOL capabilities and the speed and range of a conventional business jet. It would carry a pilot and five passengers at a cruising speed of 340 knots (400 mph, 644 km/h) and have a ceiling of 30,000 ft (9,000 m). Its two high-performance turboshaft engines give it a range of 800 to 1,200 mi (1,300 to 1,900 km), depending on takeoff method and payload.
Meanwhile, three ducted fans behind a sliding hatch provide vertical lift. One selling point of the aircraft is that by eliminating the need to travel to and from airports and transport passengers door-to-door (or helipad-to-helipad), it would be competitive even with faster conventional aircraft. The TriFan 600 will initially be targeted at business customers and is expected to cost from US$10 to $12 million.
According to the company, the TriFan 600 has a choice of interior fitouts, ranging from luxury business seating to medical evacuation or air ambulatory configurations.