Spirit and Skyworks Aeronautics to partner on Vertijet VTOL aircraft


Spirit AeroSystems is to work with US-based gyroplane company Skyworks Aeronautics on the development of its commercial and defense platforms in the UK and EU, including its Vertijet VTOL aircraft.

Spirit’s Northern Ireland and Scotland operations will work on detailed design activity to support Skyworks VertiJet – a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), high-speed gyrodyne.

The Vertijet has projected speeds of up to 400mph (644km/h) – two to three times faster than current operating helicopters – and a range of up to 1,000 miles (1600km).

Michael Ryan, Spirit’s vice president for European space and defence said, “We will be applying our engineering and technology leadership in advanced materials and ultra-light structures to explore the design, testing and integration of lightweight and aerodynamically efficient technologies in support of Skyworks’ aircraft platforms, such as its VertiJet VTOL program for military and commercial use.”

Chicago, USA-based Skyworks Aeronautics, which also has sites in the UK and Brazil was formerly called Groen Brothers Aviation and was founded in 1986. The company has focused on developing gyroplanes, for commercial and defense use.

The Vertijet design was originally developed for DARPA, but the project was terminated in 2008. The concept uses a rotor for hover, VTOL and low speed flight and two turbofan engines for cruise.

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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