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Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Demonstration of the feasibility of a lift fan-type VTOL control method

Unlike most Western countries, Japan has a steep geographical profile with many cities dotting its mountainous regions. Traveling between small, local cities often takes considerable amounts of time, a problem that contributes to regional gaps. Thus, the demand for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft is higher in Japan than it is in Europe and the United States.

There are many applications that can make use of VTOL technology, including systems for helicopters, tilt rotors, and tilt wings. This study will demonstrate the feasibility of a VTOL aircraft with a "ducted fan" configuration that houses the fan in a cylindrical duct. Ducted-fan VTOL is an affordable, reliable VTOL passenger aircraft format ideal for routes linking local cities.

JAXA has completed indoor hovering testing on a 2m class VTOL prototype. For its next step, JAXA will subject the prototype to level flight tests in an outdoor environment in hopes of establishing its lift fan-type VTOL airframe control technology. JAXA is also looking into the feasibility of a two-seater VTOL aircraft.

Overhead view of a 2m class VTOL aircraft

Overhead view of a two-seater VTOL aircraft