Plana already has customers for its hybrid air taxis.
Describing itself as a company ready to offer new horizons in air mobility, South Korean startup Plana plans to revolutionize the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industry with its hybrid eVTOL CP-01 aircraft. Built using composites, Plana calls the CP-01 a significant step forward in pursuing efficient, eco-friendly urban transportation solutions.
Plana’s CP-01 features six tilt-rotor propellor electric engines powered by batteries. These batteries are charged using a turbine generator running on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) similar to the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, Plana envisages the CP-01 as an air taxi and ambulance in busy built-up urban areas. Flown by a single pilot, the CP-01 can comfortably seat six passengers, has a range of 310 miles (excluding reserve miles), and features a top speed of 186 mph.
Plana is looking to get FAA certification
Plana’s Research and Development (R&D) Center is in Inchon, South Korea. Still, to help speed up Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the South Korean startup is opening offices in Silicone Valley and Irvine, California. While it is easy to see Silicone Valley’s appeal, the company selected Irvine for a second office as it is a thriving aerospace hub with prominent players.
Currently, Plana is using model aircraft for tests but hopes to have a full-size prototype built by 2025 and for production to begin in 2028. In May this year, Plana signed a deal with Osaka, Japan-based air taxi company SkyTaxi, to provide them with ten CP-01 aircraft by 2030 and 40 more by 2040. SkyTaxi is a subsidiary of the Daiho Taxi Group, which believes that the future of intercity travel will be with air taxis.
Plana signs an MOU with a South Korean airline
Two months later, in July, Plana released a statement saying that it had signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the South Korean commercial air carrier Hi-Air for 30 Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) aircraft. The Letter of Intent says that Plana will deliver ten CP-01 aircraft in 2030, and the remaining 20 will follow later.
Hi-Air began operations in 2019, flying from its hub at Ulsan Airport (USN) to Gimpo International Airport (GMP) in Seoul. Despite a slowdown in air travel brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic Hi-Air has continued to grow, offering ATR 72–500 flights from its hub at Ulsan Airport (USN) to the following domestic and international destinations:
- Sacheon Airport (HIN)
- Muan International Airport (MWX)
- Jeju International Airport (CJU)
- Kitakyushu Airport (KKJ) in Japan
Both Plana and Hi-Air are excited about the future
When speaking about the deal with Hi-Air in a company statement, Plana CPO Jinmo Lee said:
“We are excited to partner with Hi-Air, a leading small-scale air operator in South Korea. This partnership will help us to strengthen our position in the AAM market and contribute to the development of the South Korean air mobility industry.”
In response, Hi-Air CEO Joseph Kim said:
“We are confident that this partnership will help us pioneer a new era of air mobility in South Korea. We will combine Plana’s technology and Hi-Air’s expertise to create a new air mobility market.”
Source: Simple Flying