SureFly Hybrid Electric Helicopter Concept Unveiled at Paris Air Show

Surefly helicopter
Surefly Helicopter. Image courtesy of Workhorse Group

Workhorse Group Inc. , an American technology company focused on providing sustainable and cost-effective solutions to the commercial transportation sector, unveiled its Surefly helicopter concept at the Paris Air Show  and released specifications. The company is now accepting pre-orders for SureFly at its website,

 SureFly is a personal helicopter/VTOL aircraft, designed to be safer and more stable than a typical helicopter due to its redundant design, which includes four propeller arms, two fixed contra-rotating propellers on each arm, a backup battery to drive the electric motors in the event of engine failure and a ballistic parachute that safely brings down the craft if needed.

SureFly’s hybrid design leverages Workhorse’s platform battery packaging, management systems and controls utilized in its currently commercialized medium-duty, range-extended battery electric vehicles. It features a gas combustion engine generating electricity and a parallel battery pack offering a redundant backup power source, eliminating the need for long battery charging periods between flights. SureFly is designed to be easy to pilot, and is expected to be capable of carrying pilot and passenger or cargo up to 70 miles. After a quick refill, SureFly is ready for the next hop.

Early models will be pilot-operated.  The goal is to introduce future models featuring autonomous flight capable of carrying payloads of up to 400 pounds. Anticipated markets for the SureFly are precision agriculture, emergency responders, city commuters and military.

Specifications include:

  • Vertical take off and landing
  • Onboard GPS navigation system
  • Static ports and a heated pitot tube for altimeter and air speed measurements
  • Detect-and-avoid sensors
  • Maximum flight distance: 70 miles
  • Maximum altitude: 4,000 feet flight ceiling
  • Maximum payload: 400 pounds
  • 200 horsepower at 6,000 RPM aviation gasoline engine
  • Battery backup system with max theoretical battery power of 20.8 amp hours
  • 8 propellers, 4 propeller arms
  • Carbon fiber fuselage, propeller arms and propellers
  • Fuel: premium unleaded 90 octane gasoline

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